As we welcome the cooler fall temperatures and the changing of the leaves (well, depending on where you are), we’re reminded of all the seasonal Fall foods that fill our gardens and local farmers markets. And while many of us tend to think of those large, round specimens as perfect only for carving or for pie, we’re all about pumpkin for dogs!
Not only is pumpkin easy to add to the diet (and yes, we’ll tell you how in a minute), it’s also packed with nutrition and beneficial for overall health.
5 Reasons We Love Pumpkin for Dogs
These are some of the top reasons we’re all about pumpkin for dogs!
If nothing else, pumpkin is a nutrient-rich food, providing a lot of valuable nutrition in each and every bite. That nutrition includes:
- Vitamin A (beta-carotene)
- Vitamin C
Together these vitamins and minerals are beneficial for skin, eye, heart, muscle, and immune health, among other things!
2. Digestive Aid
This is probably our favorite reason to embrace pumpkin for dogs. Knowing that, it should probably be top of the list, but there’s nothing wrong with #2!
For anyone – dog, cat, human, horse, giraffe… a normal poop is a good poop. When things start to get too soft, or too hard, that’s when ou know you might need to step up to get things back on track.
And pumpkin, well, it can do that in a major way!
Pumpkin is very gentle, yet highly effective, digestive aid. The high fiber content in pumpkin makes it ideal for firming up loose stool, but on the flip side, it also helps sooth the digestive tract and east things up if your pup is constipated. It’s like magic from Mother Nature, seriously!
3. Low Calorie
Whether you’re trying to help your pup lose weight, or you’re just looking for healthy, low calorie ingredients to use in your homemade treats, pumpkin is a winner.
Here’s one we love: Banana Pumpkin Pops.
Bananas are packed with healthy vitamins, and they’re also good for digestive upset because of the fibre content. Pair them with the pumpkin and they’re even better! Just keep in mind the sugar content – don’t feed the whole tray at once!
What you need:
- Bananas (as many as you want to make)
- Pure pumpkin puree
Take your bananas, peel them, then cut them into good sized slices. Lay them on a baking sheet, then make a small hole in the middle of each slice, and fill with pumpkin puree. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for about an hour, then store in an airtight container.
4. Great for the Skin and Coat
A number of nutrients in pumpkin, including vitamin A and zinc, are great for your pet’s skin and coat. The high water content in pumpkin flesh also contributes to supple skin and a lustrous coat.
In addition to making your pet’s coat shine and look fantastic, the added moisture causes the skin to flake less and less hair to be shed on your carpets, furniture, and clothes. Yippee!
5. Tastes Great!
We’ll admit that some supplements need to be hidden for your dog to gobble them up, but that’s typically not the case with pumpkin. Most dogs love pumpkin – even just on its own. That makes it really easy to add to breakfast or dinner, either for digestive support or for variety in the diet.
And we love easy!
How to Feed Your Dog Pumpkin
The easiest way to add pumpkin to the diet is to just buy a can of pure, pureed pumpkin. It actually has more nutrients because fresh pumpkin has a higher water content.
When buying pumpkin, make sure that it is in fact PURE pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has aded ingredients like spices and sugars that a) your dog doesn’t need or b) that could actually be harmful (ie. xylitol).
That said, you can also feed fresh pumpkin, but you’ll have to prep it well beforehand (raw pumpkin is quite tough and thus hard to digest):
- Cut your pumpkin in half and remove the seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Roast for 45-60 minutes, until it’s soft
- Allow it to cool, then puree it in the blender of food processor
How much should you feed?
1 tsp of pumpkin per 10 lbs of body weight per day is a good standard to go by. If your dog has never had pumpkin before, less is more, just in case they’re sensitive to it.
If you’re feeding it for diarrhea:
- Start off slow to help the digestive tract adjust. Usually with diarrhea there is some inflammation in the digestive tract, so you want to keep that in mind.
- Work up to the recommended amount.
The Veterinarious team is made up of pet owners, pet lovers, and pet experts from around the globe! We’ve banded together to create a community of like-minded pet people to give you the latest research and health advice for your beloved beast!