Pumpkin is one of life’s superfoods and it also great for making those silly but scary Halloween faces. So is pumpkin good for dogs and if it is what are its benefits? This article will give you all the information you need to know about pumpkin for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?
The simple answer is yes! Pumpkin is incredibly nutritious and has a wide range of benefits for dogs that we are going to talk about later; however, not all pumpkins are created equal. Try not to feed your dog old, rotten pumpkin and definitely don’t feed them that Halloween pumpkin head that you have had hanging around for the past week. This is because pumpkin that has been sitting around for a while can collect a whole bunch of bacteria that can make your dog sick.
Fresh pumpkin is what your dog needs and you can serve it to them in either raw or cooked forms.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
So pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat, but what about pumpkin seeds? Pumpkin seeds are perfectly fine for dogs and have a number of different benefits for them. They should be cleaned before giving them to dogs and make sure they are not salted. Try not to feed your dog raw seeds as well, make sure you roast them for a period of time before giving them to your dog.
If your dog doesn’t enjoy them as a treat, you can grind them in a food blender or a coffee grinder and add them to their meals. About a quarter of a teaspoon per 4.5kg (10lbs) of bodyweight once or twice a day.
Fresh, raw pumpkin seeds will go rancid very quickly, so make sure you either roast them or seal and store them correctly. Pumpkin seeds that are not stored properly can become toxic, but ones that are sealed correctly should last around six months.
Is Pumpkin from a Can Good for Dogs?
Canned pumpkin is perfectly safe for dogs to eat and contains the same health giving nutrients as fresh pumpkin. It is great as a treat for dogs and the puree form it comes in can be easily mixed into your dog’s dinner.
When searched for canned pumpkin for dogs, always make it is organic, with no extra sugar or salt added. Also check there are no extra additives or spices as these can irritate your dog’s stomach.
Do Dogs Even Like Pumpkin?
Most dogs will absolutely love a bit of pumpkin added to their diet as either part of their dinner or as treats. A small percentage of dogs may not like the taste, however, we have found our two Labs go crazy over it, but then again, they are Labradors.
Why Is Pumpkin So Good for Dogs?
Pumpkin flesh and its seeds have a wide range of benefits for dogs. We’ve created a list of all the great benefits of pumpkin below:
Pumpkin for Dogs with Diarrhea
Diarrhea isn’t the nicest thing to talk about and many dogs suffer from it. Increasing your dog’s fibre intake will help their diarrhea problem, and make dog ownership much less smelly. Pumpkin flesh contains soluble fibre, which is great for slowing down your pooch’s digestion system, while absorbing a bunch of water.
Canned pumpkin or pumpking puree is also great for dogs with diarrhea, so don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on the real deal.
How Much Pumpkin for Dogs with Diarrhea?
Give your dog a couple of tablespoons of pureed pumpkin to your dog’s regular diet or if you have fresh pumpkin, dice it into small pieces and give them a couple of those. This is not an exact science, so don’t worry too much about the amounts; however, remember that smaller dogs should have a bit less and larger dogs will need more.
Pumpkin for Dogs with Constipation
On the opposite end of the spectrum to above, some dogs just can’t get it out. Dog constipation again is quite a common problem and pumpkin is a great treatment for it. It’s high fibre and water content are not only great for bulking up your dog’s stools, but also preventing constipation. Pumpkin stimulates your dog’s colon wall and promotes the contraction of the muscles that are responsible for getting your dog’s digestive system moving.
Pumpkin Seeds Fight Worms
Pumpkin seeds have been found to be an incredible, natural deworming agent that fights against tapeworms and other intestinal parasites in dogs. They contain an amino acid called cucurbitin, which paralyzes tapeworms and other intestinal parasites.
Pumpkin Seeds Are a Great Source Of Essential Nutrients
The seeds of pumpkins are not only great for fighting worms and parasites in your dog’s digestive system, they are also a great source of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fibre.
