Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?

Can dogs eat zucchini

What vegetables can dogs eat? Is zucchini among them? You should know that dogs are facultative omnivores, which means that their main source of food should be meat and fish, but they can also eat foods rich in carbohydrates such as vegetables and fruits to a lesser extent.

Zucchini is a vegetable full of properties that can be beneficial for our canine companions, but how to offer it? If you want to know if dogs can eat zucchini or not, what benefits it provides, its dosage, and its contraindications, continue reading this Best Pets Lover article.

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Is zucchini good for dogs?

Zucchini is a plant of North American origin that belongs to the family of pumpkins, that is, to the family of cucurbits. It grows at ground level in a bushy way and its fruit is edible, which is what we know as zucchini. Due to the versatility of its cultivation and ease, it has allowed it to spread throughout much of the planet, being one of the most consumed vegetables by humans. But can dogs eat zucchini? Yes, zucchini is a vegetable that your dog can eat, but in moderation.

Zucchini can be good for dogs due to its large number of benefits and nutrients, but it also contains cucurbitacins, which are compounds that are mainly found in the leaves, stems, and roots of the plant, which give them a bitter taste and some toxicity for our dogs when they penetrate the fruit. For this reason, the consumption of zucchini by your dog should always be moderate and taking into account the conditions that we will be commenting on in this article.

You must bear in mind that the main food that your dog needs is the one made specifically for the canine species since it ensures all the nutrients and daily energy that a dog requires for the growth, development, and maintenance of its vital functions. Within these specific foods for dogs we find feed, but also homemade food prepared by veterinarians specialized in nutrition. Choosing one food or another will vary depending on your needs, but in all cases, it must be of quality. 

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Benefits of zucchini for dogs

Zucchini is a vegetable with a suave flavor as long as it is not bitter due to the content of the compounds that we have mentioned in the previous section, the cucurbitacins. This vegetable is full of antioxidants such as carotenoids, compounds that fight against free radicals that cause aging and oxidative stress because they damage the DNA and cells of your canine companion.

Zucchini also aid digestion due to their high water content, preventing constipation and softening stools. In addition, they contain both soluble fiber, to feed the beneficial bacteria due to the short-chain fatty acids they create in the intestine, and insoluble fiber, which reduces constipation due to the increase in stool volume. All this prevents intestinal diseases such as colitis, irritable bowel, or leaky gut.

Zucchini is also a source of vitamins, highlighting the contribution of A, C, K, and B6, and important minerals for the body such as copper, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus. Another benefit of zucchini for dogs is that it has few calories, so if your dog is overweight it will not hurt him, what’s more, it will satiate him due to its water and fiber content and will not raise his sugar level due to its low content. glycemic index.

How to give zucchini to my dog?

Zucchini can be offered to dogs in different ways because it is a very versatile vegetable. Of course, you should know that the contribution of zucchini concerning your dog’s usual diet should not exceed 10%, whose dose, therefore, will depend on the size of the animal.

Although it is not the most frequent in the courgettes that we can buy in supermarkets, some may contain seeds that we must remove before offering them to our dogs. Likewise, it is advisable to avoid offering them bitter squash due to the toxic cucurbitacins.

That said, how do you give a dog zucchini? We must always remove the skin and wash it to remove as much as possible of the pesticide compounds and dirt it may have. Once this is done, we can manage the zucchini in different ways, such as the following:

  • Raw: raw zucchini contains higher amounts of vitamin A, and can be broken into small portions or grated on top of its main food (as long as it is homemade food since it is not appropriate to mix feed with natural food ).
  • Cooked: cooking the zucchini can make it easier to eat by making it softer, so it can be added to the usual food (if it is homemade) or tried to offer alone.
  • Baked: zucchini can also be cooked in the oven and your dog will enjoy its benefits and all its flavor.
  • Grilled: although the amount of oil used is minimal, this way more fat is added, so it will be more appetizing for your dog, but you must take into account the extra calories.
  • Shredded: Both cooked and raw, you can shred zucchini into a paste or porridge and offer it to your dog along with his homemade food to make it easier to eat.

Side Effects of Zucchini for Dogs

Zucchini is a safe and suitable vegetable for dogs, we just have to be careful to avoid giving them the most bitter zucchini due to their content of cucurbitacins, compounds that can cause gastrointestinal toxicity in our canine companions.

These toxins can induce symptoms in our dogs such as excessive salivation or drooling, nausea, lethargy, disorientation, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can end in shock. For this reason, you should avoid bitter squashes so that your dog does not suffer from these symptoms and can enjoy the flavor and benefits of zucchini in all its forms.

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A Warning About Zucchini for Dogs

Zucchini is generally a non-toxic food that you can feed your dog in moderation. However, zucchini can occasionally be highly unpleasant and even dangerous. That’s due to cucurbitacins, a class of biochemicals found in plants.

So that it does not harm our fur, we must avoid bitter zucchini.

Cucurbitacins, known in chemistry as “bitter principles,” give off a bitter taste and can be toxic. This biochemical is usually found in the roots, stems, and leaves… all the parts of zucchini that we humans don’t normally eat. But when the bitterness gets into the plant, it causes a very bitter (and toxic) taste!

To avoid bitter squash make sure you buy healthy squash grown in favorable conditions. Choose the smaller ones, the monster zucchini, which we sometimes find in greengrocers, is more likely to be bitter. Make sure they are firm and not mushy. If you’re not sure, try some before giving it to your dog. If it’s bitter, throw it away.

With so many wonderful benefits, zucchini is safe for dogs to eat, feeding zucchini and other vegetables to dogs can add high nutritional benefits. Zucchini is another great addition to their diet!

Contraindications of zucchini for dogs

As we have just commented, we must pay attention to its flavor so as not to offer those that are bitter. When this flavor is present in a zucchini, you should avoid giving it to your dog, as it can make him feel unwell and he may reject it due to its unpleasant taste. In this sense, you should know that larger courgettes are the ones that are more likely to contain these toxic substances that give them a bitter taste, so it is best to opt for smaller, firmer, and softer courgettes. Likewise, you should always test it before giving it to your dog.

Zucchini is also not indicated for dogs that are going through a diarrheal process, since it facilitates intestinal transit and can worsen this clinical symptom.

Now that you know that dogs can eat zucchini in moderation, don’t miss this video where we talk about fruits:

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