Dogs thrive on meat-based diets, but can they eat plants like squash too? Technically, dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, so they can easily digest fruits and vegetables just like they can with meat. The health benefits and risks greatly depend on the specific food, but just because something isn’t meat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it for you dog. So, let’s take a look at the different kinds of squash to find out if they’re safe for dogs to eat.
Can Dogs Eat Squash?
Yes, dogs can eat squash. It’s a lesser known fruit, but it’s still one of the many fruits that are safe for dogs to eat. Cooked squash can be healthy for your dog, as long as you skip any added salt, sugar, fat, or seasoning. Raw squash can be harder for dogs to digest, so cooked is the best way to go for both humans and dogs.
Squash has multiple varieties, and some are better for your dog than others. Butternut squash, pumpkin, zucchini, and acorn squash are all examples of squash that are safe and healthy for dogs. Nearly all types of squash are safe for canines, but these four provide the most health benefits for them.
Benefits of Squash for Dogs
In general, squash is high in fiber, low in calories, and full of vitamins and nutrients. These are qualities that all healthy dog snacks should have. One of the most important benefits of squash for dogs is that it aids digestion. In particular, plain butternut squash and pumpkin are often used as a treat to help dogs with digestion issues like diarrhea. Butternut squash is also high in potassium, which can benefit your dog’s kidneys, muscles, nerves, and enzymes.
Zucchini is another type of squash that’s healthy for dogs, and it’s great at maintaining a healthy metabolism. Acorn squash is high in vitamin C, and it’s also known to help your dog maintain a healthy coat. Therefore, all types of squash, as long as they don’t have any added flavoring, can benefit your dog in some way.
Risks of Squash for Dogs
There are very few risks of serving squash to dogs. It’s not a common allergen, but then again, all dogs react to new foods differently. When serving, it’s best to cook it and remove the seeds and skin. While cooked squash can greatly benefit your dog’s digestion, raw squash, squash seeds, and squash skin are difficult to digest. Squash that’s not prepared correctly could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or other health concerns.
Also, some humans like to add in other ingredients like onions and garlic. However, those items are considered poisonous for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. So, as long as you serve squash correctly, meaning plain and cooked, your dog should be safe from these potential risks.
How to Safely Serve Squash to Your Dog
Adding plain, cooked butternut squash to your dog’s meals can be a great addition, as long as you remove seeds and skin. However, it shouldn’t be served every day. It’s best as a small snack or a topper on your dog’s food. It’s best not to serve it to them off your plate unless you’re certain it doesn’t have any unhealthy ingredients added to it. Acorn squash should be served similarly.
For pumpkin, pureed pumpkin is the most common way to serve it to dogs. Like butternut squash, you can serve it as a small snack or mix it in with your dog’s food. Adding a little pumpkin to your dog’s diet is one of the best ways to soothe an upset stomach. There are many dog treats that include pumpkin in them, in case your dog isn’t a fan of pumpkin on its own.
Zucchini is a little different than other types of squash because it can be served to dogs in many different ways. Raw, steamed, or cooked zucchini is all safe for dogs to eat, as long as it doesn’t have any added seasoning. Many humans forget that zucchini is a squash since it’s so different from butternut squash or pumpkins. Luckily, it can still be a healthy and tasty treat for your furry friend. But before serving any new food to your dog, make sure you use a slow transition for the best results.
Squash is especially popular during fall seasons, but dogs can eat it year-round. If your dog is having digestive problems, it’s up to you to find a way to improve their diet. Adding a little squash might just help them feel better. So, if your dog is a fan of fruits and vegetables, why not consider adding something new to their diet? Just make sure you’re careful when preparing it to ensure that it’s as safe as can be.