Pumpkin is a food that is high in fiber and is also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, E, and C, potassium, and iron. Year-round availability, plain canned pumpkin makes it an excellent addition to your dog’s first aid kit.
There are many ways that pumpkin might improve digestion. By absorbing water, the soluble fiber in pumpkin gives your dog’s stools more volume. Additionally, fiber fermentation results in healthy fatty acids that decrease the pH of the large intestines, encourage the absorption of sodium and water, and provide energy to cells.
Fiber serves as a prebiotic as well. Prebiotics differ from probiotics in several ways. In the intestines, they promote the growth or activity of these helpful bacteria while preventing the formation of dangerous bacteria. Fiber achieves this by bringing the essential nutrients these bacteria require and bringing down the pH level.
Some dog diarrhea cases may be helped by all of these characteristics. Veterinarians may advise feeding either a food high in prebiotics or one that is highly digestible, depending on what is causing your dog’s diarrhea (fiber). Probiotics, which are supplements that contain live beneficial bacteria, may occasionally also be advised. For these probiotics, pumpkin serves as a prebiotic enhancer.
Which type of pumpkin ought I to buy for my dog?
It’s pumpkin spice season, but is this seasonal favorite safe for Fido? Kind of. In fact, dogs love pumpkin—just not the spices that go with it! However, there are some restrictions when it comes to offering pumpkin to your dog. Continue reading to learn more, and remember to speak with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns. Since every dog is unique, so too may be their requirements and sensitivities.
What Are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs?
- Pumpkin is an excellent way to calm and regulate a dog’s digestive tract, offering relief from both diarrhea and constipation. You may add pumpkin to your dog’s food or dog treats.
- If your dog suffers diarrhea, pumpkin’s fiber content can help make his feces more substantial and regular, and it also includes prebiotic characteristics that control the development of healthy bacteria in your dog’s intestines (and curb the growth of bad stuff).
- On the other hand, adding pumpkin to your dog’s food can aid if it has constipation. Pumpkin can be used as a mild laxative in your dog’s food.
- Vitamin A, according to Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS, is essential for the growth of the brain and the eyes and is abundant in pumpkin. Puppies receive all-around immune support when the antioxidants in pumpkin are coupled with vitamins C, E, and other nutrients.
- Beta carotene, potassium, and vitamin E are all abundant in pumpkin. According to Dr. Claudine Sievert, vitamin E is a crucial antioxidant that protects against the free radicals that can lead to aberrant cell growth.
- Additionally, it keeps your dog’s internal organs healthy and functioning (as well as promotes overall heart health). The health of your dog’s eyes and skin is preserved by carotenoids. Iron helps to maintain your dog’s hemoglobin levels, while potassium is essential for keeping your dog’s muscles healthy.
- Due to its high fiber and low calorie content, pumpkin can also aid with weight control.
But keep in mind that a lot of the effectiveness of feeding pumpkin to dogs also depends on what is causing their digestive problems. Consult your veterinarian if giving your dog pumpkin doesn’t seem to be helping your baby reclaim himself or herself.
How Much Pumpkin to Give Your Dog
You can definitely have too much pumpkin, just like with everything else.
- One to four tablespoons of pumpkin added to your dog’s usual food is good if you want to treat their diarrhea or constipation with it. However, start out with a small amount and work your way up to larger amounts to make sure your dog doesn’t have any sensitivity or adverse effects. According to Dr. Woodnutt: “Dogs with persistent, mild diarrhea benefit from eating more fiber. However, consuming too much fiber can also result in diarrhea, so exercising caution is advised. Dr. Leslie Brooks, DVM, a BetterPet advisor, advises against using specific amounts “In cases of soft stools or diarrhea, we typically advise dog owners to give canned pumpkin, but only in small amounts—no more than 1 tablespoon for a large/giant breed dog or 1 to 2 teaspoons for a small to medium breed dog—once or twice a day.
- To avoid dehydration, make sure your dog drinks lots of water if you add pumpkin or any other fiber-rich foods to their diet.
- When determining how much pumpkin your dog can have, go by weight: little dogs can take around a teaspoon per day, while large dogs can handle about a tablespoon.
- Pumpkins are a good source of vitamin A, but excessive amounts of the vitamin can be harmful to dogs, so when in doubt, err on the side of caution and give Fido fewer calories.
Consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure of how much pumpkin your dog can eat without getting sick.
