Does this sound familiar? You’re trying to eat more nutritious food for good health, so there you are with your plate of veggies in front of you … and there’s your dog staring up at you with big eyes … adoring you … wanting what you’re eating … and you’re wondering, “Can dogs have zucchini?”
The answer is YES. But wait – there’s more!
Dogs are omnivores, meaning that they need to eat different kinds of foods to meet their nutritional needs. They’re also pack animals like their wolf ancestors so they share food with each other. Dogs want to eat what you’re eating because that’s what pack buddies do! You can use this fact to your advantage in improving their diet with veggies such as zucchini.
Read on to find answers to all of your zucchini questions. Extra bonus: Two easy-to-make zucchini recipes just for your dog!
What Do Dogs Naturally Eat?
Our canine companions are omnivorous and naturally consume a variety of plant material along with animal protein. Among some academics, there is a heated debate going on. The anti-omnivore people contend that dogs’ teeth and digestive systems most closely resemble those of carnivores such as wolves instead of omnivores such as pigs and humans.
The anti-carnivore people, however, firmly believe that the domesticated animal we know today has been associated with man for over 30,000 years and has adapted to the lifestyle of a camp follower.
Research seems to indicate through testing as well as observation that the modern dog responds best to a balanced omnivorous diet consisting primarily of fresh meat and animal products but also including vegetables, fruit, and good quality grains.
According to AKC “Feeding dogs a diet made with natural, real ingredients, such as beef, chicken, lamb, peas, spinach, carrots, and blueberries, can do wonders for their overall well-being — promoting heart health, increasing energy level, making coats shiny and breath smell better, improving eyesight, and even impacting a dog’s stool.” Now let’s get back to your “can dogs have zucchini” question.
Can Dogs Have Zucchini?
One veterinarian states that zucchinis are one of the best vegetables to give your dog because they’re extremely nutrient-dense. Many canine nutrition experts would answer your question “Can dogs have zucchini?” by enthusiastically telling you that dogs SHOULD have zucchini. In addition to fiber, they contain beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C, potassium, and calcium.
They’re a great alternative to doggie junk food snacks because they’re low in fat and calories. Moderation is important, though, because eating too much could cause abdominal pain and distention from gassiness.
Can I Give My Dog a Whole Zucchini?
Your dog might love the idea of such a giant-size treat, but you know that dogs often gulp their food down in big chunks. Zucchinis are soft inside, but the skin can be tough, meaning that big bites are a choking hazard. You can chop the zucchini into small pieces and offer bits.
Steaming the vegetable will make it softer and easier to digest while still preserving the vitamins that heat can destroy. You want to make your dog extra happy?
Divide the zucchini into portions so that you both get to share the same snack at the same time. Dogs love to share food with the humans they love! By dividing the zucchini down smaller and then taking some away, you multiply the love by strengthening the bond between you.
It really does work that way! You can even let him smell your breath to communicate that you shared.
Can Dogs Have Zucchini Raw?
Canines can enjoy zucchinis raw or cooked. Only young, tender small plants cut into pieces pureed should be served raw. Steamed or braised zucchinis are fine as long as the rinds are tender or pureed. Strongly flaored plants including onions, leeks, and garlic should never be given to dogs.
Can Dogs Have Zucchini with Skin?
Yes — most of the vitamins and fiber are concentrated in and under the skin. When you choose small zucchinis, their tender skins are easy for dogs to eat and digest. The larger they are, the tougher the skin. Zucchinis are most easily digested when they’ve been cut into small pieces.
The most recommended method of cooking is steaming because it softens the rinds but preserves most of the vitamins that break down in the presence of heat. WARNING: DISCARD ANY ZUCCHINIS THAT HAVE BECOME BITTER! Chemical changes causing bitterness are potentially toxic.
Nutritional Benefits of Zucchinis for Dogs
Here’s precisely why the answer is “Yes!” when someone asks, “Can dogs have zucchini?” The water and fiber they contain promote healthy digestion but also provide a feeling of fullness so your dog won’t feel hungry again for a while. What’s more, zucchini has a low glycemic index, meaning that it helps stabilize blood sugars instead of contributing to sharp up-and-down spikes. Here are some of the main vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin A: Vision, growth, immune function, antioxidant
Vitamin B6: Glucose regulation, red blood cells, nervous system, hormone production, immune function
Potassium: Nervous system, enzymes
Zinc: Enzymes, cell growth, metabolism, healing
Manganese: Enzymes, bones, nerves
Magnesium: Enzymes, muscles, nerves, bone/teeth formation
Copper: Connective tissue, nerves, blood cells, tissue repair
Phosphorus: Bones, DNA, energy
How Much Zucchini Can a Dog Have?
First of all, you want to introduce any new food in small amounts to be able to observe for signs of allergies. Another consideration is the fact that the canine digestive system isn’t the same as ours, as we’ve mentioned before, so pooch tummies often develop uncomfortable abdominal bloating and gas after ingesting too much of something they’re not used to having.
In general, think in terms of spoonfuls rather than entire vegetables. It’s best to choose small, tender young zucchinis with soft skins.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Zucchini?
Oils and fats add calories that your beloved canine companion doesn’t need. Another reason to avoid fried zucchini is that the pieces often cook up hard, especially the skin. Finally, as you know by now, the longer and hotter that food cooks at high heat, the more extensive the nutrient destruction.
Can Dogs Have Zucchini Bread?
