From sensational sautés to spiralized zoodles, zucchini is a versatile ingredient that takes center stage in many dishes. Not only does the mild flavor complement many meals, but it’s also packed with key vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. As you shop for fresh zucchinis to use in your own healthy meals, you may wonder: “Can dogs eat zucchini?”
Short Answer: Yes!
Zucchini Nutritional Facts
According to the US Department of Agriculture, 1 small (118 g) raw zucchini is packed with:
- Water – 112 g
- Calories – 20
- Protein – 1.43 g
- Carbs – 3.67 g
- Fiber – 1.18 g
- Total Sugars – 2.95 g
- Calcium – 18.9 mg
- Iron – 0.437 mg
- Magnesium – 21.2 mg
- Phosphorus – 44.8 mg
- Potassium – 308 mg
- Sodium – 9.44 mg
- Zinc – 0.378 mg
- Manganese – 0.209 mg
- Selenium – 0.236 µg
- Riboflavin – 0.111 mg
- Choline – 11.2 mg
- Folate – 28.3 µ
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 2510 µg
- Beta carotene – 142 µg
- Vitamin A – 11.8 µg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.192 mg
- Vitamin C – 21.1 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.142 mg
- Vitamin K – 5.07 µg
- Helps Fido Hydrate – Zucchinis are a whopping 94% water, making a few bites of this veggie the perfect thirst-quenching, hydrating treat.
- Perfect Treat For An Overweight Canine – According to The Association For Pet Obesity Prevention, as of 2018, approximately 56% of dogs in the United States were either overweight or obese. Since it’s low in calories and virtually fat-free, zucchini is a great treat swap for overweight or obese dogs.
- Strong Immune System – This superfood is loaded with nutrients that support a strong immune system.
- Anti-inflammatory – Chronic inflammation is at the root of many diseases, for both humans and canines. Good news: The powerful phytonutrient antioxidants in zucchini helps fight inflammation in the body.
- Good Addition To An Anti-Cancer Diet – Zucchini is loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Free-radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells, leading to chronic inflammation and illnesses, like cancer.
- Supports Heart Health – The fiber, potassium, and carotenoids in zucchini are said to support heart function.
- Aids Digestion – The high water content in zucchini helps to soften stool and lessen constipation. Plus, zucchini contains fiber, which also benefits digestive health.
- Supports Eye Health – Lutein + zeaxanthin, vitamin A, and beta carotene are long known for supporting healthy eyes and vision.
- Supports Bone Health – This benefit is thanks to zucchini’s vitamin K and magnesium!
When feeding your pooch zucchini, moderation is key, as overfeeding may result in tummy upset. Canine nutrition experts say veggies, like zucchini, should make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet. So what is 10%? Well, that depends on your dog’s size. In general, a couple of bite-sized pieces are totally fine and healthy!
When picking out the perfect zucchini to share with your pup, opt for organic. While you can peel off the skin, many experts recommend leaving it on. That’s because the skin has the highest amount of antioxidants and also contains fiber.
Raw, steamed, or cooked zucchini is safe for dogs to eat. Just make sure it’s plain, with no added seasonings.
Some ideas to add zucchini to your diet:
- Mix a few small slices into their main meal to bump up the nutritional value
- Offer small bites as treats during training sessions
- Cut into a spear and freeze for teething puppies to gnaw on
- Thinly slice into rounds and put into a dehydrator to create a crunchy chip to share with Fido
As with any new food, introduce it slowly into your dog’s diet to see how he handles it. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your veterinarian.
Get More Doggy Food Facts
This feature is part of a weekly web series called Food Facts Friday. Every Friday, we share foods that are great for our canine companions. Check out other foods highlighted in this series HERE!