Dogs are omnivores (facultative carnivores) and can both eat plant and animal foods to stay happy and healthy throughout their lives. Most dogs are not picky about their food and will even rummage through the garbage for scraps to munch on. The silver lining to this is that many dogs also don’t mind eating vegetables, which can be good for their overall health.
So, can your dog eat squash as part of their overall diet? The short answer is yes, you can give squash to your dog as a treat, snack, or meal supplement occasionally.
Squash Nutritional Facts
Squash can help round out a dog’s overall diet. Many of the same nutrients in squash that are good for humans are also good for our pups. Here are the main beneficial nutrients that dogs can benefit from when eating squash:
|Nutrient||Amount per Serving (100 Grams)||Benefits|
|Protein||1.21 g||Builds and repairs muscles and promotes healthy skin cells|
|Fiber||1 g||Supports a healthy digestive system and helps manage a healthy weight|
|Iron||.37 mg||Helps prevent the development of anemia|
|Magnesium||18 mg||Supports optimal muscle functionality|
|Potassium||261 mg||Supports optimal nerve functionality|
Some types of squash are also high in beta carotene, which can help promote a healthy coat and growth as well as aid in healthy vision.
Too Much Squash Can Be Bad for Your Dog
While squash is generally healthy for dogs when eaten in moderation, a few problems can arise if you feed your pup too much of it too often. First, squash contains enough fiber that if high amounts are consumed could cause digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Eating seeds or the skin can also lead to intestinal obstructions or constipation. Along with that, too much squash in the diet can take the place of what your pup should be eating to ensure that all their nutritional needs are met.
Secondly, although unlikely, some dogs may be allergic to squash. If this is the case for your dog, they might end up with clinical signs like itchy skin, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress. Always monitor your dog for any abnormal signs after feeding squash and discontinue if they have issues with it.
How Often You Can Feed Squash to Your Dog
Since squash is low in carbohydrates and sugars, it can be offered to your dog regularly, but it should not take up more than about 10% of their diet, so as not to intrude on the amount of commercial food that they eat at mealtimes, which has all the nutrition needed for their good health. You can offer a few pieces of squash several times a week as treats, snacks, or as part of meals. It is important to make sure the squash is properly prepared before offering it to your pup.
How to Feed Squash to Dogs
There are a few steps that you should take to prepare squash before offering it to your pup for consumption. First, wash the squash thoroughly. You can remove the skin, but just know that most of the nutrients of squash can be found in said skin. Then, cut the squash into slices or small chunks, being careful to remove the seeds as you work. Again, the seeds can cause gastrointestinal distress or even block the intestines and should not be given to dogs. You can serve the squash raw or cook it (without any oil or seasonings) before giving it to your pup. Serve it as is, or mix it in with your dog’s regular meal time food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?
Yes, dogs can eat zucchini; it contains many of the same beneficial nutrients as yellow squash and is very digestible. Zucchini should be treated and prepared in the same way as yellow squash before being given to your dog.
What If My Dog Doesn’t Like Eating Squash?
That’s okay! If your dog does not like squash, don’t try to force them to eat it, as this will just turn them off from the food even more. Try another option like shredded carrots instead.
How Should Squash Be Cooked Before Serving It to My Dog?
There are a few ways to cook squash before offering it up to your pup. First, consider roasting pieces in the oven until they get soft and mushy. Second, you can sauté a few pieces with a bit of water so they don’t stick to the pan or boil chunks in plain water. Finally, try microwaving the squash pieces until they become tender to the touch. Always make sure the cooked squash has cooled down before you give it to your dog.
As long as your dog is not allergic to squash and enjoys eating it, this food can be a regular part of their overall diet. Squash is low in calories and high in nutrients and can help your pup maintain healthy digestion and a healthy weight even as they get older and become less active. You can offer it raw or cooked depending on your dog’s preferences, just make sure it’s plain with no added seasonings or oils.
Featured Image Credit: Polina Tankilevitch, Pexels