Pups can eat pumpkin and it makes a healthy addition to doggy dinners or as an ingredient in homemade treats. Butternut squashes are a very close relation to pumpkins, so it would be easy to assume they are just as safe and healthy for your pooch to snack on.
Can dogs eat butternut squash as well, and is this relative of the pumpkin just as healthy for our furry friend? If you’re wondering whether or not to scoop some squash into your pooch’s bowl, read on to find out whether butternut squash is paw-some for your pet.
Just like other squashes such as courgettes or pumpkins, dogs can eat butternut squash. In fact, butternut squash is one of the most nutritious and delicious fruits for dogs and it’s perfectly safe for them to eat regularly. There’s nothing toxic about butternut squash for dogs and these super squashes are incredibly nutritious. (And yes, they are technically a fruit!)
You can bake, roast, boil, steam, or even microwave butternut squash for your pooch, just make sure you keep it plain. Frying is an option, but it’s not as healthy for Fido so it’s best to use other methods to prep it.
As well as offering chunks of squash as a tasty treat, you can use butternut squash as a versatile ingredient for all kinds of healthy, homemade dog treats.
You could slice a squash and bake it low and slow to dehydrate it and make delicious chewy treats for your fur baby. Or, you can cook it until it’s soft and scoop it out, then add oats to this soft squash and bake and shape it to make healthy doggy biscuits. Alternatively, you can mix your cooked squash with some Pure and freeze it in a Kong to make a long-lasting treat that’ll keep your pup occupied for ages and help to keep them cool and calm in hot weather.
Raw butternut squash isn’t toxic and eating a little bit probably won’t hurt your dog, but it won’t be pleasant either. Raw squash is hard and fibrous so it’s tough to chew and difficult to digest.
This means raw butternut squash is more likely to give your dog belly ache if they eat it, and could potentially cause them to suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea too. Big chunks of raw butternut squash are also a potential choking hazard and could cause intestinal blockages if your dog struggles to chew them, or simply wolfs them down.
All in all, cooked butternut squash is best for your furry friend and definitely far more enjoyable and tasty for them too.
Butternut squash skin is pretty hard and tough to chew and digest, so it’s best not to feed it to your four-legged friend. Since it’s difficult to break down, it can be a choking hazard or cause obstruction in their gut if they eat a lot of it.
If you’re going to feed your pooch some scrumptious squash, it’s always best to peel it first or scoop out the insides, just like you would do if you were going to eat it yourself.
Butternut squash seeds aren’t toxic and are in fact edible, so don’t panic if your dog accidentally eats one amongst their squash or if they hoover one up off the floor. However, you shouldn’t actively feed your dog squash seeds because they can irritate their throats, and have the potential to cause blockages if they eat too many. It’s always best to scoop the seeds out of your squash before serving it to Fido.
Squash seeds are perfectly edible though and are just as nutritious as pumpkin seeds. You can prepare them for eating yourself by baking them. If you bake and blend the seeds to a fine consistency then your pooch can probably have a small pinch or spoonful as a topper or ingredient in homemade treats just like pumpkin seeds.
Without a doubt, butternut squash is one of the safest and healthiest fruits or veggies you could feed your pooch. It’s packed full of vitamins and minerals that’ll help to keep your fur-iend happy and healthy, and they usually go barking mad for the sweet earthy flavour too.
In terms of vitamins, butternut squash is rich in vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is vital for your dog’s wellbeing. It helps to prevent hair loss and skin problems, and it promotes healthy growth and strong muscles. Plus, one of the most im-paw-tent uses of vitamin A is to keep your pup’s eyes healthy.
Meanwhile, vitamin C is paw-some at boosting your dog’s immune system and helping them to heal. It also allows their body to absorb iron and helps to strengthen their joints.
If that wasn’t enough, these vitamins are also powerful antioxidants which means they can help to reduce inflammation, fight oxidative stress, and can even help to prevent cancer.
Another reason butternut squash is so healthy for dogs is that it’s packed full of minerals like phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium. Phosphorus works alongside calcium and helps to strengthen your doggy’s bones. Meanwhile, manganese allows their body to use protein and carbohydrates efficiently, and magnesium actually helps their body to absorb other vitamins and minerals like vitamin C.
There are smaller amounts of loads of other vitamins and minerals too including various B vitamins, calcium, and folate.
As well as all that goodness, butternut squash has plenty of fibre which will keep your pooch feeling full and ensure their gut is healthy. Fibre is im-paw-tent for digestive health as it soaks up excess water and improves stool consistency, regulates bowel movements, and feeds the good bacteria in your pup’s gut.
Not to mention, butternut squash is very low in carbohydrates and fat so there’s nothing particularly bad in there, just oodles of good stuff!
Pumpkin is often used as a healthy home remedy for dogs suffering from diarrhoea. Given their similarity, it’s no surprise that butternut squash is also useful for helping to treat and prevent runny bums.
The fibre in butternut squash helps to soak up water and bind poop together, making it firmer and easier to move through the digestive tract. It’s gross to think about, but it’s really good for your dog. So if your pooch is suffering from diarrhoea, a spoonful of cooked butternut squash in their dinner could help to clear it up.
But, too much fibre and too much butternut squash can go the other way too, and if your dog eats a lot of squash it can actually give them diarrhoea. So always feed this fruit in moderation!
Butternut squash is safe for your dog to eat regularly, and since there isn’t a lot of calories or fat, they can eat quite a lot of it too without pup-setting their stomach.
However, butternut squash is super rich in vitamin A. While some of this super vitamin is good for your pooch, if they eat too much it can build up inside their body and cause illness.
There’s no hard and fast rule about how much butternut squash a dog can eat, so stick to a few spoonfuls at most. A toy dog should only eat about a teaspoon or two of butternut squash a day, while a medium pooch can have a tablespoon or two, and a big breed can have even more.
Alternatively, just use the 10% rule and just make sure your dog’s squash treats don’t exceed 10% of their recommended daily calorie intake.
Dogs can eat butternut squash every day provided it is fed in moderation.
You should try not to feed it to them every day though because rotating the fruit and veggies they eat will help to provide a better balance of nutrients, and it keeps their snacks interesting and rewarding for your fur baby. (You’d get bored of the same veg every day too!)
If you have used butternut squash to make some tasty homemade treats, your pooch can have one or two of these a day depending on your dog’s size and the size of the treat. Just make sure you don’t overfeed Fido as this can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
Yes, dogs can have butternut squash as it is perfectly safe for dogs to eat and is packed full of paw-some vitamins and minerals that help to keep them healthy.
Whole foods like butternut squash make super treats for dogs as well as incredible ingredients in healthy dog food as it ensures your pup gets plenty of quality, natural nutrition without any nasties. Pure contains sweet potatoes, which is very similar in both taste and nutritional benefits they bring.
Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS
Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.