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Can dogs eat squash?

A variety of winter squash

Love feeding your dog different foods? That’s great—but not all foods are good for dogs! 

Knowing what your four-legged friend can and can’t eat is one of the most important things about being a dog owner. And since you’re the one who prepares his meals and snacks, it’s up to you to know what foods dogs can and can’t eat.

As it turns out, there is a huge variety of ‘human’ food that is just as beneficial for dogs as it is for us. And many dog owners are surprised to learn how nutritious and varied their dog’s diet can be when they add these in.

One food that you might not have considered feeding your dog is squash. Although most of us think of squash as a vegetable, it’s technically a fruit because it contains seeds. Summer squash includes varieties with thin, edible skins and soft seeds, such as zucchini. Winter squash includes those with hard, thick skins and seeds, such as acorn and butternut squash.

Can dogs eat squash?

Yes, squash is safe for dogs! They particularly enjoy winter squash such as butternut squash for its sweet, nutty flavor. Dogs can also eat summer squash, such as zucchini. Both of these ‘fruits’ are best served cooked and harbor plenty of nutritional benefits for your pup. 

Raw squash is likely to be very difficult to digest, just as it would be for a human.

Benefits of squash for dogs

Squash is great for cardiovascular health

Yellow squash contains very little fat and almost no cholesterol. It’s also a good source of magnesium, which can help support heart health. The vitamin C and beta-carotene levels can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in your dog’s arteries. 

Squash supports bone health 

Squash is rich in manganese, which helps your dog maintain healthy bone structure and calcium absorption. It’s also required for building bones and improving the mineral density of the spinal column. Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen, which helps in supporting bone mass. Other minerals in squash include iron, folate, zinc, and phosphorus, all of which contribute to the mineral health of bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Squash aids digestion

The high fiber content of squash makes it great for supporting your dog’s colon and digestive function. Fiber helps his body remove unwanted toxins while also encouraging regular bowel movements. This is very important for keeping his gut in good working order. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, a serving of cooked squash can help to absorb excess water in his gut and restore normal bowel movements. 

The risks of feeding squash

Squash is a very low-risk food source for dogs—but it must be prepared properly! The tough skin and seeds are very difficult to digest and may lead to an upset tummy if not removed first. 

The flesh of raw squash is tough and fibrous, which may also cause digestive trouble. Always cook squash properly before serving it to your dog. 

What kind of squash to feed your dog

There are many varieties of squash—and the good news is that dogs can eat nearly all of them! Butternut squash and acorn squash are both great choices as they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Acorn squash is especially rich in vitamin C as well, which helps with collagen production. 

Cooked and pureed pumpkin is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which helps to keep dogs regular. It’s also an effective remedy for constipation. Pumpkin is also rich in carotenoids and vitamin E, which support his skin and eye health. 

Zucchini is also easy for dogs to digest and can be eaten raw with the seeds. It provides plenty of potassium, beta-carotene, and folate, which is important for cell health. 

How to prepare squash for dogs

Always remove the seeds and hard outer skin of your chosen squash before serving it up to your dog. The best methods for cooking include steaming or lightly baking. This helps to retain all the nutrients. 

Avoid adding butter or oil when cooking, as these add unnecessary calories. Also refrain from adding flavorings such as garlic or onions, as these can be toxic for dogs.

Learn more about foods that dogs can and can't eat:

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