I have been a sports freak since I was very young. If I’m not watching a game on television, you can find me at a football field, or a basketball court. To excel at these physically demanding sports, one needs to stay fit.
As far as staying fit is concerned, my philosophy is simple. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise daily- this is my motto. For most people, it’s coffee that wakes them up in the morning; for me, it’s a 30-minute jogging routine that I can’t skimp on.
Speaking of getting up in the morning, I never use an alarm. Instead, I wake up to the rough licks on my cheeks, by none other than Brutus, my dog. Brutus is a black Belgian Malinois I rescued while still a puppy three years ago.
Just like me, Brutus is energetic, swift, and athletic. Despite being friendly and obedient pooch, there is nothing that can stop Brutus from making a beeline for the zucchini, every time he sees it. He loves to chew on the sweet, crunchy zucchini.
Although I never deny Brutus a bite, I often ask myself, can my dog eat zucchini?
Let’s find out.
Is Zucchini Safe for Dogs?
The answer to my question, can my dog eat zucchini? Is yes, dogs can eat zucchini, and it’s healthy and safe for them. Unlike garlic and onions, which are toxic for dogs, zucchini isn’t toxic and completely safe.
According to Dr. Avi Blake, a reputable veterinarian, zucchini is one of the best vegetables for dogs. However, just because it’s safe does not mean that it should become your dog’s everyday meal.
As a dog owner, you must make sure you are only feeding this vegetable to your dog in moderation. Just like any human food, there are a few things you need to consider while feeding zucchini to your canine.
The good news is that this green and crunchy vegetable is full of nutrients. Each piece of this lovely green squash is filled with tons of minerals, fiber, and vitamins.
Feeding a balanced diet to your dog, allows it to make the most of the nutrients zucchini contains unless your dog cannot absorb nutrients.
Vegetables aren’t a necessary food option for dogs, but vegetables are safe and serve as a worthy substitute to dog treats that are high in calories.
A full cup of raw zucchini has nothing more than 20 calories. Being low in cholesterol and fats, zucchini doesn’t make your dog obese and lazy.
So what does it mean? It means that zucchini is suitable for over-weight dogs.
Do I Feed My Dog Raw or Cooked Zucchini?
Whether it’s raw, steamed, or cooked, zucchini is perfectly safe and healthy for your dog. However, most of us like to season zucchini with a little salt and spice, which isn’t suitable for your four-legged buddy.
If you want to feed zucchini to your dog, it is better to set aside a chunk or two before you cook it. Remember that oil, salt, spices, onions, and garlic are detrimental to a dog’s health. Therefore, the zucchini that you feed to your dog must be free of such additives.
Besides seasoning, most people bake Zucchini bread, which is also not a healthy food option for dogs. Most baked items contain sugar, salts, and fats, which not only make your dog obese but also contribute to gastrointestinal issues.
Beware of baked goods, for a majority of those available in the marketplace contain xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that serves as a substitute for sugar. This artificial sweetener is toxic, and should not be given to dogs in any form.
Why is Zucchini Good for Your Dog?
Now that we have figured out that zucchini is perfectly safe for dogs, so let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of this crunchy green vegetable.
Energy, strength, and playfulness are three of the most sought features in a dog. Sometimes, due to the foods they consume, dogs can experience a decline in energy levels.
This is where zucchini proves to be a game-changer. Zucchini contains a significant amount of B Vitamins such as Folate and B6. These nutrients boost your dog’s energy and reduce the possibility of fatigue.
Besides making your dog more energetic, B vitamins are essential for carbohydrates metabolism and brain functions.
Zucchini contains water, electrolytes, fiber, and all the nutrients that are needed for a healthy digestive system. It improves your dog’s metabolism and eliminates the possibility of constipation and similar digestive problems.
Furthermore, eating zucchini once in a while, reduces the risk of ulcers and colon cancer.
Aging occurs due to the combination of toxin activity, inflammation, and free radicals in a dog’s body. To fight inflammation, a dog needs to consume such foods that are high in antioxidants. Zucchini is a rich source of antioxidants that get rid of inflammation and free radicals.