Keep Your Pumpkin Plain
Skip the pie filling, spices, and seasonings that we frequently associate with delicious human delicacies since pumpkin is best fed pure to dogs.
- In actuality, canned pumpkin has higher nutritional value than fresh pumpkin. The reason for this is because fresh pumpkin has more water in it than canned pumpkin does.
- Many pumpkin-based foods and recipes, including pies, pie fillings, cookies, cakes, syrups, and spice blends for pumpkin pie, can actually make your dog very unwell. These ingredients include spices like nutmeg and cinnamon as well as chemicals, fillers, and added sugars.”
- According to Dr. Sievert, cinnamon can cause diarrhea and vomiting. “Large doses (often found in pumpkin spice flavorings) might result in low blood sugar and liver problems. Myristicin, a toxin found in nutmeg, can make your dog disoriented, hypertensive, and have seizures. Ginger may upset your stomach.
- Make sure you thoroughly read labels and review the components list: Only get canned pumpkin pie filling devoid of xylitol because it can be fatal to pets.
Your dog is safe with simple canned pumpkin that hasn’t had any additional sweeteners, additives, or fillers, as well as plain fresh pumpkin and pumpkin flesh.
Dr. Woodnutt advises against using canned pumpkin that is sugar-free. She told us that the primary issue is with sugar-free canned pumpkin since it might contain xylitol. The best course of action is to stay away from all of these except 100% pumpkin because the components in all of these vary with time (and our knowledge of toxins also grows).
Steer Clear of Some Pumpkin Parts
There are variations among pumpkin components. Observe the following guidelines if you give your dog fresh pumpkin:
- Avoid eating pumpkin pulp, which is the stringy, mushy portion in the core.
- As indigestion and upset stomach are typically the problems you are trying to treat by giving your dog pumpkin in the first place, feeding them pumpkin skin and stems might exacerbate these problems.
Carved Pumpkins Are a No-Go
Don’t feed your dog an old Jack o’lantern as a treat! The bacteria and mold that can grow on carved pumpkins, especially ones that have been left outside for some time, can make your beloved pet rather ill (which is scary).
How to Prepare Pumpkin for Your Dog
If you want to offer your dog simple, fresh pumpkin, bake it first until it is mushy. Before serving, take out the pumpkin seeds and let the dish cool. You may eat canned pumpkin puree straight out of the can, and you can use this simple method to make your own pumpkin puree. But let’s face it—for your furry child, you’ll probably want to turn the volume up a notch. Using items you may purchase at the grocery store or already have at home, Dr. Sievert provided us the following recipe for homemade pumpkin treats:
- 2.5 cups oat or whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
- 3 teaspoons of almond or peanut butter
All of these ingredients should be melted in the oven, combined, formed into little cookies, and then baked for 30 minutes at 180F.
Save the Seeds
Oils found in pumpkin seeds are excellent for your dog’s urinary system and may aid with canine incontinence. Ask your vet if adding pumpkin seeds to your dog’s diet can support urinary health if your dog urinates a little bit too much. Omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory characteristics and may aid in kidney stone removal, are also abundant in the seeds.
It’s crucial to properly prepare pumpkin seeds if you decide to feed your dog.
- In general, veterinarians advise using raw, organic, unsalted pumpkin seeds that have first been roasted, peeled, and ground.
- It can be risky to give your dog only plain, uncooked pumpkin seeds because they spoil quickly. Your pumpkin seeds’ shelf life can be extended by a month by cleaning and roasting them for about an hour at 350°F. This will also enhance their flavor.
- To reduce the chance of choking, ground the roasted pumpkin seeds before putting them in your dog’s food.
- Any leftover pumpkin seeds should be packed in bags to keep them fresh.
How to Store Pumpkin for Your Dog
Most likely, you have some pumpkin left over. No issue! Here’s how to store your surplus supplies:
- Pumpkin puree can be frozen; if you want to turn it into frozen desserts, freeze it in an ice cube tray to get individual servings.
- Put the remaining pumpkin in an airtight container and keep it chilled if you plan to use it fairly soon.
Of course, at Pumpkin, we have a strong preference for pumpkin. Make an appointment with your veterinarian if you are unsure whether pumpkin is suitable for your pet or if your dog is experiencing digestive problems that pumpkin cannot resolve, particularly because Pumpkin pet insurance covers diagnosis and treatment for some digestive ailments.
Which canned pumpkin is suitable for dogs?
