Saturday, May 10, 2014

What Types of Squash are Safe For Pets?

Can cats and dogs eat squash? What types of squash are safe for pets? Squash can be a healthy, tasty food to add to your pet's diet.  Summer squash (zucchini, crookneck) are low-calorie and a good source of calcium, potassium and beta-carotene. Winter squash (butternut, spaghetti, acorn) are a good source of vitamins A and C and dietary fiber. 

Both summer and winter squash offer great nutritional value for cats and dogs. Summer squash, such as zucchini and  yellow crookneck can be added to your dog's meals to help them keep off extra pounds. Adding fresh, frozen, cooked or squash puree into your dog's regular diet, can improve the overall nutritional content of your pet's diet and help them feel more satiated.

Cats are more particular in their tastes and tend to prefer winter squash.  A small amount of pureed pumpkin or butternut squash such as 1/2 teaspoon mixed into a  cat's meal can provide valuable nutrients.  Winter squash, such as butternut, spaghetti, or acorn, are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. They also contain folate, omega 3 fatty acids,  and B vitamins.  Cats will sometimes eat pumpkin and butternut squash in small amounts, if it is mixed into their food.  

Does your pet have IBD or digestive problems?  The fiber in squash can help relieve constipation and diarrhea as it helps to regulate the natural wave action of the intestines.  Pumpkin contains fiber and is available in cans that you can mix into both cat and dog food.  Adding digestive enzymes and probiotics such as K9 Digestive Enzymes, LypoZyme (tasteless, especially helpful for cats and small dogs) and Power Probiotic can relieve digestive symptoms and help repair your pet's intestinal lining. 

For more pet health nutrition tips, please visit our pet health center which has answer to many common dog and cat health questions.