Pumpkin Season… for Dogs? 5 Health Benefits & How to Give Pumpkin to Your Pup
It’s pumpkin season! You’ve seen it flooding your social media feeds, all over commercials, and advertised in stores. Believe it or not, pumpkins can be used for much more than pumpkin spice lattes and Jack-o-lanterns. They’re delicious and healthy for your dog as well! There are plenty of ways to use the gourd during the fall season—or year-round.
1. Pumpkin for Digestive Health
Pumpkin can do great things for your dog’s digestive system, especially if she’s suffering from diarrhea or constipation. It helps with both! Fiber rich, pumpkin contains vitamins A, E, and C and also includes potassium and iron. Do be careful how much pumpkin you give your dog; too much vitamin A can be dangerous. A couple teaspoons a day is best.
Dog diarrhea could be a sign of a more serious issue, especially if constant or bloody. Constipation could also point to problems, such as a foreign obstruction. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog is dealing with either type of bowel movements. If your pup is cleared by a doctor or the problem is because of a change in diet, a few teaspoons of canned pumpkin can be truly beneficial.
2. Pumpkin for Urinary Health
Pumpkin is a wonder for your dog’s urinary health. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, can get rid of kidney stones, and the oil from the seed and gourd can assist with incontinence.
3. Pumpkin to Deworm Your Dog
No dog (or owner) wants to deal with worms, but if you do, stock your pantry with pumpkin. The gourd’s seeds provide relief! They’re often used as a natural remedy for tapeworms and roundworms. The omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory effects.
4. Pumpkin for a Glossy Coat
Those same fatty acids can do wonders for your pup’s coat, nourishing it and leaving it shinier than before pumpkin season!
5. Pumpkin for Weight Loss
If your dog is on the heavy side, and you need to reduce the amount of food she eats each day, replace the missing food with pumpkin to ensure she finishes with a full—healthy—stomach.
Instead of using fatty treats, try pumpkin substitutes. The gourd is 90% water, which provides an excellent extra source of hydration.
How to Give Pumpkin to Your Dog
Choose Canned Over Fresh
While both canned and fresh pumpkin can be beneficial to your dog, plain canned pumpkin has more vitamins, fiber content, and nutrients. This is due to the high water content in fresh pumpkin. It’s also easier to get canned pumpkin, as it’s sold year-round in stores!
Crush Up the Pumpkin Seeds
If you want to give your dog pumpkin seeds, you can simply crush and grind them into your dog’s food. They can eat whole seeds, but these should be fed one at a time and kept to a minimum.
Seeds can go bad quickly, so you have two options:
- Use them fast, or
- Roast them.
Roasting them allows them to last about 30 days. Throw bad seeds away, as they can be toxic.
Never Give Your Dog Pumpkin Pie
Delicious as it is for humans, never give your dog pumpkin pie. Some pumpkin pie filling contains xylitol, a toxic ingredient for dogs. Always stick to canned or fresh varieties, or seeds.
Don’t Add Any “Flavoring”
While you may like to add things to your pumpkin dishes, keep it as simple as possible for your pup. Do not add salt to the seeds or pumpkin, but also avoid spices, flavors, and preservatives.
Getting Creative with Pumpkin for Dogs
While 1 to 2 teaspoons of pumpkin (or tablespoons for big guys) is best for dogs, you may want to mix it up a little, so pumpkin season is fun for them too!
Mix cooked pumpkin, banana, plain unsweetened yogurt, and peanut butter together. Put this concoction into one of your dog’s stuffable toys for her to lick out!
Using the same ingredients as the pumpkin filler above, freeze the mix. This is a delicious cold treat on a hot summer day and keeps your dog occupied for longer.
A Dinner Topper
Mix pumpkin puree or mashed pumpkin with plain yogurt, chicken or beef broth, rice, and water. Pour it over your dog’s dinner to add a bit of flavor!
A Hollow Pumpkin
You don’t want to give your pup an entire pumpkin, but a hollow pumpkin can provide hours of fun. Add some treats or food, and it becomes a puzzle for your pup to enjoy with a reward at the end.
Who says pumpkin season is only for humans? Pumpkin is for the dogs! It can be an absolutely delicious and beneficial treat for your pet, encouraging better hydration, fur, skin, and weight. There are endless possibilities for this treat when it comes to your dog, and she’s sure to enjoy it year-round.
While adding pumpkin and pumpkin seeds can provide wonderful health benefits for your dog, if your pet is experiencing any medical problems, it’s important to take her to a veterinarian before giving her this treat. You should also ask your vet if it’s okay for your pup to have pumpkin if she suffers from diabetes.
If you have questions about the benefits of pumpkins for your dog, schedule an appointment with us! Call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387.