Excessive consumption of food that is high in carbs and low in fiber can increase the blood sugar level in dogs. Zucchini is a good source of fiber, which is crucial to reducing the level of blood sugar. Fiber also makes your dog feel full, which reduces the craving for carbohydrates. Studies have shown that fiber can reduce the possibility of diabetes in dogs.
Zucchini is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, manganese, Vitamin C, and Beta Carotene. It also contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which fight free radicals and improve your dog’s eye health. As a result, your dog is less prone to catching eye-related issues such as cataracts.
Although low in sodium and fats, zucchini contains potassium and fiber. These two nutrients contribute to a healthy and smooth flow of blood, and also a healthy heart. Besides improving the flow of blood, zucchini reduces the level of cholesterol, which also adds to your dog’s heart health.
What Are the Healthy Nutrients Found in Zucchini?
We have already discussed the health benefits of Zucchini for Dogs. Let’s discuss in detail the healthy nutrients found in zucchini.
Zucchini contains one gram of protein. Here are some ways protein benefits your dog’s health.
- Creation of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies
- Strengthening of the immune system
- Maintenance and repairs of cells and tissues
- Healthy skin and fur coat
- Proper functioning of the body
- Muscle development
Just like protein Zucchini also contains one gram fiber, the benefits of which are mentioned below.
- Reduced risk of colon cancer
- Eliminates the chances of constipation and diarrhea
- Reduces obesity and helps your dog lose weight
- Improves the digestive tract in dogs
Zucchini contains 40% (RDI) of vitamin A, which is suitable for the following reasons.
- Improves the general health condition in dogs
- Keeps your dog fit and energetic
- Reduces the risk of night blindness
- Creates strong muscles in dogs
- Fulfills the growth requirements of new-born puppies
Another critical nutrient present in zucchini is phosphorus. Zucchini contains nearly 7% (RDI) of phosphorus. Let’s discuss the health benefits of phosphorus for dogs.
- Results in a healthy kidney function in dogs
- Assists in muscle contractions, which are essential for motor functions.
- It helps break down calcium
- It combines with multiple enzymes to ensure healthy body functions
- Phosphorus helps your dog have a healthy heart rate
- It plays a vital crucial role in the transfer and storage of energy
Zucchini contains nearly 10% (RDI) of magnesium. Here are some ways magnesium is beneficial to your dog’s health.
- Improves muscle health in dogs
- Relaxes and contracts muscles, and also helps them regenerate
- Adds to organ health and functioning of a dog’s body
- Magnesium adds to the emotional and mental well-being in your dog
- The presence of magnesium has a calming effect upon dogs
- Magnesium combines with calcium to ensure the strength and health of your bones
A naturally occurring C-complex vitamin found in zucchini is folic acid. Here are some of the benefits of folic acid for dogs
- Helps in the metabolism of amino acids in dogs
- Maintains the integrity of your dog’s cell membranes
Remember, unnecessarily prolonged folic acid deficiency in dogs can make a dog die.
Zucchini contains nearly 8% (RDI) of copper. Copper is good for dogs due to the following reasons.
- Copper contributes to the creation of melanin which affects the color of your dog’s fur coat
- It helps in the formation of collagen, bones and connective tissues
- Copper results in the absorption of minerals such as iron and calcium
- Fights aging and make your canine appear young and fresh
- It helps in the formation of red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to other parts of the body.
How Much Zucchini Can My Dog Eat Regularly?
As discussed in the previous paragraphs, zucchini contains low calories. However, it does not mean that it must be fed to your dog as a separate snack regularly.
As far as treats are concerned, most vets recommend that they must be supplied to canines in moderation. Treats should not constitute more than ten percent of your dog’s daily diet. This is a great way to figure out the amount of zucchini you should feed to your dog.
The size of your dog dictates the amount of food it eats in a day. Whereas bigger breeds eat somewhere around four cups of food a day, a smaller dog may only eat one and a half cup. So, it becomes easy for you to figure out how much zucchini makes up 10 percent of your dog’s average meal.
Zucchini is beneficial to a dog’s health, but just like anything else, too much of it can lead to severe stomach issues. Therefore, it is better to observe how your dog reacts every time you offer something new.
