NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be OK for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.
While zucchini might not have quite the same allure for your pup as a juicy piece of steak, some dogs love it. If your pooch tends to get excited anytime you’re in the kitchen, you may find yourself asking if it’s safe for him to have a bite of zucchini while you’re slicing and dicing this popular summer squash.
The good news is that zucchini is totally safe for dogs to eat. And, even better, zucchini has some awesome health benefits for pups. Many pet parents add this dog-safe veggie into their pet’s diet as a fresh food topper or tasty treat.
Here’s what you need to know about feeding dogs zucchini safely.
Is Zucchini Good for Dogs?
Zucchini is completely safe for dogs to eat in moderation. It’s low in calories and high in fiber, making it a healthy and nutritious addition to both you and your dog's diets.
This summer squash contains numerous vitamins, including A, C, and K. It’s also rich in potassium and magnesium, all of which can help support your dog's overall health. And if your dog needs to shed a few pounds, adding zucchini to their food bowl may be a way to help them lose weight while still filling up.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Zucchini?
Dogs can eat both raw and cooked zucchini, but cooked zucchini will be easier for them to digest (and is less likely to cause an upset stomach or diarrhea). Cooking zucchini also helps to break down any harmful bacteria that might be present.
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Zucchini
While zucchini offers plenty of nutritional benefits for dogs, they should only get this vegetable in moderation. The same goes for any veggie—giving a dog too much can lead to digestive issues such as gas, diarrhea, and vomiting.
When prepping zucchini for a dog, always thoroughly wash it and remove any stem or seeds (these make it more difficult for your dog to digest). Whether you feed the zucchini raw or cooked, dice the squash into bite-sized pieces to avoid a potential choking hazard. You can even puree zucchini if your dog has trouble chewing.
Pet parents with picky eaters may want to steam, boil, or even bake the zucchini to make it more palatable for your furry friend. And always remember: Plain zucchini is best!
Try mixing the veggie into your dog’s regular dog food to add some variety to his diet and boost his fiber intake. You can also offer it as a treat throughout the day for a healthy alternative to their other snacks.
How Much Zucchini Can Dogs Eat?
Feeding small amounts of plain zucchini as an occasional treat is safe for dogs. But start slow—the high fiber content may cause gastrointestinal upset. See how your dog reacts to a small amount of zucchini before giving him a full serving size.
Below are some general guidelines for how much zucchini is safe for dogs to eat, based on weight. Note that these are just general guidelines. It’s always best to check with your vet before adding any new ingredients to your dog’s diet, especially if they have health conditions or sensitivities.
Extra-small dog (2–20 pounds) = 1 teaspoon per day
Small dog (21–30 pounds) = 1–2 teaspoons per day
Medium dogs (31–50 pounds): 2–3 teaspoons per day
Large dogs (51–90 pounds): 1–2 tablespoons per day
Extra-large dogs (over 90 pounds): 3–4 tablespoons per day
What Other Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?
Zucchini isn’t the only vegetable that’s generally considered safe for dogs to eat. Try any of these below:
- Broccoli: Source of Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and fiber (but be careful, as too much can cause gas)
- Carrots: Source of vitamins A, C, and K as well as potassium
- Cauliflower: Source of Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and fiber
- Cucumbers: Cucumbers are mostly water, so they are hydrating and low in calories
- Green beans
- Lettuce: Vitamins A and K, as well as some minerals like potassium
- Spinach: Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium
- Sweet potatoes
- Tomatoes: Vitamins A and C, though some dogs may be sensitive to large quantities
Remember that not all vegetables are safe for dogs to eat. Some veggies—such as onions, garlic, and chives—must be avoided because they are toxic to dogs. Always talk to your vet before introducing new foods to your dog's bowl, as they may have recommendations that take into account your pet’s health, age, and weight.
Featured Image: iStock/AlenaPaulus
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