Over the summer months, zucchinis usually go on surplus. So, you might wonder if you can safely give it to your pooch. Although fruits and vegetables sound like healthy food options, some of them are actually toxic to canines.
As a result, we must always be careful to feed these natural food items, as they are not all safe for our dogs. For example, because of their toxicity, you should avoid feeding onions, garlics, cherries and grapes to your pooch.
But what about zucchini? Is zucchini bad for dogs, or are they a great treat?
Is Zucchini Good for Dogs?
While dogs tend to be attracted to meats, some vegetables make them a little more excited about their food. Zucchini is one of these vegetables. They make excellent treats for dogs, as long as they are not allergic to it.
Veterinarians actually agree that zucchini is one of the best vegetables that can be given to members of our canine family. Since zucchinis usually sprout like weeds in the summer, one of the easiest ways to eliminate the extra supply is to let your pooch “get rid” of them.
That’s because zucchinis are low-calorie and nutrient-filled. Here are some of the healthy stuff that can be found in zucchinis:
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin C
- Beta carotene
- Dietary fiber
Generally, dogs will be able to get most of the nutrients they need from high-quality dog food. But giving them other food to munch on can be good once in a while, especially if it’s something as healthy as zucchinis.
This is a good weight management option. Since zucchinis contain only 20 calories per cup, it is a great alternative to other high-calorie doggy treats such as jerkies and milk bones. Fiber also helps in making your dog feel fuller. Adding a few zucchinis to her meal can therefore, be a good way to discourage her from munching on more food.
Zucchinis are also low in cholesterol and fat and can strengthen and enhance the bones and muscles of your dog, along with calcium and potassium. Also, vitamin C boosts her immunity, making her skin and coat smoother and healthier.
This doesn’t mean you should put your dog under a strict, zucchini diet only. Ultimately, using zucchinis as supplements or treats rather than meal alternatives is better.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Zucchini?
Raw zucchini is usually safe for dogs to eat. In fact, if you have a zucchini plant in your garden, you may be surprised at how fast your pooch devours your plant.
But most of the time, zucchini is a taste that has been acquired. So, if your pooch is a picky eater, the taste and texture of zucchini might turn her off. Luckily, if you dice it and mix it with wet, meaty dog foods, zucchini can easily turn into something they’ll love.
Depending on how tough the stomach of your dog is, it may be okay to eat raw zucchini, or it may need to be cooked. Many dogs, even if they are safe for consumption, have a hard time digesting raw food in general. Zucchini skin can also cause problems or the stomach, so peeled sticks can be a better treat.
You can have it steamed or boiled without adding any seasoning, oils, butter, garlic, or onions if you want to feed your pooch in the simplest way possible. Yes, this serving will seem bland, but anyway, these treats of zucchini are not meant for human. Dogs don’t need all those additives to appreciate the taste of a particular food.
Safety Precautions Before Feeding
Zucchinis may be low-calorie vegetables, but as with any other food items, too much of something will always be bad. Make sure that you only serve zucchinis moderately. Otherwise, your pooch will suffer a stomach upset due to nutrient imbalances. This also tends to happen if she ate too much, too soon.
If your dog has never previously tried zucchini, it’s best if you feed it with only a small amount to see if she likes the taste or not. This will also help you figure out if she’s going to respond well. Diarrhea and vomiting are common symptoms of bad digestive reactions. Stop feeding your zucchinis and contact your veterinarian ASAP if such conditions occur.
Additionally, large zucchini pieces may lead to choking if your pooch loves to gobble her food up without chewing. Thus, make sure that you chop and dice your zucchinis into smaller pieces to minimize the risks of choking.
Although raw zucchini is safe for dogs, giving her a whole uncooked zucchini to munch on is also not advisable. If it is given as a treat it is better to cut into manageable pieces. In this way, it can be served as a “dessert” after-meal, or it can also be used as a training treat.
Zucchini Serving Suggestions
The most convenient way of feeding zucchinis to dogs is by giving them sliced or cubed zucchini pieces. Raw would be fine, but you can also freeze it and give it as a cold treat. These are especially great desserts during the hot summer months.
You can use zucchini as the main ingredient for home-cooked dog food if you want to use it as a tool for weight loss or weight management. You can also grate raw zucchini over the dry dog food of your pooch to make it tastier and more inviting.
Technically, dogs don’t have to eat vegetables to maintain their health, especially if you feed it with the best kinds of dog food. However, if you need an option that fills the food requirements of your dog sufficiently as a substitute, then zucchini fits perfectly into the bill.
Treats should amount to below 10% of your dog’s daily diet. This number serves as a good estimate of how much zucchini you can give to your pooch.
