The zucchini or so-called courgette is a summer squash that comes in different varieties, ranging from dark green to deep yellow. Zucchini is rich with many nutrients, as it is packed with minerals, vitamins and is high in antioxidants.
Nonetheless, fruit or a vegetable, zucchini has proven to have many health benefits for humans. But, you’ve probably wondered – can dogs eat zucchini too?
Some vegetables and fruit can seriously endanger a dog’s health, and it’s essential to know which one should be included in their diet. If you want to find out whether dogs can eat zucchini and also some more information, read along!
Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?
Yes, dogs can eat zucchini! Zucchini is perfectly safe for dogs. However, it is not considered necessary for your dog’s diet, but it will definitely provide some valuable nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C.
Overall, zucchini is a good alternative for high-calorie treats, as it is low in cholesterol and fat. An excellent treat for dogs that need to lose some weight but still eat healthily!
But let’s look at the nutritional value of zucchini per 100gr:
|Total Fat||0,3 gr|
As you can see, zucchini is low in fat, making it a great snack for dogs as high amounts of fat are harder for dogs to digest. Also, too much fat can lead to indigestion and inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis.
Instead, zucchini contains reasonable amounts of fiber that improves a dog’s digestion, and they can more effectively absorb necessary nutrition.
Zucchini also contains small amounts of vitamin K, copper, phosphorus, folate, thiamine, vitamin B6, iron, calcium, and zinc. Furthermore, it contains antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help protect the body from damage by free radicals.
How Much Zucchini Can Your Dog Eat?
Zucchini is much easier for dogs to digest than other squashes, and can be even eaten raw and with seeds. However, too much healthy stuff can also be bad for your dog, so don’t get carried away with zucchini.
Zucchini should be fed in moderation, and more like as an occasional treat. Your dog’s diet should be focused on 95% of high-quality dog food and meat and 5% of human food (veggies, fruit, fiber, etc.).
Too much of zucchini or any other type of veggies, fruit or fibers, can lead to digestive issues in dogs. Also, always observe your dog closely anytime you serve new or unconventional food, as it could lead to possible diarrhea or vomiting.
Amounts of zucchini fed to your dog should not exceed 10% of your dog’s overall diet.
Here’s a chart for the more precise intake of zucchini:
|Small size dog (20-40 pounds):||4-10 grams||Once in a few days|
|Medium size dog (50-100 pounds):||8-12 grams||Once in a few days|
|Large size dogs (100-150 pounds):||17-34 grams||Once in a few days|
In the end, you don’t have to stick to this chart strictly, but it will give you some idea of how much zucchini your dog can eat. We strongly advise serving your dog zucchini only once in a while, mixed with other quality dog food or as a special healthy treat.
Safety Precautions Before Feeding Zucchini
Overall, zucchinis are not toxic to your dog and are pretty much safe for them to eat.
However, sometimes zucchini and its leaves can be bitter and contain toxins called cucurbitacins that can be dangerous to pets and humans. Put simply; those are biochemicals found in plants and give off a bitter flavor, and they are very toxic.
The best option is to buy organic zucchinis or even smaller ones, as large zucchinis are more likely to be bitter and toxic.
Given this, if you notice any of the following symptoms contact your wet immediately:
- Kidney failure (inability to urinate)
- Loss of coordination
- Oral irritation
- Heart issues.
Also, don’t ever serve your dog big pieces of zucchini. Most dogs usually gobble their food without much chewing, so large pieces or a whole zucchini may cause your dog to choke. To minimize the risk, make sure you chop zucchini into smaller pieces.
Furthermore, always serve zucchini in moderation as we already mentioned above. Too much of any food or treat can lead to nutrient imbalances. If your dog eats too much too soon, it can lead to stomach upset and digestion problems such as sickness, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Benefits Of Zucchini
As we’ve already mentioned, zucchini is a very healthy food product packed with many minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Veterinarians agree that zucchini is one of the best vegetables you could give to your dog as they are low calorie and nutrient-filled.
Dietary fiber will improve digestion and keep your dog full. That could be great for dogs that need to lose some weight. Moreover, zucchini can replace high-calorie treats, such as milk bones and jerkies.
Here are some other health benefits:
- Strong bones and muscles due to calcium and potassium
- Smoother and healthier skin and coat due to vitamin C
- Antioxidants prevent diseases
- Healthy hydration level
- Beta-carotene improves vision and pigmentation
- Reduced unhealthy cholesterol levels
- B vitamins prevent kidney stones, asthma, and allergies
- Calcium prevents muscle cramping
- Magnesium improves cardiovascular health
- Manganese promotes healthy ligaments
- Phosphorus promotes heart health and healthy teeth
- Potassium promotes healthy brain function
- Selenium promotes healthy prostate
- Zinc helps the body heal
- Vitamin A keeps hormone levels balanced and supports bone growth and immune response
Preparing Zucchini For Your Dog
Zucchini is a wonderful light snack and can be prepared in various ways. Unripe and small zucchini taste the best, as larger ones can often be too bitter. Also, make sure the zucchini you pick is firm and not squishy.
Firstly, wash the zucchini thoroughly and cut off the stalk of the vegetable. Then, cut it into small, bite-sized pieces or circles. Serving raw zucchini is fine, but for better digestion, it is better to cook it or boil it first. Also, make sure to peel off the zucchini’s skin, as it can sometimes cause the stomach’s problem.
All of the methods above are fine, just make sure you serve a blend zucchini. Don’t use any add-ons such as seasonings, salt, or even oil. Those could seriously endanger your dog’s health and can also be lethal.
Salt can cause pancreatitis, increase blood pressure, or cause dehydration. Onions and garlic can seriously damage red blood cells and lead to hemolytic anemia. If this condition isn’t treated promptly, it can kill your dog.
In addition, you can put zucchini into the freezer and slice it on cubes or circles. That could be a great treat during the summer months. However, you shouldn’t give your dog baked zucchini products because they are full of calories, fat, sugar, and other seasonings that could upset your dog’s stomach. Another reason for this is because they contain sweeteners called xylitol, which are poisonous for dogs.
Furthermore, you can also serve zucchini noodles to your dog, just make sure you don’t use commercial ones full of salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and sugar. Avoid frying zucchini as most nutrients will be gone, and greasy food is a big no for dogs.
Zucchini Recipes For Your Dog
There are several dog-approved and yummy dog recipes, and it is essential to try new things when serving zucchini, as your pooch can get bored quickly. Here are some recipes for delicious dog zucchini treats:
1. Zucchini Cupcakes
- 1 cup mashed zucchini
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 eggs
- 1tbsp baking powder
Mix it all together, add zucchini, and make sure that everything is blended well. Pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake at 375ºF for 25-30 minutes. ¼ of a cupcake is enough for one serving if your dog is small, and a half of a cupcake if you have a large dog.
2. Zucchini Biscuits
- 2 small shredded zucchinis
- 2 eggs
- 2,5 cup of flour
- Meat (optional)
Combine all the ingredients into dough, and cut it with cookie cutters into the shapes you prefer. Bake at 350 ºF for 20 minutes. Let the biscuits cool and just store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Give them to your dog as treats!
There you have it, two very interesting and easy recipes that allow you to include zucchini as a delicious treat in your dog’s diet!