Can Dogs Eat Squash? Benefits of Squash for Dogs
Squash is a delicious vegetable filled with important vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as nutrients like folate, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and phosphorus. All these vitamins and nutrients make it good for people, but is squash good for dogs to eat?
Read on to learn more about the benefits of introducing squash to a dog’s diet, and how to prepare squash for your pup.
Can Dogs Have Squash?
To put it simply, yes — dogs can eat squash. In fact, with all its nutritional benefits, squash should be a part of your dog’s regular diet. As mentioned above, squash is filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals, and introducing squash to your dog’s diet can help them with their vision, immune system, and cardiovascular functions.
Can Dogs Eat All Types of Squash?
Dogs can eat any of the different varieties of squash — in fact, each of the different types of squash comes with its own sets of benefits for dogs! Spaghetti squash supports your dog’s immune system, vision, colon, muscles, and more.
Since acorn squash is filled with vitamin A, folate, and vitamin B-6, it can work wonders for the digestion of a dog — plus, it can help give them a shinier coat! Butternut squash is filled with potassium, which greatly benefits the nerves, enzymes, kidneys, and muscles of a dog.
Dogs can eat any type of squash, but you’ll want to make sure that you remove the seeds before feeding it to your dog. While a few seeds won’t hurt your dog, if they eat too many, they can cause a backup in your dog’s digestive system.
Squash Nutrition Facts
Here are some of the nutritional details that you can expect with raw spaghetti squash (per 100g):
- Energy: 31 kcal
- Protein: 0.64g
- Total fat: 0.57g
- Carbohydrate (by difference): 6.91g
- Fiber: 1.5g
- Sugars: 2.76g
- Calcium: 23mg
- Iron: .31mg
- Potassium: 108mg
- Sodium: 17mg
- Vitamin C: 2.1mg
- Vitamin B-6: .101mg
You can learn more about the nutrients in spaghetti squash (along with all the other squashes) by visiting FoodData Central.
Benefits of Squash for Dogs
Just as it does for humans, squash provides many different health benefits for dogs. According to Dr. Karen Becker, 15-25% of a healthy dog’s diet should be fruits or vegetables, and squash is a nutrient-dense option for any canine.
Other health benefits of squash for dogs include:
- Skin hydration
- Better digestion
- A healthy, shiny coat
- Stronger muscles, kidneys, and nerves
How to Prepare Squash for Dogs
Now that you’ve decided to introduce squash to your dog’s diet, it’s time to figure out the best way to serve this vegetable. Here are some things you should keep in mind when preparing squash for your four-legged friend.
1. Choose Organic Squash
If your budget/grocery store allows for it, it’s always beneficial to opt for organic produce. Throughout the farming process, conventional produce is often exposed to pesticides, and by choosing organic, you will greatly cut down on any potential pesticide exposure. Plus, organic farming is more environmentally friendly and sustainable, making for a happy planet as well as a happy pup.
2. Always Wash Your Veggies
The journey from the farm to your fridge is a long one for a piece of produce. It gets handled by a lot of people, and you want to make sure that your dog isn’t consuming any unnecessary germs! Consider washing your squash before you prepare it.
3. Choose Cooked or Raw
Before you give your dog squash, you’ll want to make sure that you take the skin off and remove the seeds. These things can obstruct your dog’s digestive system.
Once it’s peeled and deseeded, you can serve it raw or cooked. If you serve squash raw, be sure to puree or chop it up real small, so your pup can easily chew and swallow the squash. Dogs get excited when they taste something sweet like squash, so you want to make sure it’s not a choking hazard if they start gobbling it up super fast.
If you choose to cook squash for your dog, the best way to do so is to either steam or roast the squash. You don’t need to get fancy with it — remember, your dog will be excited to eat the squash regardless of how it’s served. A simple steaming or roasting will be enough to get your dog excited for dinnertime.
4. Skip the Seasoning!
Seasoning is one of those ingredients that people love, but it isn’t super healthy for your pup. Dogs’ stomachs aren’t built to handle intense flavors. A little rosemary or salt won’t hurt your dog, but it’s best to keep things simple to soothe their digestive system. Your dog will be so excited by the squash, they won’t even mind the lack of spices!
5. Make Squash a Special Treat for Your Pup
Although squash is filled with helpful vitamins and nutrients, it’s important that it isn’t the only thing you feed your dog. Dogs, like humans, need a well-balanced diet filled with different vitamins and nutrients. Feed your dog squash in moderation, and in combination with other healthy foods.
Once you’ve decided that you want to introduce squash to your dog’s diet, check out Raw Bistro’s Frozen Raw Bison Entree. It’s got the perfect amount of organic butternut squash, along with other organic, farm-to-table ingredients, like broccoli, red peppers and blueberries.
Always Consult Your Vet
Before making a change to your pup’s diet, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian. Squash is safe for dogs, but each dog is a little different. Some will love squash, and some will be indifferent. So check-in, just to be safe. A healthy dog is a happy dog!