Does Pumpkin Help Dogs? Yes, Pumpkin is Actually Good for Dogs!
We have done a few posts over the last month or so about treats and dog food toppers that include that beloved fall food, pumpkin. We did this not only because it’s that time of year, but because pumpkin is really yummy and good for your dog!
This Fall Halloween and Thanksgiving superstar is surprisingly a wonder food for dogs! Not only is loaded with fiber and beta-carotene (which is converted to vitamin A), it can actually help your dog if they have constipation or diarrhea. Yep, it can help with both!
Read on to learn how delicious pumpkin can do a lot of great things for your dog on top of it being yummy for the tummy!
Pumpkin Is Safe for Dogs
Pumpkin is safe and beneficial for dogs as long as it is pure pumpkin.
Pumpkin is high in fiber, low in calories, and a good source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), potassium, zinc, vitamin C, and iron.
When feeding your dog pumpkin you want to be sure that it is just plain pumpkin (do not use pumpkin pie filling for your dog).
If it is around Halloween you can choose to purchase a real pumpkin and feed your dog tiny bits of that. Whole fresh pumpkin, including the innards and seeds are fine to feed your dog in moderation. You, of course, want to make sure it’s a fresh pumpkin and not rotten or spoiled in any way – don’t let your dog eat the one that’s been sitting out as a Halloween decoration.
Be sure to prevent your dog from chewing on and eating the skin, stem, and leaves. The skin is especially hard to digest and the leaves and stem are covered in sharp little prickly hairs that will definitely prove irritating to your dog’s mouth and digestive system.
As we were carving our fresh pumpkins this past Halloween we let Maui and our new housemate Emma have a few little pieces as snacks. Emma is a small dog and ended up eating a bit too much pumpkin. It’s a food she is not used to and she ended up vomiting it back up. So, moral to the story is to take care not to feed your dog too much of a new item as it might upset their tummy.
Raw pumpkin can be difficult to digest for some dogs (evidence number 1 – Emma).
If you do choose to purchase a pumpkin rather than feeding it raw, a great option would be to peel off the skin and cook the pumpkin and seeds before feeding it to your dog (do not add any seasonings or salt). Traditionally this has been done in the oven but check out this video of a guy who cooked a tiny little pumpkin in an instant pot!
This looks way easier than cooking pumpkin in an oven! Of course, wait until the pumpkin has cooled then take off the skin and stem before feeding an appropriate amount to your dog. I would still try to separate the seeds and roast them in the oven until dry. They will last a lot longer and pose a much less risk of going bad.
Pumpkin seeds make a great little snack! You can boil or instant pot them then roast them in the oven until dry (do not add any salt or any other seasoning). A super great little crunchy, healthy treat full of flavor and antioxidants!
Any other time of year or if you don’t feel like purchasing and cooking a pumpkin you can buy canned, puréed pumpkin at the grocery store. It’s really just as good and way, way easier!
If you purchase canned pumpkin from the grocery store be sure to check out the ingredient label. You want to purchase pumpkin that only contains pumpkin; you do not want the kind that includes any additional ingredients such as spices, sugar, etc. (like would be used for making pumpkin pie).
Puréed pumpkin is super easy to add to your dog’s regular mealtime food! Just scoop out an appropriate amount of pumpkin from the can and mix it in with your dog’s food. Simple and done!
I don’t know if you’re anything like me but I have a strange compulsion about leaving food in cans once they are open. I prefer to transfer the pumpkin from the can into an airtight plastic storage container. That way the puréed pumpkin stays fresh, is well sealed, and will not get a strange tin can taste.
Good for Constipation or Diarrhea!
Pumpkin is a crazy little miracle for your dog’s digestive system. Pumpkin is an excellent food to help your dog if they have constipation OR diarrhea! Yeah, it can help with both!
Pumpkin has a high fiber and water content, both of which are good for correcting (and preventing) constipation in your dog.
If your dog is suffering from the opposite problem, diarrhea, the fiber in pumpkin can help firm up your dog’s stool and help alleviate the problem.
Keep in mind that if your dog’s constipation or diarrhea is a symptom of an underlying medical condition pumpkin likely will not help.
If you try pumpkin for a few days and see no improvement, definitely get in touch with your veterinarian.
Pumpkin can Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Some dogs tend to get a little heavy at times. Maui gained a lot of weight last winter and I had to put her on a pretty strict diet for quite a while to shed those pounds.
It is hard putting a dog on a diet because they certainly love their food! Plus, those adorable little faces make it nearly impossible to say no to giving them little treats and food!
Feeding your dog pumpkin can help curb their hunger by making them feel full (the miracle of fiber).
Pumpkin is also really low in fat so giving them pumpkin will help fill them up without adding in a lot of calories.
Just substitute a little bit of their regular mealtime food with some puréed pumpkin and you’ll be decreasing their calorie intake but helping them still feel full.
Pumpkin for Urinary Tract Health
Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Many believe these antioxidants and essential fatty acids help support a healthy urinary system.
Good for Skin and Fur
Antioxidants and essential fatty acids are also great for your dog’s skin and fur!
Did you know pumpkin seeds have actually been used as a natural remedy for parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms?!? Yep!
Can Help Your Dog Not Eat His Poop
Yes, I know this topic is a really gross one but many dogs actually will eat their own. GROOOOSS!
This behavior can be caused by several things and my goal is to stick to talking about pumpkin, so I won’t get into the causes. What I will tell you is, that sometimes feeding your dog pumpkin can help make them stop eating their poop!
And an appropriate amount of pumpkin to your dog’s regular food and this supposedly will make their poop taste bad (not sure why dogs don’t think it tastes better already).
Here’s another situation where if the behavior is caused by an underlying medical condition your dog might not be able to stop or control it by eating a bit of pumpkin.
My first golden retriever, Lulu, had a serious medical condition that caused her to be on prednisone nearly all of her too short life. Being on prednisone can make you insatiably hungry and nothing I did could get her to stop eating her poop. But, I believe she may be more of a rare case than the norm.
Trying the pumpkin route is a healthy, natural, and inexpensive way to try and get your dog to stop eating his poop so it’s at least worth a try.
Moderation Is Key
Don’t go overboard in feeding your dog pumpkin or letting them chomp on a whole pumpkin until their heart’s content.
Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is really good, but too much vitamin A is toxic to dogs.
How Much to Feed
One or 2 teaspoons a day for small dogs or two or so tablespoons a day for bigger dogs should be a safe amount and provide the benefits you are looking for.
If you’re unsure or just want to double check with your vet, giving them a call is always a great idea.
Other Ways to Feed Pumpkin
You can also find dog foods and dog treats that incorporate pumpkin into their recipes. These can also be a good way to get pumpkin into your dog’s diet.
Before the end of the month, we will be writing a blog post about how to make homemade pumpkin dog treats! This will be a fantastic way to incorporate pumpkin into your dog’s diet with a fresh, homemade treat!
Be sure to check back for that post and in the meantime … Enjoy the pumpkin!
What’s your favorite way to prepare pumpkin for your dog?
Have any favorite pumpkin treats?
Share with everyone below in the comments section!