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Butternut squash is a highly versatile, brightly coloured vegetable that is not only delicious but also carries a ton of health benefits for humans and dogs alike. There are certain fruits and vegetables that are unsafe and toxic to dogs but varieties of winter squash veggies are good for them to eat regularly. Butternut squash is one of such varieties. Can dogs eat butternut squash? Here we would be discussing more about the question.
Even though butternut squash is usually considered as mostly a winter or fall veggie, it is quite possible to enjoy it all year long and it is available in several supermarkets even in seasons like spring and summer.
Dogs are nearly impossible to ignore when begging for a treat so you may be caught in a situation where your pet wants a taste of your butternut squash. Naturally, you may be wondering if it is safe for dogs or if it’s better for them to avoid it altogether. The answer is yes, dogs are free to eat butternut squash. It is very healthy and it is full of essential vitamins and minerals. Like all other things, it should be fed to dogs in moderation, preferably plain without adding any extra seasonings and oils.
History of Butternut Squash
The other squash varieties date far back to around 350 million years ago. 13,000 BC was around the time when people actually began to use squash even though they weren’t consuming it because of it was bitter and tough. In addition, some varieties were also poisonous. Rather than eat, they resorted to hollowing out the squash and using it as a bowl or a fish catcher. It was until several hundred years later, around 10, 000BC that people started to cultivate squash for consumption after various experiments and breeding methods to make it tastiest, smaller and softer.
Butternut itself has a strange history as not very much is known about it despite its apparent popularity. It is said to have first been created during the 1940s in Massachusetts by Charles Leggett of Stow. Evidently, this variety hasn’t been around for too long.
Butternut squash was originally created to make a variety of squash that tasted good and was edible because pumpkins were not grown for eating and the other squash varieties present were much too big for the larger percentage of people to buy from markets. Leggett is said to have crossbred gooseneck squash with hubbard squash to make butternut squash. It was given its name because of its smooth butterlike texture and its sweet nutlike taste.
Signs your dog likes butternut squash
Butternut squash is a cheap, healthy, readily accessible vegetable. It is a great choice to include in your pet’s diet. It is most commonly prepared in the cold months and it can be baked or roasted. It can also be prepared by putting the squash in soups. It is not a not idea to cook some extra squash for your dog’s food bowl while preparing it for your own recipes.
Butternut squash has a mild, earthy flavour with a little bit of sweetness in it. After cooking, it becomes soft. This quality makes it a perfect food choice to feed your canine. Butternut squash can also be baked into treats, mashed or cubed alongside their raw food diet. Most dogs love its flavour and texture while some others are not too fond of the texture. If you notice your dog doesn’t like the texture, you can add it to baked treats instead.
Unless your dog exhibits an allergy to it, butternut squash is one of the few human foods you can feed to your dog daily without any adverse health risks or concerns.
Your dogs will most likely eat anything you give to them especially when you combine the new foods with their favourite treats and snacks. If you know your dog well enough, you will be able to tell from their body language if they like butternut squash.
If they eat it without making uncomfortable faces or snarling, it is most likely a sign that they like it. Positive body language signs that show they like it include:
- Licking their lips
- Looking alert
- Wagging their tails
- Pawing at your leg for more
What is the best way to feed your dog butternut squash?
Apart from being tasty, butternut squash has a lot of health benefits for your dog. However, you should only give them the cooked variety without extra sugar or spices because these ingredients are not good for your dog’s health. After cooking butternut squash, keep your dog’s portion aside before adding spices or seasoning to yours.
Do not feed your dog the seeds or the peels of the squash as these parts are tough and are likely to cause intestinal problems and indigestion.
How much butternut squash can dogs eat?
The amount of butternut squash dogs can eat depends mostly on their size. Medium-sized dogs can eat one or two pieces of cooked butternut squash once in a while without any added sugar, fats or salt. Raw squash is not good for their digestive system and should be avoided.
Raw squash is fibrous, exceedingly tough to chew and can be a choking hazard.
Some of the ways you can serve your dog butternut squash include:
- As a topping: you can add cooked butternut squash on top of your dog’s food as a topping.
- As a treat: you can feed your dog cooked butternut squash alone as a treat.
- As an ingredient: you can add butternut squash as a main ingredient to your homemade meals for your dog.
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a good source of a lot of necessary vitamins and minerals that your dog needs such as:
Butternut squash is rich in fibre which makes it a good way to solve your dog’s constipation problems. If your dog has prevalent constipation problems, butternut squash is a good way to get their bowels working fine again.
It can help to put your dog’s bouts of diarrhoea under control because when cooked, it is fibrous and gentle and can calm an upset stomach down.
Vitamin A plays an indispensable role in the diet of all dogs. Vitamin A is important to their immune system and it also improves their vision. Butternut squash is very rich in Vitamin A and introducing it to their diet fulfils their Vitamin A requirements with zero hassle.
Full of antioxidant, butternut squash helps dogs to fight free radicals. These free radicals are molecules that are considered as the origin of various diseases common to mammals.
Butternut squash contains various antioxidants like Beta carotene which can help dogs in fighting body inflammation. This also helps them fight a wide range of diseases from heart disease to hip dysplasia. Butternut squash has also been said to fight cancer in dogs.
There are many phytonutrients present in butternut squash that help your dog’s cell functions, organ functions and facilitate detoxification in organs and the whole body.
Butternut squash has a very low-fat content that makes it a suitable healthy addition to the diet of your dog. The fibre and folate present in the squash serve to improve the dog’s heart functions.
There is also potassium present in this vegetable that keeps your dog’s bones strong and healthy. This makes butternut squash even more appropriate for old dogs.
The nerve functions of your dog’s body is improved because of the high Vitamin B6 content of butternut squash.
Now we know that butternut squash is healthy and perfectly safe for dogs as long as it is cooked. It is quite healthy and should be included in their diet as often as possible, particularly if they seem to like it.
Most dogs will prefer to eat it as a treat or mixed in with their food. This gives their whole meal a much needed nutritious boost especially when they have digestion problems.
You should be careful to avoid adding extra seasonings, spices or fat to it when cooking. These ingredients have proven to be toxic to dogs. There are dogs that will readily take butternut squash as a full meal while others would rather take it mixed in with their food.