Yes. Dogs can eat zucchini!
Zucchini is packed with nutrients, so when fed as part of a balanced diet, zucchini makes a healthy, low-calorie treat for your pup. We spoke with Dr. Alex Crow, MRCVS, a veterinary surgeon at Buttercross Veterinary Centre in Nottinghamshire, U.K., and a writer for SeniorTailWaggers.com, for tips and advice on how to include zucchini into your dog’s diet.
Benefits of Zucchini for Dogs
Is zucchini good for dogs? In moderation, yes, zucchini is a treat that is good for your dog’s overall health. Some of the benefits of adding zucchini to your dog’s diet include:
- Rich in vitamins A, C, B6, and K, which is beneficial for your dog’s vision, skin, coat, bone and cartilage growth, metabolism, and proper blood-clotting.
- Zucchini is high in antioxidants, especially in the skin.
- Contain lots of soluble and insoluble fiber which can help to support healthy digestion and maintain your dog’s steady blood sugar levels.
- Zucchini is low-calorie and full of fiber, making it a good treat for dogs with a big appetite or those on a weight management plan as it’ll keep them feeling fuller for longer.
Risks of Feeding Zucchini to Your Dog
Although zucchini can be delicious as a treat or mixed in with your dog’s regular food, Dr. Crow has a few recommendations before feeding your dog zucchini:
- Taste the zucchini first. Zucchini that tastes bitter contains potentially toxic chemicals, usually found in the leaves and stems of the plant. While bitter zucchini isn’t typically toxic to humans, it may cause issues for your dog. Larger zucchinis tend to be more bitter, so when in doubt, give your dog the smallest one you can find.
- Watch for any negative reactions. If you pup experiences diarrhea, vomiting or cramps stop feeding zucchini and call your vet.
- Raw zucchini can be hard for your dog to digest. While safe to eat, raw zucchini might be difficult for dogs with sensitive tummies to digest. Consider boiling, steaming or fermenting the zucchini to soften and make more digestible.
How to Feed Zucchini to Your Dog
You should always consult with your vet before serving zucchini to determine the right portion size for your dog. Even a healthy treat like zucchini should be factored into your dog’s optimum daily balanced diet.
- Washed well, stem removed, then sliced or chopped into bite-sized pieces. (Smaller pieces for smaller dogs please to avoid any choking hazards.)
- Chopped and cooked down and then mashed-up or pureed and added to your dog’s regular food.
- Cooked then whirled in a blender with other dog-safe ingredients to make a smoothie bowl.
- Never feed zucchini to your dog that has been cooked with onions or garlic which can be toxic to pups.
- A serving size is a one-inch thick slice chopped into smaller pieces for smaller dogs and 2-3 chopped slices for larger ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Can dogs eat raw zucchini?
A:Yes, and many dogs like the crunch! Just be sure to cut it into smaller chunks to avoid a choking hazard.
Q:Can dogs eat cooked zucchini?
A:Yes, and some dogs actually prefer softer, cooked zucchini over raw zucchini. Never cook your zucchini with seasoning like salt or other flavored sauces if you plan to feed it to your dog. Plain is best!
Q:How many zucchini slices can I give my dog?
A:It really depends on the size of your dog and their general health, but vegetables shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s overall food intake. Start with small amounts and if your dog reacts well (no upset tummy or stools that are too hard or too soft), you can give them a little more.
Top Dog Food & Treats with Zucchini
If your dog turns out to love zucchini, why not try incorporating a bit more into their diet? There are a handful of dog food and treats with zucchini, or you can get creative in the kitchen and try a vet-approved Chewy Eats recipe.
Before incorporating any new foods into your dog’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian to make sure it’s a safe addition to your pet’s diet given their health, diet needs, and current medications. Your vet will tell you if your dog can eat zucchini and the appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)
Expert input provided by Dr. Alex Crow, MRCVS, a veterinary surgeon at Buttercross Veterinary Centre in Nottinghamshire, U.K., and a writer for SeniorTailWaggers.com.