Zucchini has become one of the most versatile health foods in recent years, and for good reason. Not only is this plant packed with nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, but it’s simply delicious. From zucchini noodles and zucchini chips to a simple vegetable sauté, there are many unique ways to prepare this plant.
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not your fur baby can enjoy zucchini with you, we don’t blame you. With the rich flavor and nutritional benefits packed into such a small plant, this vegetable makes an excellent ingredient for any meal–for humans or dogs.
Can dogs eat zucchini? The answer is yes. Let’s take a closer look at some of the nutritional benefits found in this plant food and the best ways to prepare this food for your pup.
5 Major Health Benefits of Giving Your Dog Zucchini
Here are some of the health benefits zucchini can offer to your canine.
1. Zucchini Is Packed With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that help combat free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals are unstable molecules found in the body. These molecules can come from cigarette smoke, stress, pollution, chemicals, toxins, and even sunlight. When free radicals are left unaddressed, they can wreak havoc on the body and result in oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress can lead to cell damage and a range of diseases. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants is crucial for overall health. Along with foods like coconut and berries, zucchini is a terrific source of antioxidants for both your own and your pup’s diet!
2. A Natural Stool Softener
Zucchini can also help move the digestive process along for your dog. As a pup parent, you’re probably familiar with your dog’s digestive process and schedule. Packed with fiber, water, and minerals, zucchini is a great way to help relieve constipation and move things along when your furry friend gets backed up.
3. Did Someone Say Vitamins?
Zucchini is packed with vitamins such as potassium, zinc, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin A. These vitamins are essential to help your dog thrive mentally and physically. Each vitamin in zucchini plays a unique role in wellness.
Zinc: Zinc is an essential vitamin that helps support immune health and your dog’s ability to fight disease, metabolic function, and absorb nutrients. This nutrient works together with Vitamin C to keep your pup happy and healthy.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is another important nutrient for the immune system. Working together with zinc, vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system. It also works as an antioxidant in the body, fighting free radicals and oxidative stress.
Thiamin: As one of the B vitamins, thiamine helps regulate energy and carbohydrate metabolism. It also supports ion channel and neural tissue health and activity.
Riboflavin: You may know this vitamin by the name B12, and it’s critical for supporting enzymatic function in your dog’s body. This vitamin also helps support the protective coating on nerves in the brain to promote cognitive function and health.
Niacin: This vitamin helps your dog turn food into energy, supporting healthy skin, digestion, and nervous system function.
Pantothenic acid: This B vitamin is vital for energy metabolism.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is necessary for nervous system function, hormone regulation, immune system response, gene activation, glucose generation, red blood cell function, and niacin synthesis.
Folate: Also known as folic acid, this vitamin is essential for amino acid metabolism, nucleotide metabolism, and cellular health as it supports the synthesis of proteins for the mitochondria.
Vitamin A: Found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and zucchini, vitamin A promotes fetal development, immune system health, cellular function, and healthy vision.
The vitamins found in zucchini are reason enough to incorporate this superfood into your dog’s diet. But the benefits don’t stop here.
4. Rich in Calcium & Magnesium
Among other minerals like phosphorus and sodium, zucchini is a rich source of calcium and magnesium. With approximately 31.4 mg of calcium and 35.3 mg of magnesium in one medium zucchini, this plant provides an excellent source of minerals for your pup.
Calcium is critical for maintaining solid bone structure, supporting muscle contraction and function, supporting heart health, promoting nerve function, and maintaining healthy teeth. It also plays a role in blood clotting. Calcium works together with vitamins like zinc and vitamin D to make an impact on health and wellness.
Magnesium can also be found in zucchini. This mineral plays crucial roles for your dog’s body, like supporting energy production, nerve function, and muscle health.
5. Low in Calories, High in Value
Another benefit of zucchini is that it’s low in calories while being high in nutritional value. When you navigate the world of dog food and explore some of the different options available, there is one distinction that really sets good dog food apart from the rest: the calorie-to-nutrient ratio.
Many dog food brands will use high-calorie ingredients like corn, soy, and gluten grains to make your dog feel full. However, these ingredients aren’t high in nutritional value. Your dog may feel full, but their minds and bodies aren’t getting the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they need to thrive.
Our dog food is different. Each ingredient in our clean, complete, and balanced dog food recipe is chosen with your dog’s nutrition in mind. With ingredients like zucchini, pumpkin, kale, flaxseed, parsley, chicory root, turmeric, ginger, blueberries, apples, tomatoes, oranges, and so much more, your dog will get the nutrients they need to thrive, with just the right amount of calories.
Plus, if your dog is overweight and trying to lose weight, zucchini is an excellent ingredient to look for on the dog food label as it’s low in calories and high in nutritional value.
Safety Tips for Feeding Your Dog Zucchini
There is no shortage of reasons to include zucchini in your dog’s diet. Still, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind when doing so.
While zucchini is a great food to offer your pup, there are some types of zucchini you should avoid. Bitter zucchini can indicate the presence of cucurbitacins. This biochemical is found in the roots, stems, and leaves of zucchini, which you likely won’t prepare for your pup anyways.
However, these chemicals can spread to the “meat” of the zucchini itself and can be toxic for dogs.
It’s best to stay away from bitter-tasting zucchinis by buying healthy zucchini in-season and when grown in good conditions. Opting for organic produce is always good, too. And, if you’re not sure whether a zucchini is safe or not, you can always do a taste test!
Made With Love, Packed With Nutrition
If you don’t have the time to devote to making your own dog food with zucchini from scratch, we’ve got you covered. Sundays Food for Dogs includes zucchini and a range of other whole fruits, vegetables, and non-gluten grains.
Take a look at our ingredients here and you’ll see why so many pup parents are choosing Sundays!