Zucchini belongs to the cucurbit family, like melons, squash, and cucumbers. It grows in a northern climate, and like peppers, it is mostly mottled green, but it can be yellow or solid green.
Its skin is thin, fleshy, and soft. In other parts of the world, it is known as baby marrow or courgettes. If you’re asking is zucchini good for dogs? You’ve come to the right place. Learn more about whether or not your dog can eat this vegetable.
Is Zucchini Good for Dogs ?
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Zucchini Good for Dogs ?
- 2 What Are the Benefits of Zucchini for Dogs ?
- 3 Promotes Weight Loss
- 4 Contains A Lot Of Nutrients
- 5 Aids in Digestion
- 6 Full of Antioxidants
- 7 How Much Zucchini Is Safe for Your Dogs ?
- 8 Caution With Zucchini
- 9 How to Feed Your Dog Zucchini the Right Way
- 10 Raw or Cooked Zucchini ?
Some vegetables like garlic and onion are dangerous for dogs. Therefore, it makes sense to wonder if zucchini is among these veggies. However, like all other plants of the cucurbit family, dogs can eat zucchini without any problems. But, be careful not to feed too much of this vegetable to your furry friend. Also, you should know some things about zucchini to safely feed it to your pet.
What Are the Benefits of Zucchini for Dogs ?
Because of its mild flavor, most dogs can enjoy this vegetable. So what health benefits can my dog get from eating zucchini? Here are some of them;
Promotes Weight Loss
It contains high fiber and water content and fewer calories. As such, it creates a feeling of fullness and reduces hunger. Plus, since it’s low glycemic, it won’t increase your pet’s blood sugar level. If your dog is overweight, adding zucchini to its diet can help with weight loss.
Contains A Lot Of Nutrients
This vegetable is packed with a lot of nutrients hence provides enough vitamins and minerals to your pet. It contains vitamins A, B6, C, and K and minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, copper, and zinc. Plus, some vitamins like A, and C are rich in antioxidants. However, note that the vitamins are more when the vegetable is raw than when it is cooked. So it’s best to give it to your pet raw.
Aids in Digestion
Zucchini contains a lot of water, which helps reduce constipation and makes the stool soft. Additionally, it contains soluble fiber that promotes the action of Short-Chain Fatty Acids, bacteria in the gut. As such, it reduces gut disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.
Again, it also has insoluble fiber that helps prevent constipation by softening the stool.
Full of Antioxidants
The body needs antioxidants to counteract the damage caused by free radicals. These radicals do not only harm human beings, but also dogs. They can damage their DNA cells and promote premature aging.
Thankfully, zucchini is packed with many antioxidants. The vegetable contains antioxidants called carotenoids, which help give some plants their colors. It’s why you shouldn’t peel the zucchini’s skin when giving it to your dog since it’s the part that has the highest antioxidants.
How Much Zucchini Is Safe for Your Dogs ?
Although this vegetable contains fewer calories, it doesn’t mean that you change your dog’s diet to zucchini only. If taken in high amounts, it can cause an adverse reaction. Since dog treats should only make up ten percent of your pet’s diet, calculate how much zucchini you can offer your dog.
Large dogs generally have a larger stomach and can consume about four or more cups of food per day. But small dogs only eat half a cup of food per day. You thus have to calculate 10% of your pooch’s diet to determine the accurate amount.
While zucchini is safe for your dog, it can cause stomach upset or steaming if taken in large amounts. It’s why you shouldn’t feed a whole zucchini to your dog.
Caution With Zucchini
Zucchini isn’t a toxic food, meaning you can give it to your pet in moderation. However, sometimes it can be bitter and potentially toxic. Note that it contains cucurbitacins, which are biochemicals in plants. These chemicals can make the vegetable bitter and possibly toxic. They are mostly found in the stems, roots, and leaves which are zucchini parts that we often don’t eat.
However, while this can sound ironical, we should mention that research is still ongoing on the benefits of cucurbitacins in pharmaceutical drugs used in treating cancer, diabetes, and inflammation.
Nevertheless, bitter zucchini can be dangerous to your dog. Therefore, ensure that you are buying healthy ones that are grown in safe conditions. Always opt for organic and choose smaller pieces as they’re mostly not bitter. It’s also wise to taste the vegetable before giving it to your pet. If it’s bitter, you also shouldn’t eat it.
How to Feed Your Dog Zucchini the Right Way
Young and tender zucchini is tastier. Thus, ensure that you pick it up when it hasn’t grown into a baseball bat, that is if you grow them in your garden. However, if you’re buying, opt for smaller firm zucchini that isn’t squishy.
Before feeding it to your pet, ensure that you have prepared it properly. After removing its stalk, you can;
Blanch- boil water and dip the sliced zucchini in it. This removes dirt and chemicals from the plants without tampering with the nutrients.
Steam- steaming is good for dogs that have a chewing problem. It helps soften the vegetable for easy chewing. Steam with a microwave or a stovetop steamer.
Pureeing- place it in a food processor or blender, then grind it to make a puree.
Bake- if you want to spice things up, mix zucchini with other safe ingredients for dogs like peanut, pumpkin, or peas and bake them. However, be cautious of the calorie amount in these ingredients. For instance, too much peanut can increase your pet’s blood sugar.
Also, please avoid giving your dog leftover zucchini or any other leftover food. And before seasoning your food with garlic and spices, serve some portion and set it aside for your dog.
Raw or Cooked Zucchini ?
Dogs, can it zucchini when it’s raw or cooked, as it really doesn’t matter. However, cool-cooked zucchini might be best because it has high sugar content, hence sweeter. But, most dogs will happily eat raw zucchini. Plus, some people argue that the vegetable is more nutritious when it’s not cooked. But if you’re going to cook it, avoid using oil.