Why feed a dog pumpkin
You may be aware of the many benefits that pumpkin has as an addition to your dog’s diet. Alternatively, you may be thinking why on earth you would give a dog pumpkin.
The numerous benefits of pumpkin in your dog’s diet include
Natural diarrhea cure – the soluble fiber in pumpkin help absorb the excess water, resulting in a firmer stool. Consult your vet if diarrhea continues more than 24 hours or they have only symptoms or signs of illness.
Natural constipation cure – the high water and insoluble fiber content in the pumpkin will help add bulk and soften the stool. This acts as a natural laxative and makes the stool easier to pass.
Keep them regular – even if your dog doesn’t have diarrhea or constipation, the fiber in pumpkin will help keep them regular and promote bowel health.
Weight loss benefits – pumpkin is 90 % water and along with the fiber which can help to make your dog feel fuller for longer. It is also low in calories. Just replace part of their regular food with either canned or cooked pumpkin.
Urinary health – the oils in pumpkin flesh and seeds are believed to support urinary health. Dogs with urinary incontinence can benefit from a little pumpkin in their diet.
Shiny coat and healthy skin – pumpkin is high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. It also contains zinc. This helps keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy,
Natural dewormer – pumpkin is a natural way to rid and prevent worms and internal parasites in dogs.
Low cost – pumpkin can be a good way to reduce the cost of your dog’s food.
Supplements a raw diet – one of the drawbacks of feeding a dog a raw food diet only is that they are not getting the fiber they need. Although carbohydrates are not considered essential nutrients in a dog’s diet they can play a critical role in your dog’s body. To learn more about carbs in a dog’s diet here.
Vitamins and minerals – pumpkins contain many vitamins and minerals including
- Vitamin A helps maintain the immune system and vision.
- Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant and enzymatic activity regulator.
- Alpha-carotene is an antioxidant that prevents damage to cells.
- Calcium supports cytoplasmic functions and mineralizes bone and teeth.
- Iron contributes to cellular respiration, oxidation, and hemoglobin production.
- Lutein supports the health of the eyes, skin, and coat.
- Vitamin C is a cofactor for enzymatic reactions and collagen synthesis.
Dogs don’t require Vitamin C in their diet. They are able to produce Vitamin C in their livers themselves. However, there are many benefits to providing additional Vitamin C in a dog’s diet. For more on whether to supplement your dog with Vitamin C see here.
What parts of pumpkin should you NOT feed your dog
Although pumpkin is healthy and safe for your dog to eat there are some parts of the pumpkin you are best not to feed your dog. The stem is coarse and can be rough on the digestive tract. The skin may not digest that well either. Don’t feed the soft gooey pulp material in the center.
If feeding your dog canned pumpkin, ensure it is doesn’t contain additives, fillers, spices, or sugar. The pumpkin pie fillers often do. Also, make sure that the pumpkin is fresh and not moldy. If you have a Jack-O-Lantern leftover from Halloween don’t give it to your dog. It may have mold and bacteria growing on it which can make your dog ill.
Although you can feed your dog raw pumpkin, it is best to cook it. Raw pumpkin is not as easy to digest for your dog.
How much pumpkin should you feed your dog daily
When first introducing pumpkin to your dog’s diet, start slowly. Monitor the firmness and frequency of the stools and any effects on the activity of the GI tract. A recommended guide is
Adult small and medium dogs – 1/2 a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon daily
Adult large dogs – 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons pumpkin daily.
For pumpkin seeds, suggest ed quantity is
Small dogs 1/8 teaspoon daily, medium dogs – 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon daily, .large dogs – 1/2 to 1 teaspoon daily.
If you have any doubts, consult your vet.
How to cook pumpkin for dogs
Fresh pumpkin can be baked or boiled until soft. Allow the pumpkin to cool before feeding. Pumpkin will spoil if left at room temperature for too long. If you are going to be using it up quickly you can refrigerate it. Alternatively, you can freeze it in a fresher safe container or even an ice cube tray. Simply defrost the amount you will need each day.
Can you feed a dog pumpkin seeds
Yes, pumpkin seeds have many of the same benefits as pumpkin itself plus some additional ones. Pumpkins seeds
- have anti-inflammatory properties
- contain vitamin E (good antioxidant)
- are good for heart health
- essential fatty acids to make the coat shine
- make a healthy low-calorie training treat
- natural dewormer for dogs
- promote urinary health.
If feeding your dog dried pumpkin seeds make sure they are natural and don’t have additives or salt added.
Frequency asked questions about feeding a dog pumpkin
Can you give your dog too much pumpkin
Too much pumpkin can result in destabilization of the GI tract. Pumpkin is a natural laxative. Remember to err on the side of caution and check with your vet if you are unsure. Start with a small quantity, and increase the amount as needed. Ensure that your dog always has plenty of fresh, clean water.
What dosage of pumpkin for dog diarrhea
For the quantity of pumpkin to use, see the guideline above
Is pumpkin good for constipation in dogs
Yes, pumpkin is high water content (90%) and contains insoluble fiber which will help add bulk and soften the stool. This acts as a natural laxative and makes the stool easier to pass.
It also is a natural cure for diarrhea. The soluble fiber in pumpkin helps absorb the excess water, resulting in a firmer stool.
How much canned pumpkin should I feed my dog
The quantity of canned pumpkin is the same as cooked pumpkin. For feeding guidelines, see above.
In conclusion – should you feed a dog pumpkin every day
Feeding pumpkin as a supplement to your dog’s diet has numerous benefits. It is full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These include vitamins A, C, E plus iron and zinc.
Pumpkin can be used as a natural cure for both diarrhea and constipation. It is also ideal if you are wanting to reduce your dog’s weight. Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber.
When introducing pumpkin to your dog’s diet, start off slowly. Monitor the firmness of their stools and slowly increase the quantity if all is well.
Let us know in the comments if you feed your dog pumpkin.