Pumpkin for your Dog?
Halloween and Thanksgiving have past, but pumpkin’s are still in season with the holidays in full swing now and Christmas just around the corner. Yes all things pumpkin are still in vogue. You can smell it wafting in the air along with the spicy scent of cinnamon. This is especially true of pumpkin pie this time of year. But for your dog? Well, for your canine companion, I’d skip the pie. The pumpkin fruit itself however, is great for dogs.
Pumpkin is excellent for your dog’s digestive track. While there is no scientific evidence that pumpkin benefits a pet’s skin or coat like other fruits or vegetables, pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, beta-carotene, fiber, zinc, iron, vitamin A and potassium. The rich antioxidant beta-carotene found in pumpkins is evidenced by their bright orange color.
Diarrhea and Constipation
Pumpkin is high in fiber and water content. This makes it good for preventing and remedying constipation in dogs. Pumpkin can also aid in bulking up your dog’s stool. Contingent on the size of your dog, start with feeding them one or two tablespoons of pureed pumpkin once per day. Please note that pumpkin may not help your dog with diarrhea or constipation if there is an underlying medical condition. Always consult with your veterinarian for advice, especially if diarrhea or constipation persists.
Pumpkin and Dog Weight Loss
The high fiber content in pumpkin make it a great low-fat dog treat that fills up the dog. This makes pumpkin an ideal supplement for dogs on a diet for owners not wanting their canine friend feeling too hungry. The appropriate amount of pumpkin to feed your dog depends on its size and dietary needs. Again, consult with your veterinarian regarding the suggested amounts.
Feeding Your Dog Pumpkin
Pumpkin is simple to feed to your dog. All that is required is canned pumpkin. According to the Mayo Clinic website, canned pumpkin contains the same type and quantity of nutrients as fresh pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is a puree which makes it easy to mix in your dog’s food, give as a treat or use as a dog treat ingredient.
Double check the label when purchasing canned pumpkin to ensure it is 100-percent pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix. Sorry, doggies! Fresh pumpkin can be used as well, but make sure it is cooked first. Serve your dog the insides of a fresh pumpkin that is roasted or pureed.
What about Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin seeds. It is recommended you first roast and grind the seeds up before feeding them to your dog. Also, do not add salt.
Dog Food and Treats with Pumpkin
There is nothing wrong with giving your dog food or treats that contain pumpkin as you would any dog food or treat. If however, you are seeking the health and digestive benefits mentioned above, know that most dog food and treats featuring pumpkin do not usually contain enough pumpkin to meet this need.
Halloween Pumpkin Dog Safety
Although Halloween is over this year, here are some safety tips that may be useful in the future. While feeding canned or cooked pumpkin to your dog is great, know that there is a significant difference between cooked and pureed pumpkin, and decorative, raw pumpkins or Jack-o-Lanterns often seen throughout the Halloween and fall season. Make sure you keep these safety tips in mind the next time you buy a pumpkin:
- Never feed your dog the pumpkin stem or leaves. They are covered in small, sharp hairs that will irritate your dog.
- Dogs should never eat the shell of a pumpkin or gourd. This is particularly true during the fall season when many decorative pumpkins and gourds are coated with materials that can be toxic to your pet including glue, glitter and shellac.
- Do not permit your dog to eat the innards of a raw pumpkin or raw pumpkin seeds. Keep pumpkin carvings clear of the floor to prevent dogs from collecting the extras (in their mouths).
- Discard carved pumpkins following Halloween in order to avoid dangerous mold that may develop over time as the pumpkin deteriorates.
- Consider battery-operated alternatives to light up your pumpkin. Candles may be traditional, but can become a fire hazard as pumpkins are easily knocked over by pets.
This article was adapted from a story in Petcha.com originally titled “Pumpkin And Dogs.”