Fall will be here in no time and that means pumpkin season. Pumpkins will be everywhere.
It’s the time of year many pumpkin lovers look forward to. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin bars. Pumpkin spice lattes. You name it, and I’m sure it has a pumpkin version in the fall.
But with all that pumpkin around, does that mean you can share it with your dog? Is it good for your dog? And most importantly, to your dog, will they like it?
I can answer two of those really quickly for you, yes you can give your dog pumpkin. I can’t say if your particular dog will like pumpkin, but I can say both Luna and Morgan love to eat pumpkin.
Is pumpkin safe for dogs?
Pumpkin is a safe and healthy treat for dogs. In small amounts, it won’t cause any problems and can actually have some health benefits for your dog.
Just make sure that you only give your dog pumpkin flesh and pumpkin seeds. Don’t give them pumpkin skin or the stems of pumpkins to your dog.
Health benefits of pumpkin for dogs
Pumpkin can have some great health benefits for your dog. Here are just a few of the ways pumpkin can help your pet.
Aids with constipation
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber which can help with constipation in dogs. This is because of the high fiber content helps draw moisture which can help when a dog is constipated.
The next time your dog is having trouble going to the bathroom, try adding a little pumpkin to their diet and see if that helps.
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 on the proper amount of pumpkin to feed your dog each day.
Aids with diarrhea
Pumpkin can also help with diarrhea in dogs. This is because pumpkin is a soluble fiber and it can help to absorb excess water in the intestine which can help firm up stools.
When your dog has diarrhea, always contact your vet as this can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. They will advise you if you can try a home remedy like pumpkin or if your dog needs to be seen urgently.
Pumpkin can also help with weight management and weight loss in dogs. This is because pumpkin is a low-calorie food and it is also high in fiber. The fiber content can help your dog feel fuller after eating and the low-calorie content can help if your dog is trying to lose weight.
When feeding pumpkin to your dog for weight management, always talk to your vet first. They can help you determine the proper amount of pumpkin to feed your dog each day and they can also help monitor your dog’s weight.
It may help with urinary health
Pumpkin seeds have been shown to have some benefits for urinary health in dogs. This is because they contain essential fatty acids and antioxidants that are beneficial to the urinary tract system.
By keeping the urinary tract system healthy, you can help reduce the chances of your dog getting kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Boosts the immune system
Pumpkin is a great source of vitamins A, C, and E which are all beneficial to the immune system. By keeping the immune system strong, your dog will be better able to fight off infection and disease.
Vitamins A, C, and E are also antioxidants that can help to protect cells from damage.
Provides essential nutrients
Along with being a good source of vitamins A, C, and E, pumpkin is also a great source of essential nutrients like iron and potassium.
These nutrients help keep your dog’s body functioning properly and helps to keep them healthy.
Helps with hydration
Pumpkin also has a high moisture content which can help to keep your dog hydrated. This is especially important for those dogs that eat dry food.
Dry food has very little moisture content, that’s how they get it to have such a long shelf life. Since the food has little water, your dog has to get most of their water from other sources.
Most dogs will drink enough on their own as long as they have fresh, clean water available to them throughout the day. But some dogs don’t.
Adding pumpkin into their diet can help to increase their water intake and keep them hydrated.
Can pumpkin be harmful to my dog?
Pumpkin is generally a very safe food for dogs when consumed in appropriate amounts.
Too much pumpkin can cause digestive issues including vomiting and diarrhea.
As long as you give your dog an appropriate amount of pumpkin each day, and they aren’t allergic to it, it is safe to give them.
If you have concerns about giving your dog pumpkin, discuss it with your vet before giving it to them.
How much pumpkin is safe per day?
Pumpkin should be given to your dog 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.
Small dogs shouldn’t have more than a couple of teaspoons depending on how small they are. Large dogs can have a few tablespoons of pumpkin 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 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. Adding such a high-fiber food to your dog’s diet too fast can cause upset stomach and diarrhea or constipation.
By adding plain pumpkin to your dog’s diet slowly, you should be able to avoid any stomach upset.
Also, though most dogs love the taste of pumpkin, there are some that don’t. If your dog doesn’t like it plain you can try mixing a small amount of pumpkin in with their food. This should make it easier to get them used to it.
The proper way to prepare pumpkin for dogs
Dogs can be given both fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin from the grocery store. If you give them canned, make sure it doesn’t have any added sugar, spices, or artificial sweeteners.
Make sure to avoid pumpkin pie filling. The label should say 100% pumpkin.
You can also make your dog pumpkin puree from a raw pumpkin. This is actually very easy to do.
All you need is a small pumpkin, like a pie pumpkin. You don’t want the large jack-o-lantern type.
Wash the outside of the pumpkin well. Cut it in half and remove the stem. Then scoop out the seeds and stringy insides.
Once you have all the seeds and stringy bits out, place the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
Once they are done, allow them to cool and then scoop the flesh into a blender or food processor. Puree until it’s smooth and then you can give some of it to your dog.
Storing pumpkin for your dog
If you have pumpkin left over, you can store it in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for up to three months.
When storing it in the freezer, put it into an airtight container. You can use an ice cube tray and then once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. This way you can thaw out only as much as you need.
What to avoid when giving your dog pumpkin?
Besides avoiding pumpkin pie filling, there are a couple of other things you should avoid.
Don’t give your dog any pumpkins that have been used as decoration. They may have had 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 give your dog the outer shell. It’s not good for them to eat it.
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.
Homemade pumpkin treats for your dog
Pumpkin can also be used to make a tasty treat for your dog. Here are some links to a few recipes you can try.
So, if you’re looking for a healthy way to add some variety to your dog’s diet, pumpkin is a great addition to your dog’s meals. It’s packed with nutrients that are essential for dogs, and it has a host of other benefits too.
If you decide to cook and puree pumpkin for your dog at home, make sure to avoid adding any spices or sugar – just give them the plain old pumpkin!