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Can Dogs Eat Zucchini? A Canine Treat for Every Season

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Some of our favorite garden treats only appear during specific seasons. Watermelon? You usually only see them during the warmer months. And pumpkin? You know autumn’s arrived when they appear in the grocery store. And while your personal garden follows a particular growing pattern, it’s never difficult to find zucchinis in stores. They’re always in season SOMEWHERE. The fact they’re a cinch to grow (even the newest “farmers” manage to keep them plentiful). And you can use them in so many ways. Raw, cooked, steamed, or baked. This is why people love zucchinis so much. But such abundance leads to canine curiosity. You’ll find dogs sniffing around the garden and snatching up a zucchini or two. And you may panic. Can dogs eat zucchini? As it turns out, they can! It’s one of the better doggie treats in the world – as long as you follow some careful outlines.


Cucurbita pepo shows up in the vegetable section of the produce aisle all the time. But it’s actually a fruit! Why? First, you find seeds on the inside. Second, the edible plant grows out of a flower. But since it’s green (most of the time – it also comes in striped and yellow variations), most people consider it a vegetable. Zucchini shares the same family with cucumbers (I know, shocker given their similar appearance), melons, and squash. They’re also known as marrows, baby marrows, and courgettes.

And when it comes to health? You can’t go wrong with zucchinis. EVERY part of the zucchini plant’s edible, from the leaves to the flowers to the fruit itself. (Of course, not everyone LIKES all of those parts, but it’s nice to know you CAN eat them) And you get a low-fat food that packs in the vitamins and nutrients. In 1 cup of zucchini, you get all of the following:

  • Calories: 19.8
  • Carbohydrates: 4.2g
  • Minerals:
    • Calcium:18.6mg
    • Iron: 0.4mg
    • Magnesium: 21.1mg
    • Manganese: 0.2mg
    • Phosphorous: 47.1mg
    • Potassium: 325mg
  • Protein: 1.5g
  • Sodium: 12.4mg
  • Vitamins:
    • A: 5%
    • B6: 14%
    • C: 35%
    • K: 7%

When dogs eat zucchini, they get easily digestible fiber, plenty of water, and all of those nutrients. Not to mention a healthy dose of carotenoids. Carotenoids are natural chemicals that provide a distinct color in many plants, including zucchinis. And they also provide antioxidants. And since the skin of a zucchini is so thin – AND edible – your dog gets a natural boost to their system. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?

When you scan down the list of health benefits, you can’t help but get excited about dogs eating zucchini. They’re low in calories – and sugar (2.1g) – and include plenty of vitamins and minerals you don’t find in other fruits (or vegetables, for that matter). But is it okay for dogs to eat zucchini? Of course. There’s nothing toxic – even if they nibble away at the vine or flowers. You can allow your dog to eat the skin AND the seeds – something uncommon in most fruits. And while your garden may only produce the fruits during the summer, you can find them in the store year-round. This means a potential treat at any time.

Our dog HATES vegetables – she thinks they’re poison. And she’s smart enough to know the difference between a fruit and a vegetable. So it’s not really surprising to us that she’ll happily pick up pieces of zucchini we drop on the floor. And it’s funny because we’ve tried sneaking other greens past her, but they’re all no-gos. Only zucchini makes it past her “veggie filter.”

However, safe as zucchinis may be for canines, you still need to observe a few warnings. Everyone wants their dogs to stay healthy and avoid potential complications. And it IS possible to have too much of a good thing.

When dogs eat zucchini, they get a list of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Precautions When Dogs Eat Zucchini

You’ve probably noticed that zucchinis come in every shape and size. And that can present a little trouble. If you have a pup on the smaller side, they may end up choking on big chunks of zucchini. It’s best if you cut this watery treat up into reasonable-sized pieces before you offer it to your dog. That way, you don’t risk a problem. If your dog’s suffered from dental issues – something common in Pugs and Chihuahuas – steam the zucchini to soften it first.

When dogs eat zucchini ALL the time, you WILL see changes in their GI tract. These fruits contain plenty of fiber and water, and that changes the balance of the microbiome. As such, your dog may become gassy or develop diarrhea. We know zucchinis are healthy, but too many too often can lead to problems. It’s better if you make them an occasional treat.

Finally, zucchinis grow fast and easy. As such, many people add them to home gardens. And once a canine discovers this yummy delicacy? They can decimate a harvest in no time. Obviously, this leads to upset puppy tummies, but it can also present OTHER problems. Namely, what else you have growing besides the zucchini. Dogs don’t stop to read labels, and they may snack on plants that AREN’T dog-safe. You’ll want to make sure you have sturdy barriers in place to protect your pup.

Safe Ways for Dogs to Eat Zucchini

When most dogs eat zucchini, they aren’t picky. They’ll accept pieces that are raw, cooked, or steamed – much like us. Which is perfectly fine – provided you skip the seasonings. Oil, salt, and seasoning may contain toxic ingredients that can land your dog in the hospital. Garlic and onions rank at the top of the list. If you decide to add anything to YOUR portion of the zucchini, cook your dog’s pieces first. Then you can add whatever you want to yours.

Baked goods are also a no-no for dogs. The zucchini’s fine, but the sugar and extra calories aren’t healthy. You’ll find a sick canine on your hands. And that goes double if you choose a sugar-free version. Most sugar-free products use alternative sweeteners, such as xylitol. Dogs absolutely CANNOT have xylitol – it’s toxic. Rather than fussing with ingredient labels, skip the baked goods. Your dog will prefer the zucchini in the “original” packaging.

Bring on the Green Fruit!

Okay, so odds are stores won’t shift zucchinis to the fruit side of the produce aisle anytime soon. But the delicious and nutritious courgettes top everyone’s list – including canines. And when dogs eat zucchinis, they gain plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As long as you monitor the size of the pieces you offer and limit how often you give this treat, it’s perfectly safe. With a naturally sweet taste, your dog won’t even realize they’re getting a healthy treat!

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn’t a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals.

After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study.

Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania’s small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum’s vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn’s vet students.

With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make.

New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine
Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn’t disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions.

And a few memories stood out and remained to this day:

  • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY
  • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill
  • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life

Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine
Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining “real life” experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital.

However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered – staff, clients, and patients alike – left a lasting impression.

Additional standout moments included:

  • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program
  • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit
  • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge)

Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician
Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician – first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT).

Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient’s stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape.

With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations.

Cardiology Veterinary Technician
With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted.

She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern.

And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

Check out Andria’s LinkedIn here

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