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Pumpkin seems to be everywhere, especially once fall starts to arrive. Since it’s everywhere you may wonder if you can give it to your dog. And whether it’s good or bad for them.
Well, I’m happy to say that yes, you can give your dog pumpkin. And yes, it’s healthy for them (and for you too).
Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is high in fiber and has a high water content. This, along with other nutrients, provides several health benefits for your dog.
Aids with constipation
Giving a dog that is constipated a small amount of pumpkin each day can help with constipation. The fiber content helps draw moisture which can help when a dog is constipated.
You should call your vet prior to trying any home remedies when your dog is constipated. Your vet will know if your dog needs to be seen for urgent care or if you can try a home remedy first. They can also advise you with the proper amount of pumpkin to feed your dog each day.
Aids with diarrhea
Pumpkin can also help a dog that has diarrhea. The best thing to do if your dog has diarrhea is to first check with your vet to rule out a health issue that may be causing the diarrhea. Parasites are a common cause of diarrhea in dogs, along with many other health issues, and need to be treated by a vet.
If the vet says there isn’t a medical cause for the diarrhea, they may recommend trying pumpkin and will advise you as to how much to feed your dog.
Helps with weight loss
If your dog is overweight and needs to lose a few pounds, pumpkin may be a good way to help. It’s low in calories and fat and high in fiber which may help your dog feel full with less of their normal food.
May help with urinary health
Pumpkins have healthy oils that may help with the urinary health of your dog. If your dog has issues with urinary incontinence, a little pumpkin a day may help.
Has several beneficial nutrients
Along with being high in fiber, pumpkin also has beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium, and iron. It also has a high moisture content, which can be good to add to dry dog food.
How much pumpkin is safe per day?
Pumpkin is safe for dogs in small quantities. Since dogs vary in size so much, from just a few pounds to well over a hundred pounds, the amount they can have varies.
A small dog shouldn’t have more than a teaspoon or two depending on how small they are. A large dog could have a few tablespoons a day.
The only way to know for sure how much to give your dog is to check with your vet. They can tell you based on your specific dog how much they can have.
And always check with your vet before introducing a new food to a dog that has health issues.
Best way to introduce pumpkin to your dog’s diet
As with any new food, it’s best to introduce pumpkin slowly to your dog. Since pumpkin is high in fiber, adding it too fast can cause stomach upset and diarrhea or constipation.
If you add it slowly, you should be able to avoid any stomach upset.
Also, though most dogs love pumpkin, some don’t. If your dog doesn’t like it, adding it in slowly makes it easier to hide in their food.
Proper way to prepare pumpkin for dogs
It’s best to feed your dog cooked pumpkin. You can either buy canned pumpkin or make it yourself.
If you buy canned pumpkin, make sure you get 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Check the label to make sure you got the right pumpkin.
When making it yourself, roast the pumpkin as you would for yourself, you can find instructions here, and then puree it. These instructions say to oil and season it, but for your dog, skip this step.
Storing pumpkin for your dog
Whether you give your dog canned pumpkin or pumpkin you prepared yourself, you will have way more than they can eat before it spoils.
Instead of wasting the rest of the can, or possibly giving your dog spoiled pumpkin, store it in the freezer.
The best way to do this is to freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then you can take out one cube to thaw at a time and should be able to use it before it spoils, even with a little dog.
What to avoid when giving your dog pumpkin?
Besides avoiding pumpkin pie filling, there are a couple of things you should avoid.
Avoid any pumpkins that have been used as decoration. They may have things put on them, like paint, glue, glitter, shellac, etc., that are harmful to your dog. They also may have bacteria or mold growing on them.
Don’t feed the outer shell. It’s not good for dogs to eat.
Also, avoid any pumpkin that seems to be rotting. If you wouldn’t eat it or feed it to your kids, don’t feed it to your dog.
Treats to make with pumpkin
You can feed pumpkin to your dog plain or add it to their food. But you can also make treats with it.
You could make these no-bake peanut butter and pumpkin treats for your dog.
There’s also these soft peanut butter and pumpkin dog treats that work great as a training treat. What better way to train your dog than to treat with something healthy?