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5 Great Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

Why Adding a Little "Orange" to Your Dog's Diet is Helpful

By Lauren Leonardi . December 05, 2013 | See Comments

  • expert or vet photo
    vet verified

    Dr. Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM

    Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition

    Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Ithaca, NY

A Cocker Spaniel Laying On A Pumpkin

Pumpkin is more than a signature Halloween food, it's a vegetable that can be useful in your dog's diet. Learn here why pumpkin can be beneficial to your dog's long term health.

Humans may wait for the fall season to enjoy pumpkin-related treats, but one of the many benefits of being a dog is that pumpkin is on the menu all year round! You may see pumpkin flavored treats at the pet store, and for good reason -- pumpkin for dogs can be a tasty, nutritious treat. Here’s how.

IS PUMPKIN GOOD FOR DOGS?

Yes! For several reasons.

1. Pumpkin as a Nutrient-Rich Veggie

Pumpkins are choc-full of nutrients. They contain loads of vitamin A, respectable amounts of vitamin C, and good quantities of other enriching minerals like potassium. Happily, it’s also low fat and low calorie.

2. Pumpkin as a Weight Loss Aid

Adding an appropriate serving of pumpkin to your dog’s food adds both volume and fiber to their diet. This can help fill them up while you’re trying to slim them down.

3. Pumpkin as Medicine

The fiber in pumpkin can serve to both loosen or tighten your dog’s bowels. It knows what it’s doing, and will magically (aka, scientifically) address whichever issue your dog faces.

4. Pumpkin as an Antioxidant

Pumpkin is rich in antioxidants from the carotenoid family. These carotenoids are very absorbable and sit in your dog’s cell membranes to fight oxidative damage. They’re considered some of the better long-acting antioxidants around.

5. Another Pumpkin Upside

Dogs usually enjoy the taste! So if you’re adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet for medicinal purposes, the sneaky pill-slipping tricks we often employ should not be necessary.

PUMPKIN FOR DOGS MEANS PUMPKIN FOR DOGS

Be aware of what you’re buying when you get canned pumpkin. Spiced mocha chai pumpkin, or banana pumpkin, or pumpkin pie filling, or any of the myriad human pumpkin consumables that also include cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices are not good for dogs.

Give your dog plain old canned pumpkin, or plain cooked pumpkin pulp. Always check the ingredients label if you’re not sure.

HOW TO SERVE PUMPKIN TO DOGS

Before making any changes to your dog’s diet, you may wish to consult your veterinarian for advice.

Portion Size: Ask your vet for guidance on appropriate portions. Depending on the size of your dog, and their current health issues, the recommended serving could be one tablespoon once a day, all the way up to 2-4 ounces at each meal.

Homemade Dog Food: Pumpkin is a great addition to homemade dog food. It can be counted as a carb, and used in conjunction with rice, or alone. It’s also a vegetable (albeit a carby one), and can be used alongside other veggies.

Store Bought Dog Food: Feel free to consider mixing in an appropriate portion of pumpkin to your dog’s regular diet. Since you’re adding food, you may wish to reduce the amount of kibble or wet food you’re feeding them. Discuss options with your vet.

More on Dog Food

Your Dog Food Questions Answered
Is Your Dog Alllergic To Certain Food?
How To Change Dog Food

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. It has however been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Joe, a board certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine.

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