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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much pumpkin can I give my dog?
Pumpkin is a healthy treat for dogs and can be a great source of fiber and vitamins. However, it's important to give it in moderation. Most dogs can have a few spoonfuls of pumpkin as a snack, but too much can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. As a general guideline, you can feed your dog about 1 teaspoon of pumpkin per 10 pounds of body weight once or twice a day. You can also add a spoonful of pumpkin to their food to help regulate digestion or as a low-calorie treat. Pumpkin should not be a substitute for a balanced diet, and it's always best to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that it's safe for your individual dog and that it won't interfere with any medications they may be taking.
Is it OK to give your dog pumpkin every day?
Yes, it is generally safe to give your dog pumpkin every day in moderation as a supplement to their regular diet. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can have several health benefits for dogs, such as improving digestion, supporting a healthy immune system, and promoting a shiny coat.
Can pumpkin cause diarrhea in dogs?
Yes, pumpkin can cause diarrhea in dogs if they consume too much of it. Pumpkin is a rich source of fiber, and an excessive amount of fiber can lead to digestive upset, including diarrhea. Additionally, some dogs may have an intolerance to pumpkin and may experience digestive issues, even in small amounts. Introduce pumpkin to your dog's diet gradually and in moderation to avoid digestive problems. A general guideline is to give your dog about 1 teaspoon of pumpkin per 10 pounds of body weight once or twice a day. If you notice any signs of digestive upset, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite, stop feeding your dog pumpkin and consult with your veterinarian. They can help determine if pumpkin is the cause of the problem and if it's safe for your individual dog to continue consuming it.
Does pumpkin help dogs poop?
Yes, pumpkin can help regulate bowel movements in dogs. Pumpkin is a rich source of fiber, which can help bulk up stools and make them easier to pass. This can be especially helpful for dogs who struggle with constipation or who have digestive problems. In addition to fiber, pumpkin is also a good source of moisture, which can help keep stools soft and prevent constipation. However, it's important to remember that too much pumpkin can also lead to diarrhea, so it's best to introduce it to your dog's diet gradually and in moderation.
What does canned pumpkin do for dogs?
Canned pumpkin can have several benefits for dogs. The fiber in pumpkin can help regulate digestion and prevent constipation in dogs. It can also help soothe an upset stomach and settle diarrhea. Canned pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a healthy addition to a dog's diet for weight management. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can help support a dog's overall health and wellness. Moreover, canned pumpkin is a good source of moisture, which can help keep dogs hydrated and support urinary health.
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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.