Eating larger chunks of zucchini can cause your dog to choke. Therefore, when feeding zucchini or other vegetables to your dog, it is better to cut them into smaller pieces.
If your dog has difficulty biting and chewing crunchy vegetables such as zucchini, boil, or steam them before feeding them to your dog.
Feeding a whole Zucchini to your dog in one go is not such a good idea, either. Not only will it make your dog choke, but it also affects its stomach health.
If you want to feed zucchini to your dog, make sure it’s softened and cut into small pieces. Also, an effortless way of incorporating zucchini to your dog’s diet is by mixing small parts of it to your dog’s food.
Can I Feed My Dog Zucchini Dog Biscuits or Treats?
Just because zucchini is safe for your dog, does not mean that you have to feed it raw to your canine. You can always use some creativity, and the best way to incorporate zucchini to your dog’s diet is through Zucchini dog treats. These recipes are easy and incredibly delectable for your four-legged buddy. One such recipe is mentioned below.
Let’s break it down.
To make Zucchini dog biscuits, the ingredients you’ll need are as follows.
- 1 cup of water
- One tablespoon molasses
- One egg
- Half cup of grated zucchini
- Half cup of grated carrots
- 2 cups of rolled oats
- 2 cups of plain flour
Once you get hold of all the ingredients mentioned above, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps.
- Break open an egg in a bowl and beat it thoroughly.
- Once the egg is beaten, add a cup of water into it.
- Add one tablespoon of molasses to the mixture.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly with a beater.
- Put two cups of oats in a big bigger metal bowl.
- Add grated zucchini and carrots to the oats.
- Add two cups of flour.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix the two thoroughly.
- Mix until a nice and thick dough is formed.
- Place the dough on a roller board.
- To keep the dough from sticking to the pour some flour onto the board.
- Flatten the dough with your palms, and using a dog-boned shaped cutter, cut out the biscuits.
- Transfer the unbaked biscuits onto the baking tray.
- Place the tray containing the biscuits in an oven that is preheated to 375F.
- Bake the biscuits for 35 to 40 minutes.
Congratulations! Your DIY zucchini dog treats are ready. Just grab a piece and let your canine chomp.
Signs Your Dog Likes Zucchini
Despite being safe for dogs, you cannot say whether or not all dogs like eating zucchini.
Here are a few signs your dog loves eating Zucchini.
If you have a zucchini plant in your kitchen garden, you will find your dog sneaking into the garden every time you are not around. And, a few zucchinis will be missing from the plant.
You find your dog revolving around you with demanding eyes, every time you eat or cook zucchini.
The mere sight of zucchini makes your dog lick its lips or drool.
Every time your dog sees zucchini, its ears are raised.
Signs Your Dog Dislikes Zucchini
Your dog could even be one of those dogs that don’t enjoy eating zucchini. Here are a few signs your dog doesn’t like eating zucchini.
Every time you make it eat zucchini, it chews unnecessarily slow or drops more than it swallows.
No matter how hard you try, you fail to feed zucchini to your dog.
Eating zucchini gives your dog an upset stomach.
It makes your dog get sick or even throw up.
Zucchini triggers skin or ear allergies in your dog.
My Dog Just Ate Some Zucchini, What Do I Do Now?
So, you are sure that your dog has taken a bite of the zucchini plant. If your dog has eaten some fruit of leaves from the zucchini plant, you don’t need to panic. Luckily, all the parts of a Zucchini plant are non-toxic and completely safe for dogs.
You might not know, but the plants of a Zucchini plant serve as a remedy for stomach issues in humans. If you find your dog wandering about the kitchen garden, you need to make sure whether or not your dog has eaten from any other plants.
Anything besides the Zucchini plant might be toxic and harmful to your dog’s health.
By now, you must have gotten the answer to the question, can my dog eat zucchini? Yes, they can eat zucchini, and it’s beneficial to their health. However, just like any other food item, it is essential to observe moderation when feeding zucchini to your dog.
Also, make sure not to season your zucchini with salts, oils, and spices, for they are detrimental to a dog’s health. Lastly, if you feel your dog is experiencing stomach disorders, book an appointment with the vet right away.