Is raw zucchini good for dogs?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat raw zucchini, but only in moderation.
This vegetable is rich in water, so it is very low in calories. In addition, it provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so its consumption in small doses can be beneficial for the animal.
Therefore, within the list of vegetables suitable for dogs, zucchini would be included.
Why should dogs eat zucchini in moderation?
It should be clarified that neither zucchini nor other vegetables should be the main food in the animal's diet. The main component should always be meat.
In addition, it should be noted that zucchini possesses cucurbitacins, a type of biochemical found in the plant that emits a bitter taste to the zucchini. This could be harmful to the animal, causing gastrointestinal problems.
Still, if given sporadically, zucchini for dogs has many benefits.
Zucchini health benefits for your dog
Now that you know that dogs can eat zucchini, let's see what are the benefits that this vegetable brings to the animal.
High in antioxidants
Zucchini contains plant compounds that help protect dogs' bodies from free radicals. These are unstable molecules, which are capable of causing long-term damage to your pet's cells, accelerating the aging process.
This is why antioxidants are so relevant, because they help to clean up oxidative stress (that's what that process is called).
It has many nutrients
Zucchini is rich in vitamins, such as A, B6, C and K. In fact, it has a slightly higher level of vitamin A than other vegetables.
However, when cooked, this level of vitamins is reduced, so it is appropriate to give it raw.
It is also high in minerals (potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium and phosphorus).
On the one hand, zucchini has insoluble fiber, which increases the volume of stool. On the other hand, it contains soluble fiber, which increases the amount of beneficial bacteria that generate short-chain fatty acids in the intestine.
This soluble fiber reduces the chances of suffering intestinal disorders. For example, colitis, leaky gut or irritable bowel disease.
Zucchini has a type of antioxidant that gives the vegetable its characteristic color called carotenoid.
Carotenoids are compounds that are poorly or not at all soluble in water. Their names are often derived from the scientific names of the species of origin, such as carotene from carrots (Daucus carota), lycopene from tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), capsanthin from red peppers (Capsicum annuum), zeaxanthin from corn (Zea mays) or crocetin from saffron (Crocus sativus).
The skin is the part that contains the highest concentration of antioxidants and also has fiber.
Very low in sugars
A dog eating zucchini does not have a negative impact on blood sugar, as it does not increase it. Therefore, it could also be suitable for dogs with diabetes.
Low in calories
This vegetable is suitable for overweight dogs because it is very low in calories due to its high water content. Also, the fiber will help to maintain the right weight, reducing hunger.
Coprophagia and zucchini for dogs
This is one of the benefits of zucchini for dogs that is not direct, but can help both your pet and you.
Eating zucchini worsens the odor of your dog's feces. As you know, there are dogs that suffer from coprophagia, that is, a pathology that causes the animal to eat its own feces.
For this reason, by worsening its odor with the consumption of zucchini, the dog can reduce this behavior. Even so, of course, the best thing to do is to go to a canine behavior professional to put an end to this situation.
How do I give zucchini to my dog?
Having seen the beneficial properties of zucchini for dogs, let's see how you can offer it to your dog.
To begin with, if you are going to opt for an all-natural diet for your pet and prepare it at home, consult your trusted veterinarian for the appropriate amounts of vegetables and fruits for your particular dog. Normally, these make up 10%-15% of their diet, but it is better to have the precise figure in your case.
Once you know the amounts for both a daily diet and if you are going to give it as a snack sporadically, let's see how you can offer it to your dog.
Raw or cooked zucchini
You can offer the zucchini with skin (remember that it is the part that contains more antioxidants) having previously washed it very well to remove traces of dirt and pesticides.
When cutting it, make small pieces suitable for the size of your dog's mouth. Keep this in mind to avoid choking.
At the same time, remember not to add any type of salt or seasoning.
Baked or steamed zucchini
Dogs can also eat baked or steamed zucchini. There is no need to add salt, seasonings, or sauces.
When the zucchini is steamed, the loss of nutrients is minimized, and the dog can better ingest it.
If you choose to mash it, the digestion of the zucchini will be even easier. However, in this case, it is advisable to give it raw so that it can take advantage of 100% of the benefits.
Normally, zucchini should not cause problems for the dog. However, some zucchini can be very bitter and therefore toxic. This is due to the aforementioned cucurbitacins.
This biochemical can be found in the roots, leaves, and stems of plants. It is true that we do not usually eat these parts, nor should we give them to our dogs. However, it can happen that the bitterness penetrates the plant, causing a very bitter and toxic taste.
To prevent our dogs from consuming bitter zucchini:
- We must buy healthy zucchini that have been grown under favorable conditions.
- Very large zucchini are more likely to be bitter.
- Choose the firmest and softest zucchini.
- If you have any doubts, taste the zucchini before giving it to your dog. If it is bitter, don't give it to him.
Now you know that dogs can eat raw zucchini and its benefits. Always remember to start with a tiny amount and watch the dog's reactions before proceeding.