When summer rolls around and the zucchini plant in your backyard gives off more zucchini than you could reasonably eat, you may start to wonder…can dogs eat zucchini? Let’s talk about the health benefits of zucchini for dogs, along with potential risks and safety precautions!
Zucchini is a type of summer squash, meaning it has a tender, thin skin (compared to winter squashed like pumpkin, which have a thick skin). Zucchini is loaded with nutrients, making it a healthy food for us humans to eat, but is it healthy for dogs?
Given in moderation, zucchini is a healthy, low calorie treat for dogs. As with the introduction of any new treat, start with a small bite to see how it is tolerated before giving larger servings.
What are the health benefits of zucchini for dogs?
Zucchini (otherwise known as courgette) is a low-calorie vegetable that’s filled with vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog’s health!
Vitamin A helps to keep your dog’s eyes and skin healthy and it has antioxidant properties that helps to prevent cancer.
Vitamin C helps to boost your dog’s immune system while also producing antioxidant properties that can fight certain cancers.
Vitamin K helps activate protein and calcium that are essential for blood clotting.
Fiber is also abundant in zucchini, making it a great treat to help regulate your dog’s digestive system. Most of the fiber is in the skin of the zucchini, which some dogs may have trouble or sensitivity digesting. If your dog has trouble digesting raw zucchini skin, you can cook the zucchini before giving it to them.
And if that’s not enough, zucchini is low in calories, making it a great choice for dogs who are watching their waist line!
How much zucchini can dogs eat?
A good rule of thumb to follow is to keep treats and various foods to about 10% of your dogs daily diet. This will ensure your dog is still hungry for their normal food, which has all of the vitamins and minerals they need in it. Start by serving your dog a small spoonful of diced zucchini and see how it is tolerated. Then you can move up to bigger portions:
- 1 to 2 teaspoons for small dogs
- 2 to 4 teaspoons for medium dogs
- 2 to 3 tablespoons for large dogs
How to serve zucchini to your dog
Zucchini is safe for dogs to consume raw or cooked. For all of these, keep in mind not to add any oil, garlic, onions, salt or other seasonings to your pooches plate as these can be harmful to them. Here are a few of our favorite ways to serve it up:
Raw Zucchini: If serving raw, be sure to wash it well first. It is best to cut the zucchini into small pieces to prevent potential choking. Raw diced zucchini would be great to add color on Dog Charcuterie Boards!
Cooked Zucchini: If your dog has a sensitive digestive system, consider giving them cooked zucchini (microwaved, steamed, or roasted). Be sure to not season or oil the zucchini before serving it to them – while salted zucchini is tasty for us humans, dogs don’t need that salt!
Pureed Zucchini: To make a zucchini puree, cook the zucchini (microwave or steaming is quickest) and then blend it into a smooth paste. Zucchini puree can be added as a kibble topper, smeared inside a KONG with some peanut butter, or even frozen into dog popsicles!
Shredded Zucchini: Shredded zucchini is great for sneaking extra vegetables into your dog’s diet (like in the form of these chicken dog treats!)
As long as the noodles do not contain salt or seasonings, dogs can eat zucchini noodles!
It’s best to avoid giving your dog zucchini bread, which has a lot of sugar that isn’t healthy for them (on top of sometimes containing chocolate, which is toxic for dogs).
The skin of the zucchini is nontoxic for dogs, although it contains a lot of fiber that could give your pup a belly ache.
The entire zucchini plant, including leaves and flowers, is nontoxic for dogs. No need to worry if they take a few nibbles of the zucchini plant this summer (although you should make sure they’re not eating anything else in the garden that could be harmful).