No, and here’s why. Bread and other bakery items nearly always contain an excessive amount of sugar and fat, both of which are bad for your dog. What’s more, some of the “low-sugar” or “sugar-free” baked foods contain artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which is known to be extremely toxic to dogs as well as some other pets.
Can I Feed My Dog Seasoned Zucchini?
Certain foods that humans eat all the time are bad for dogs, sometimes even fatal. Onions and garlic, often used in zucchini dishes, are two such foods. Other ingredients you want to avoid sharing are salt and hot pepper.
Check sauces and other food products for the presence of Xylitol, which can be fatal. Asking “can dogs have zucchini?” refers to the zucchini by itself without other additives. When in doubt, leave it out.
Are zucchini plants toxic to dogs?
This is a good question. Some sources say yes, others say no. Humans eat the flowers. When in doubt, it’s safest to err on the side of caution. What is definite is that bitter-tasting chemicals called “cucurbitacins” can accumulate in the leaves, stems, and roots of zucchini plants but are most dangerous in the fruit (technically zucchinis and other squashes are fruits because they bear seeds and come from flowers). To avoid cucurbitacins, choose small, young organically grown zucchinis that are fresh from being locally sourced.
Can Dogs Eat Courgette?
Yes, because courgettes are what people who speak British English call zucchinis. The word comes from French. Outside of the United States, they’re also called “baby marrows.”
Can Dogs Eat Yellow Zucchini?
Yes. There are many different kinds of summer squash, which are harvested early while their skins are soft and edible. One is zucchini, which is long, straight, and generally green. Yellow summer squash comes in a straight neck as well as a longneck variety. Their nutritional content and taste are similar.
Can Dogs Have Squash?
Dogs can have all kinds of squash after the hard seeds have been removed. Each variety provides different benefits. Organic produce will be free of pesticide residue.
Can Dogs Eat Other Vegetables?
Good vegetables for dogs include carrots, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, and cucumbers. Shortlist of not-so-good vegetable asparagus (fibrous, but useless cooked) broc, cabbage, Brussels sprouts in small amounts but cause gas so; celery; not mushrooms; not much spinach because of oxalic acid cause kidney issues.
How To Cook Zucchinis for Dogs
Steaming, baking, and grilling are the most recommended methods because they best retain the many health benefits.
Peanut Butter and Zucchini Dog Treats from Alaine in Texas who adapted it from Doggy Dessert Chef
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 cup zucchini grated
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line cookie sheet with silicone baking mat.
Combine all ingredients in large bowl, mixing well.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface.
Roll dough out to ½ inch thickness.
Cut with 2” cookie cutters.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Cool and store dog treats in refrigerator.
Spinach, Carrot, and Zucchini Dog Treats from Chungah at Damn Delicious (https://damndelicious.net/2015/06/10/spinach-carrot-and-zucchini-dog-treats/)
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3 cups whole wheat flour, or more as needed
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and eggs on medium-high until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
Gradually add old-fashioned oats and 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated.
Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky. Add carrot, zucchini, and spinach, beating just until incorporated.
Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place them onto the prepared baking sheet.
Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.*
Let cool completely.
How Many Times A Day Should I Feed My Dog?
Your dog would probably like to eat as some humans do, but obesity is a very real health concern. In the wild, canines manage well eating every 12 hours to prevent acid eroding the empty stomach. A predictable routine will promote a peaceful household as well as an effective training incentive. Dogs being pack animals, and you being the pack, your dog will feel the most connected with you when you share tidbits from your meals – the value is not in the quantity but the action of the Top Dog (you) sharing.
How Is Organic Dog Food Different From Natural Dog Food?
“Organic” for humans is different for canines. The legal definitions and regulations are still in the process of being developed by the FDA for pet foods. Is a raw diet good for my dog? you choose to buy organic, look for a seal of certification from the USDA and any other accredited bodies approved to issue such a seal.
The word “organic” appearing in front of one ingredient in a list does not indicate that the rest of the ingredients are certified organic. Being organic refers to the production and handling of ingredients. “Natural” is a broad term describing something unadulterated and unaltered without any synthetic additives.
According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials, you should look for dog food labels that include the words “complete and balanced.” While the AAfCO can’t regulate or police animal feed laboratories, it has established guidelines by which third-party labs analyze pet food companies’ products.
Is a raw diet good for my dog?
Some people mistakenly think that a raw diet means tossing your dog any old hunks of uncooked chicken. No! The optimum canine diet is a balanced eating plan made up of a variety of fresh, safe, properly handled nutrient-dense ingredients. Nutrient density refers to the number of health benefits packed into a serving of food.
A good human example is watermelon: it contains calcium but you’d need to eat 500 melon balls to get enough to fulfill the recommended daily calcium requirement. Watermelon is good for you but it’s not considered to be nutrient-dense. Dogs benefit from carbohydrates and other nutrients in whole grains, but grains should not be the primary nutrition source.
What dogs DON’T need is lab-manufactured preservatives, scent-enhancing chemicals, artificial dyes, sweeteners, or filler carbohydrates from milled grains. The wolf and dog lineage has survived millions of years by consuming high-quality animal proteins and fats along with vitamin-rich plants containing digestible fiber and minerals.
Before You Go Off to Cook Something Mouthwatering and Nutritious ..
Can dogs have zucchini? Now you know that the answer is absolutely, positively yes — you should have some together!
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