Can you share squash with your dog? Here’s everything you need to know about your dog’s diet and whether squash should be a part of it.
Your dog is your best friend, so you want to make sure they have a nourishing diet to keep them happy and healthy. Part of this includes finding the best dog food brands, choosing what type of dog food to feed your pup, and knowing what ingredients to look for.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect dog food for your first dog or your third, navigating the world of dog food isn’t always easy.
What ingredients can dogs have in their regular diet? Can dogs eat squash? Are veggies like squash safe for your pup in moderation? This guide can help!
Benefits of Squash
Many humans have a love hate relationship with squash, but as we get older, we realize how delicious and nutritious this vegetable really is.
But, can you share this treat with your furry friend?
The answer is yes, absolutely. Squash is safe and offers a range of benefits for your pup.
What benefits come with adding this vegetable to your dog’s bowl? Let’s find out below.
First, squash like zucchini, pumpkin, or raw butternut squash are packed with a range of vitamins. Some vitamins are essential for your dog to thrive while others are beneficial and can supplement their health. Below are the vitamins found in squash and how they help your pup.
Squash is a rich source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps support vision, growth, fetal development, immune system health, cellular health, and more.
Squash is also rich in Vitamin C. You likely think of the immune system when you think of Vitamin C, and you’d be on the right track. However, there are other benefits to including this vitamin in your dog’s diet. Vitamin C also works as an antioxidant. In other words, it helps fight against free radicals and oxidative stress which can cause harm to the organs, cells, and tissues in your dog. By combating oxidative stress, Vitamin C helps soothe inflammation, relieve pain, and keep your dog healthy.
Lastly, squash is an excellent source of Vitamin B6. One of many B vitamins, B6 is responsible for glucose generation, red blood cell synthesis, nervous system function, regulating hormones, immune system function, gene activation, and niacin synthesis. Your dog needs Vitamin B6 to thrive and support many daily biological functions.
Along with the vitamins in squash, there are also a range of minerals that help support your dog’s health and wellness, including magnesium and manganese.
When considering the minerals in squash, calcium is one of the most significant. Calcium is critical for maintaining bone health, muscle density, and strength. Calcium is also critical for contracting the cardiovascular muscles, supporting nerve function, regulating digestion, supporting blood clotting, and increasing energy.
Iron is an important mineral for dogs and cats, but many animals have an iron deficiency. Puppies tend to have higher iron levels as they’re growing more rapidly. However, as your dog gets older, their iron levels tend to become more regular or even decrease. It’s important to supplement your dog’s diet with iron. Squash is an easy way to do this. (You can also use beef or parsley as great sources of iron.)
Both potassium and sodium can be found in squash. Potassium is involved in muscle contraction, cell signaling, and nerve impulse transmission. This mineral is also important for enzymatic reactions and transport functions. Similarly, sodium is important for cell signaling, muscle contractions, and nerve impulses. Sodium also regulates osmotic pressure, supports the acid-base balance, and regulates nerve impulse synthesis. While too much of these minerals can be negative for your pup, the amount included in squash is beneficial to their health and supports a range of physical processes.
In addition to the vitamins and minerals in squash, you can also find a good amount of protein and carbohydrates. These are excellent for your pup in balanced quantities and contribute to a balanced, nutritious diet.
Squash, especially pumpkin, also contains plenty of fiber, which can help soothe tummy issues like diarrhea or runny stool.
What Type of Squash Is Good For Dogs?
Squash is beneficial for dogs just like it’s beneficial for humans. However, what type of squash should you consider giving your dog? Are there any types of squash to avoid?
Most types of squash are safe for dogs to eat and offer the same–sometimes additional–benefits!
For example, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and more are great for your dog to eat in small quantities. Be sure there are no seeds in the squash you feed your dog. These can be difficult for your dog’s digestive system to process and pass.
No matter what type of squash you’re making for dinner, consider saving a small piece of it for your dog.
How To Prepare Squash For Your Dog
If you’re considering giving squash to your dog, it’s important to know how to properly prepare it.
First, be sure to wash any vegetables like squash thoroughly before preparing them. When you cook vegetables for yourself and your family, you likely add butter, oils, and seasonings. Maybe you add garlic powder, onion, salt, pepper, and cheese to spice up the flavor.
While this is a great way to make eating squash much more appealing for you, it’s important to avoid this when giving squash to your pup.Seasonings like garlic and onion can be toxic for dogs.
Consider squash cut up into appropriate bites for your dog that is then steamed, baked, or sauteed with no extra seasonings or ingredients. This will help give your furry friend the benefits of this food without the unneeded extras.
If you’re not sure whether or not your dog should eat squash, don’t hesitate to ask a trusted veterinarian.
How To Include Squash in Your Dog’s Food
It’s also important to know how to include squash in your dog’s food. There’s no shortage of ways to do this. You can get creative and make your very own homemade dog treats or dog food with squash. Or, you can find a pre-made dog food with squash as an ingredient.
Here’s what you need to know about both options.
Adding Squash to Homemade Dog Food
Homemade dog food is a popular way to make food tailored to your pup. When you make homemade food, you know exactly how it’s made and what’s in it.
This is an excellent alternative to many big-name dog food brands that use disappointing ingredients and nutrient-draining processing methods.
If you’re making homemade dog food or dog treats, consider adding squash to them. This will give your pet a nice helping of minerals, vitamins, and other benefits.
Finding Squash in Pre-made Dog Food
We know how important it is to soak in every moment with your furry BFF. So, if you’re looking for pre-made dog food that includes squash as an ingredient, here are a few factors to look for.
First, aim to find dog food that is minimally processed. Some dog food brands use extreme temperatures when drying dog food. This can help kill bacteria, but in turn, it can also kill much of the nutrient content in dog food.
Instead, look for dog food that is gently air-dried. This will have better nutrient retention and higher nutritional value in each bite.
It’s also important to find dog food that is made up to human-grade standards. Human-grade is held to a standard similar to human food and is levels above the “natural” label you’ll often see.
Learn more about our human-grade dog food at Sundays here (squash included)!
Squash Portion Sizes
As with any food, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. It’s important to know how much squash to give your pup.
This partially depends on your dog’s age, size, and other nutritional needs. For instance, a 100 pound dog could stomach more squash than a 15 pound dog. Giving your dog too much squash may not be inherently dangerous, but there is potential for it to cause nausea and vomiting.
You likely won’t need to give your dog large portions of squash. Instead, add squash as a supplement to their meals — about one tablespoon max for a small dog, a couple of tablespoons for a medium-sized dog, and up to a ¼ cup for a larger dog. Cut up a few cubes of squash and add it to their kibble. You can also give this vegetable as a treat by itself!
You can also mash boiled squash into a paste and mix their dry food with it to boost the moisture content of dry food.
Happy and Healthy
Keeping your pup happy and healthy is one of the most rewarding parts of being a dog parent.
Squash is an excellent ingredient to add to your dog’s food.
If you’re looking for dog food your pup will love, take a look at our dog food filled with whole foods like broccoli, bananas, sweet potatoes, and green beans.
Add some squash on top to make a special treat for your pup while giving them the nutrition and quality they deserve, or use a quality food that already has squash and other nourishing ingredients as part of the label!
(PDF) Effects of drying temperature and time of a canine diet extruded with a 4 or 8 mm die on physical and nutritional quality indicators | Research Gate