After all, small dogs and big dogs ‘ food requirements vary greatly. A small dog may have as little as 1⁄2 cup of dog food per day, while a big dog may need a total of 4 cups to maintain its lifestyle. Therefore, to measure how much zucchini you can add to their meals, it is best to refer to your dog’s usual daily intake of food.
Cooked Zucchinis and Zucchini Products: Which Ones Are Safe?
As mentioned earlier, raw or cooked zucchinis are safe enough for dogs, provided that you skip any kind of seasoning. Boiled or steamed zucchinis are usually the healthiest cooking options.
In the meantime, no matter what, zucchini breads and other human baked zucchini products should be of limit to dogs. Usually, these food items are filled with unhealthy calories that usually cause obesity. They are also high in sugar and fat that can cause your pooch stomach upset. You can’t also be sure what other ingredients are in those products, so if you just stay as far away from them as possible, it’s for the better.
Another ingredient that you have to worry about when it comes to baked products is xylitol. This particular sweetener is poisonous for dogs so you should make sure that these products are inaccessible to your dog at all times.
If you really want to feed your pooch with treats or desserts filled with zucchini, we will to share some of the recipes you can make at home. Usually, this is a safer option because you know exactly what’s goes into the food of your dog. You can therefore adjust the ingredients accordingly and avoid anything that does not add value to the treats of your pet.
Should I Worry If My Dog Munches on My Zucchini Plants?
Dogs are curious creatures, so there is a high likelihood that they can munch on your zucchini plants in the garden. They just like eating stuff on the ground, as long as it looks delicious — even if it isn’t supposed to be eaten.
Fortunately, there’s no need to worry if your dog happens to eat zucchini leaves or flowers. All parts of the zucchini plant aren’t poisonous. In fact, the flower is edible and it’s usually added to human foods.
If you let your dog roam around your garden, take note of any plant or fruit you have in your garden. While zucchini plants are safe for canine consumption, you still need to make sure that they are unable to access anything toxic to them.
Keep an eye on all the plants that you have so that you know if you have to call the veterinarian upon seeing a bald patch in your garden!
Zucchini Recipes for Dogs
Zucchini slices are convenient, but if you don’t offer any other variety, dogs can get bored of it very quickly. Fortunately, there are a number of delicious and dog-approved zucchini recipes. A few ways to make your zucchini surplus into yummy doggy snacks are listed below!
- 1 cup zucchini (grated)
- 2 cups flour (whole wheat)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- Preheat your oven to 375 ºF.
- Except for the zucchini, mix all other ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the zucchini into the mixture. Make sure that everything is blended properly.
- Pour the batter into regular-sized, paper-lined muffin tins. Stop pouring when the tin is ¾ full.
- Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
- You can insert a toothpick into the center of the cupcake to see if anything sticks if you want to check if they’re done. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s nice to go!
¼ of a cupcake is usually a good enough serving for your pooch. Of course, for bigger dogs, they may be able to get away with more.
Zucchini Doggy Biscuits
- 2 small zucchinis (shredded)
- 2.5 cups flour (whole wheat)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 3 strips bacon (cooked and crumbled) – Optional, but highly recommended!
- 1 tsp. cinnamon – Optional
- Chopped Brazil nuts – Optional
- Dried cranberries – Optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 ºF.
- Dice or cube zucchinis. You can choose whether to peel the skin or leave it depending on what happens in your garden.
- Use a food processor to shred. You can also use a cheese grater if you don’t have a food processor.
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- If the dough is sticky or wet, add more flour.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it’s around ½ inches thick.
- Flour your cookie cutters ‘ insides. Cut the dough into the shapes you prefer.
- Prepare a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Put the cut biscuits there.
- Roll out the remaining dough. Cut more biscuits until the dough runs out.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
- Turn the biscuits over after 20 minutes. Then, bake for another 20 minutes.
- Turn off your oven after a total of 40 minutes of baking. Leave the biscuits inside for the next 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the biscuits cool.
- Store in the refrigerator and give to your dog as treats!
Depending on the size of your biscuits, you may need to cut it into smaller pieces per serving, or if it’s small enough, you can give it all. In any case, make sure you give only what’s recommended daily for your dog’s serving of treats.
Conclusion: Zucchinis are Worth Sharing with Your Pooch!
If you’re looking for ways to use the extra zucchinis you’ve got in the garden during the summer, you’d be happy to hear that you can “use” your pooch to clean them up. Zucchinis are perfectly safe for dogs, and they can be eaten raw or cooked.
When preparing zucchini recipes for your pooch, make sure that you only use ingredients that are safe for canines. It’s also recommended to introduce zucchinis gradually to minimize stomach upsets.