In a similar vein, there are a few considerations to make before opening that can of pumpkin and sprinkling some on your dog’s meal.
First of all, greater fiber results in more poop. Be ready to give your dog longer walks or allow him or her go outside more regularly as you determine the amount that is perfect for your dog.
The healthiest and safest pumpkin product to give your dog is plain canned pumpkin (also known as pumpkin puree). In comparison to other options you could purchase at the grocery store, it will have fewer sugars and additives.
Although fresh pumpkin can be used, it often does not have as many nutrients as canned pumpkin. This is because it has a lot more water than pumpkin in cans. Furthermore, you must be very watchful to avoid using rotten or moldy fresh pumpkin. It might make your dog ill (or sicker if you are trying to treat diarrhea or constipation). Please make sure your dog only eats the fruit if you offer him fresh pumpkin. An upset stomach could be brought on by the pumpkin stem and seeds.
Using pumpkin pie mix is never a good idea is the most crucial thing to keep in mind. The other components in this medication are frequently hazardous to your dog. The most worrisome of these is xylitol, a synthetic sweetener that is particularly harmful to dogs. Dogs and xylitol don’t mix. Hypoglycemia, often known as low blood sugar, can result from it. Read the label to be safe if you are unsure whether the pumpkin you are purchasing contains xylitol or not.
Can I feed grocery store pumpkin to my dog?
Pumpkins can be consumed in a variety of ways by your dog. Your dog will enjoy a variety of pumpkin-flavored dog treats, canned pumpkin dog food, pumpkin vitamins, and raw or canned pumpkin.
Regular canned pumpkins from your neighborhood grocery shop can be given to your dog. It’s best to avoid giving your dog any pumpkin pie filling or canned pumpkin that has been flavored with additional spices and sweets.
The healthier canned pumpkin is for your dog, the fewer additives and ingredients there are. Pumpkins in cans can be kept for three to four days in the refrigerator after being opened.
Additionally, you can offer cooked homemade pumpkin to your dog. Many recipes can be found online that explain how to bake a pumpkin and remove the insides to make a delightful delicacy. Dogs can eat raw pumpkin seeds without any issues.
Never include salt, oil, or sugar while preparing homemade pumpkin treats for your dog. Although you might not find raw pumpkin to be as tasty, dogs will still enjoy the taste.
Is it okay to feed pumpkin to dogs every day?
Here are some suggestions for including this superfood in your dog’s regular diet. Even something as healthy as pumpkin ought to be a treat given to your dog in moderation.
- After training, give your dog a spoonful of cooked pumpkin as a reward, or stuff it into a Kong toy for hours of entertainment.
- When making homemade dog treats, use in place of butter or other fats.
- You can roast pumpkin seeds for treats without adding any oils, salt, or spices, or you can grind them into a fine powder and sprinkle it on your dog’s food.
- Dogs with high vitamin A levels may become toxic and have other nutritional deficiencies as a result of their inability to absorb other nutrients, such as protein. Call your veterinarian if you see any signs of pain in your dog, such as not eating, vomiting, being lethargic, or other behaviors.
- While pumpkin might soothe an upset stomach, its high fiber content can also cause diarrhea, which is far worse. Start with a tiny amount of cooked pumpkin and increase it no more than 1 teaspoon at a time (per 10 lbs. of body weight). The maximum daily serving size for small dogs may be 1/2 teaspoon, whilst large dogs can comfortably consume 1-4 tablespoons daily.
- If you’re preparing your own pumpkin pulp, keep it straightforward and avoid adding any additional salt or spices. When purchasing canned pumpkin, make sure it is pure pumpkin rather than pie filling, which is sometimes loaded with chemicals, spices, sweeteners, and occasionally Xylitol, a substance that can be fatal to dogs.
- Although eating raw pumpkin is not harmful, it can upset your stomach. Remove all of the stems, leaves, and outer skin and peel.
- Only give pumpkin in very little amounts as a treat to pups and small or underweight dogs.
- Off-limits to all dogs? Pies, pastries, cookies, and lattes that are loaded with sugar, calories, and spices like nutmeg.
Can I feed canned pumpkin to my dog?
100% Pure Pumpkin, Libby’s, 15 oz Can (Pack of 6) (Misc.) If your dog likes dry dog food, we recommend this thicker pumpkin puree, which is a favorite for both flavor and texture. This is because the meal won’t become soggy. You might even eat it by itself as a snack.