Can My Dog Eat Zucchini?
So, your dog is kind of a friend and tries to eat anything you put in your mouth. Today, that happens to be a zucchini. Giving your dog a few slices of zucchini might sound tempting. But is it actually okay for dogs to eat zucchini?
This mild-flavored, moisture-rich fruit is the perfect snack to cool you down on a hot summer day. Plus, you can mix it into a wide variety of dishes. But, should you risk giving your dog a piece?
Unless your dog is specifically allergic, zucchinis are mostly safe for canines to eat. However, there are a few key points to consider when serving zucchini to your pup. Keep reading to find out more!
Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?
A dog’s diet is very limited compared to a human’s. This is because they digest food differently than we do. Not all foods are suitable for canine consumption, and as a dog owner, you must take extra care to ensure you don’t feed your pet anything unsafe.
Luckily, zucchini is one of the fruits that dogs CAN eat. It poses little to no threat to their health. Serving your dog a few bites of this nutrient-packed fruit can be a great way to keep them hydrated in the summer heat.
Is Zucchini Safe for Dogs?
Zucchini is safe for dogs to eat, as long as you give it to them in moderation and prepare it properly. In fact, vets even name zucchinis as one of the best treats that you can give to your pup. Letting your dog snack on zucchini slices rarely induces adverse effects, except when they consume too much.
Is Zucchini Good for Dogs?
Fruits and vegetables only form a small part of a dog’s diet, but they supply a burst of nutrients that canines need to for healthy development.
Zucchinis are low-calorie and fiber-rich fruits that can help your pup feel full without adding much to their weight. They also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that keep your dog’s health in top condition. Zucchini slices can be a much healthier (and fresher) alternative to high-calorie commercial dog treats.
How Much Zucchini Should You Feed Your Dog?
Zucchini may be light and nutritious, but it doesn’t mean that your dog should have it all the time. Dr. Tami Pierce from the University of California advises that you should only give your dog treats and snacks in moderation. Zucchini should not make up more than 10% of your pup’s daily calories.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Zucchini and Other Zucchini Products?
Cooking zucchini is a safe way to serve the fruit. However, you must make sure not to add any oils or seasonings to the dish because they can upset your dog’s stomach and lead to other health issues.
Other products like baked goods and crisps that contain zucchini as the prime ingredient are not good for canines, either. These food items may contain other ingredients that can be bad for your dog’s health.
Are Zucchini Plants Toxic to Dogs?
Most of us are probably only familiar with the fruits of the zucchini plant since it’s the one we use for cooking. However, other parts of the plant such as the leaves and stem are also non-toxic to dogs.
So the next time you see your dog chomping on zucchini leaves from your garden, you don’t have to panic and rush them to the clinic,
4 Benefits of Zucchini for Your Dog
- Nutrient-dense: Zucchinis are rich in various vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
- Weight Management: The high fiber content and low-calorie count in zucchini can promote proper digestion and weight loss. These traits are particularly beneficial for overweight or senior canines.
- Blood Sugar: The fiber in zucchini can heighten insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic dogs.
- Eye Health: Zucchini contains vitamin C and beta-carotene that play an important role in strengthening vision. It also has the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein that can likewise improve eye health.
One Caution with Zucchini
Just because zucchini is generally edible for dogs does not mean it is perfectly safe at all times. Like other fruits and vegetables, you must exercise caution when preparing zucchini for your pup.
Avoiding Bitter Zucchini
Members of the Cucurbitaceae family, which zucchini belongs to, contain a toxin called cucurbitacin. This substance can poison your dog if they consume large amounts of it. You can roughly measure the level of cucurbitacin in zucchini by its bitterness. The more bitter the zucchini, the higher the cucurbitacin content.
Feeding Your Dog Zucchini the Right Way
When introducing zucchini to your pooch for the first time, then it’s important to let them get used to it slowly. Start by giving them tiny bites of zucchini, just about the size of their kibbles.
If you don’t happen to observe any adverse reactions after 24 hours, then it’s safe to assume that their stomach can handle the fruit and you can give them more pieces.
If you want to add the novelty to your dog’s usual meals, then you can gradually incorporate small slices of zucchini into their dinner. You can also give him bite-sized pieces of the fruit as a snack or treat.
How Much Zucchini Is Too Much?
Despite being a low-calorie snack, zucchini isn’t meant to occupy a majority of your pup’s diet. You should only give it to your dog sparingly since too much of it can have negative effects on your dog’s gastrointestinal health.
For starters, it is never advised to give your dog a whole zucchini to chew on. Large chunks of the fruit pose a choking hazard. It’s best to stick to the 10-percent rule or to ask for advice from your veterinarian.
Should I Serve My Dog Raw Or Cooked Zucchini?
Dogs can enjoy zucchini in all forms, cooked or not. If you choose to cook the zucchini, then you can either grill, boil, steam, or bake the fruit. However, you can also serve thin, frozen zucchini slices as a treat. Or, try shredding zucchini as a topping for your pup’s meal.
Feeding your dog a few slices of zucchini from time to time is not only good for their health but is also a fun way to spruce up their mealtimes! However, you must be mindful of serving size and steer away from any bitter zucchinis.
- Blake, A. (2014, October 1). Healthy treats for dogs and cats, plus dangerous foods to avoid. Vetstreet. https://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/fruit-and-veggie-treats-for-cats-and-dogs-the-best-and-worst-options
- Cucurbitacin. (2009, May 14). Wikipedia. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbitacin
- Gunnars, K. (2018, May 23). Why is fiber good for you? The crunchy truth. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-is-fiber-good-for-you