Can Dogs Eat Squash? Is Squash Safe for Dogs?
Squash comes in a wide variety of different strains and types, tastes great, and is packed with fiber, potassium, and other nutrients. Common varieties include butternut squash, pumpkin, and zucchini and all forms are known to aid in improving digestion and blood pressure while promoting healthy hair and skin, not only in humans but also in dogs. It is best to cook or prepare the vegetable first, before feeding it, but it can be mixed into a whole food diet, used as a replacement for some of the dry or wet food that your dog eats, or even turned into tasty but healthy snacks to give as a treat.
Is Squash Safe for Dogs?
Dogs are omnivores, which means that they have a digestive system that is designed to cope with eating vegetables and fruits as well as meat. Many animal nutritionists and vets believe that it is just as important that a dog gets a varied diet, as it is for humans. As such, when you’re next opening a can of wet food for your family pet, you should consider mixing it up with some healthy vegetables. Squash, in its many guises, is not only considered safe for your dog to eat, but it has a host of health benefits that make it a beneficial addition to their diet.
How to Feed Your Dog Squash
Squash is a hard vegetable and your dog is likely to struggle to digest it uncooked. As such, you should prepare it first. Remove the skin and seeds. A lot of seeds can be toxic to dogs, so you should always take care when feeding these, and some dogs simply do not enjoy the texture or flavor of this part.
In any case, it is best to remove them before you begin. You can simply cut up the remaining squash and boil it or grill it, ensuring that it does not char or burn. Once the squash is prepared, use it to replace some of the dry or wet food that you would typically feed your dog at mealtimes. You can also try feeding your dog cooked squash on its own: some dogs enjoy it, some really don’t, but you shouldn’t be afraid to try it out.
There aren’t any steadfast guidelines on the amount of squash you should feed a dog. However, as is true when introducing anything new to your pooch’s diet, you should take a conservative approach and introduce it gradually. Start with a small amount, maybe just a few relatively small chunks in a meal. If your dog enjoys it and wants more, add a little extra the next time you combine it with their food.
The Health Benefits
Not only is it safe, but squash offers the following health benefits for your dog:
- Promotes Good Eye Health – The yellow and orange squash variants are especially high in beta carotene which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is not only good for fighting free radicals and slowing down signs of aging, but it is very important in maintaining good vision and eye health. You can further increase beta carotene levels with vegetables like sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli.
- Encourages Healthy Digestion – Some dogs suffer from bad digestive problems, and this can be aided through the addition of good fiber. Squash is packed with water soluble fiber and water. These can beat diarrhea or constipation in your dog.
- Boosts the Immune System – Like people, dogs can suffer from vitamin C deficiency, which is a common cause of a compromised immune system. A depleted immune system makes it more difficult to fight common colds and other infections. Although dogs naturally produce vitamin C, certain illnesses and conditions can lead to a deficiency, but squash is loaded with this important vitamin so can be used to help stave off colds and illness.
- Other Benefits – The vitamin C and other nutrients found in squash hold a number of other health benefits for your dog. Feeding your pet this powerful vegetable can improve their skin and fur, keep their teeth strong, and because it has such a wide range of vitamins and nutrients, it can greatly improve the nutritional level of the meals you feed your dog. Despite being packed with goodness, squash is very low in calories and has no cholesterol, which means that even though your pet will love the taste and will not feel deprived, they also won’t pack on the pounds. Obesity is just as dangerous in dogs as in humans, so it is important that you help keep the weight off.
Can Dogs Eat Squash?
There are dozens of varieties of squash, including pumpkin, many of which we use on a regular basis. Whether you’ve got a few leftover pieces following Thanksgiving dinner, or you’ve hollowed out pumpkins for the kids and have been left with the innards, you can turn the fleshy components of the squash into a healthy food source for your dog.
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