Pumpkin Can Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Just like humans, some dogs need to lose a bit of weight and pumpkin is a great food for that. Pumpkin is an excellent low-fat treat for dogs or as part of their main meal. It’s high fibre content will keep your dog full all day long.
Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs Urinary Health
Oils that are found within pumpkin seeds and flesh are thought to support a healthy urinary system. Dogs who suffer from urinary incontinence may find that a little bit of pumpkin in their diet will help them a lot.
It’s Great for Your Dog’s Coat
Pumpkin has a load of zinc, fatty acids and antioxidants that will keep your dog’s coat and skin in perfect condition.
It Has a Whole Lot of Other Vitamins, Minerals and Other Important Nutrients
Pumpkin is a great source of many important nutrients. We’ve listed some of them below:
- Vitamin C – pumpkin contains about 11mg of vitamin C per one cup. Vitamin C is incredibly important for the immune system. It is also good for dogs who have joint issues, as they need more vitamin C than they can produce naturally.
- Potassium – essential for your dog’s muscles and recovery after hard exercise.
- Vitamin A – the flesh of pumpkins contains vitamin A, which is important for your dog’s vision health.
- Beta-carotene – pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which is good for your dog’s aging process and has been linked to preventing some forms of cancer.
- Fibre – important for your dog’s digestive system.
- Zinc – Good for their coats and skin
- Iron – iron deficiency can lead to red blood cells not developing as they should be, which can lead to anaemia.
Pumpkin Contains a Lot of Water
Pumpkin is made up of about 90% water and is great for dogs who are usually restricted to dry kibble biscuits. Kibble can require increased secretion of pancreatic enzymes and gastric acid, which can have a dehydrating effect on your dog.
Supplying your dog with enough water is an important part of their health. If your dog doesn’t drink much water during the day, feeding them pumpkin is an excellent way of getting them hydrated.
How to Feed Pumpkin to Your Dog?
Pumpkin can be easily added to your dog’s diet in a number of ways. You can give them a couple of small pieces a day, or you can mix a couple of teaspoons of it into their food, depending on your dog’s size.
Pumpkin Dog Treats
While pumpkin is a great addition to your dog’s regular meals, it can also be excellent in the form of treats. You can use pumpkin puree to make your own pumpkin dog treats or you can sometimes buy some pre-made ones from the pet store.
The seeds of pumpkins are also an excellent way to treat your dog. Take a few of them when you go out for dog walks or when you want to do some training.
Things to Watch Out For
- Despite being one of the best things that you can feed your dog, there are a few things you need to remember. Never feed pumpkin that has added spices, flavours or preservatives to your dog as these can cause irritation to your dog’s digestive system.
- The stem and leaves of pumpkins can be an irritant to dogs, as they are covered in a load of tiny, sharp hairs.
- Dogs should never eat the shell of a pumpkin or gourd. During Halloween, decorative pumpkins are often coated in things like glitter, glue and other coatings that are toxic to dogs.
- Avoid giving your dog raw pumpkin seeds and make sure they pumpkin is fresh.
Are There Any Side Effects of Pumpkin for Dogs?
While pumpkin is great for your dog, make sure you introduce it into their diet slowly. Giving your dog too much pumpkin straight off the bat can actually give your dog diarrhea. A sudden increase in fibre can cause issues with your dog’s digestive system that can lead to bloating, cramping and intestinal gas.
Introducing pumpkin at a slow rate will help your dog’s stomach adjust to the increased fibre.
Wrapping Up Pumpkin for Dogs
Pumpkin has so many benefits for both humans and dogs alike. We feel it is one of the best foods you can give to your dog and we find our two Labs absolutely love it. It’s great as part of their normal meal, or as a treat and has so many health benefits.
We’ve found a definite improvement in our dog’s stools when we feed it to them, so we can back up the claim that it helps with things like diarrhea. Remember to introduce it slowly into your dog’s diet and always give them fresh pumpkin or pumpkin in a can that is in date.