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Can dogs eat pumpkin?

Puppy dog sitting next to pumpkins advice

Pumpkins have many health benefits for your dog.

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As fall is slowly settling down, and you are probably enjoying a nice pumpkin spice latte with your furry friend, but have you ever wondered if you could feed your dog pumpkin? It turns out you can give pumpkin to your dog. But it is not as simple as that.

By Emilie Heyl

Published on the 20/09/2020, 14:00

Fall is such a beautiful season: we get to see the colours of trees changing to red, orange and yellow, we get to smell the magical perfume of autumn spices, and we get to eat delicious foods. Pumpkin is actually one of the star ingredients of fall. But, is pumpkin safe for dogs too?

The answer is yes! You can feed pumpkin to your dog but you must be cautious.

First, you should slowly introduce pumpkin in your dog’s diet. If all goes well, you can feed your dog pumpkin but make sure you do it safely and in moderation. As always, you should talk to your vet before giving any human foods to your dog.

Here is everything you should know about feeding pumpkin to dogs.

Why is pumpkin good for dogs?

Pumpkins have many health benefits for dogs. Not only are they nutritious, they are also full of vitamins and nutrients and your dog needs all of these for its body to function properly. The nutrients find in pumpkins are:

  • Vitamin A: this vitamin helps your dog’s immune system and vision
  • Vitamin C: this vitamin is a cofactor for enzymatic reaction in your dog’s body and collagen synthesis
  • Vitamin E: this vitamin is a fat soluble antioxidant and helps regulate enzymatic activity
  • Alpha carotene: this nutrient is an antioxidant that prevents damage to cells from free radicals
  • Calcium: this nutrient keeps your dog’s bones and teeth strong and also supports cytoplasmic functions
  • Iron: this nutrient contributes to cellular respiration, oxidation, and hemoglobin production
  • Lutein: this nutrient supports the health of your dog’s eyes, skin and coat

As you can see, pumpkins are full of good nutrients which will benefit your dog’s health. But one of the key nutritional components you will get from pumpkins is fiber. Here is why fiber is beneficial to dogs:

  • Weight control: Fiber helps your dog feel fuller faster. And, because pumpkins don’t have too many calories, this is a great ingredient to add to your dog’s diet if it needs to lose a little bit of weight. Of course, as with all dietary plans, it is crucial you consult your veterinarian first.
  • Diarrhoea: Because pumpkin contains soluble fiber, this can absorb excess water in your dog’s digestive tract. This will reduce and relieve your dog’s diarrhoea. However, if your dog has been having diarrhoea for longer than 24 hours or its diarrhoea is accompanied by other signs of illness, consult your veterinarian.
  • Constipation: A pumpkin’s high fiber can also act as a laxative.

What does pumpkin do for dogs?

The orange beauty that is the pumpkin not only tastes great but is also a super ingredient to give to your dog. This squash is low in calories but also rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains high levels of fiber and vitamin A (beta carotene), potassium (which helps regulate blood pressure, improves muscle health, assists metabolism). It also consisted of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, iron, calcium, alpha carotene and lutein.

Including pumpkin in your dog’s diet will benefit your dog’s health in many ways: 

  • Benefits your dog’s eyes 
  • Boosts your dog’s immune system
  • Full of rich nutrients
  • Helps your dog to lose weight
  • Regulates your dog’s digestive system
  • Hydrates your dog
  • Moisturizes your dog’s skin and coat
  • Protects your dog against parasites 
  • Pumpkin seeds prevents urinary incontinence

How much pumpkin can I give my dog?

If your dog has never eaten pumpkin before, it is important to introduce it slowly into your dog’s diet. Start by giving a very small amount of pumpkin to your dog and wait a few hours to see if your dog has any negative reactions.

There is a lot of fiber in a pumpkin, so if you start giving too much pumpkin to your dog, canned or otherwise, this can cause some undesirable digestive problems such as diarrhoea, intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramps. Therefore, to avoid these unwelcome effects, start by slowly incorporating pumpkin into your dog’s meals and work your way up.

If your dog enjoys eating pumpkin and there are no side effects, then you can start adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin into your dog’s diet. Of course, depending on the dog’s size the quantity will vary. Here is a basic guideline:

  • Adult small dogs: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per day.
  • Adult medium dogs: 1 tablespoon per day.
  • Adult large dogs: 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per day.

However, always talk to your veterinarian about the quantities to give your dog.

Can pumpkin be toxic to dogs?

Just because pumpkin is excellent for your dog’s diet, don’t go overboard with it! Too much pumpkin could be toxic for your dog. This squash is full of beta carotene, a nutrient that your body transforms into Vitamin A, and too much of it becomes toxic for dogs.

Also, not every part of the pumpkin is safe for your dog. Here are the parts you should avoid:

  • The stem, skin and leaves as they are prickly and rough for your dog’s digestive tract
  • The pulp of the pumpkin
  • Pumpkin filling
  • Pumpkin spice
  • Any canned pumpkin with added flavours and/or added preservatives
  • The leftovers of your Jack-O-Lantern you have cut out. Mold and bacteria might have grown on the pumpkin and this will cause illness

If you wish to feed your dog pumpkin safely, you can give him fresh seeds (grind them before adding them to their food), 100% canned pumpkin without any additives, fillers, spices or sugar and fresh pumpkin that you baked until it is soft. If you decide to cook your fresh pumpkin, make sure you remove the seeds and you let it cool down before serving it.

Do you need to see a vet in emergency? Here is everything you need to know

Can dogs eat too much pumpkin?

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to dose the right quantity of ingredients. Pumpkin is healthy for your dog and will be beneficial for its health. But make sure you give him the right amount of pumpkin your dog needs by talking to your vet.

If you feed too much pumpkin to your dog, this isn’t a good thing. If your dog consumes too much fiber, it can cause digestive problems. On top of that, if your dog has too much Vitamin A in his system, it can be highly toxic for him. The Merck Veterinary Manual states, “The amount of vitamin A needed to cause toxic effects is 10 to 1,000 times the dietary requirements for most species.”

Can a dog have a pumpkin everyday?

If you wish to give pumpkin to your dog everyday, it is absolutely fine as long as you dose the quantities well. Generally, for a small dog, 1 or 2 teaspoon of canned, cooked or pureed pumpkin is good. For a larger dog, 1 or 2 tablespoons is a good amount to give your dog.

Keep in mind that treats (including fruits and vegetables) should never exceed 10% of your dog’s daily caloric needs.

If you have any doubts on the quantity you can give to your dog, you should call your veterinarian and ask for more information.

Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds?

Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin seeds. They are actually filled with antioxidant phytonutrients and are also an excellent source of potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are nutrients your dog needs for a good bone formation. Not only that, pumpkin seeds produce healthy oils and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Pumpkin seeds also help to fight worms. They contain an amino acid also called cucurbitin, which paralyzes and kills worms present in the digestive tract.

Pumpkin seeds would make great treats for your furry friend. If you wish to give pumpkin seeds to your dog as a healthy treat, make sure you get organic seeds and not salted ones.

You can also add pumpkin seeds to your dog’s meal. First, you should dry or roast them, then grind them in a food processor, blender or food grinder. Finally, sprinkle them on your dog’s meal.

As always, start by introducing pumpkin seeds slowly into your dog’s diet and work your way up but always monitor your dog’s reactions.

How can I give my dog pumpkin?

Pumpkin tastes so good. It’s full of good nutrients which will benefit your dog’s health. If you wish to include pumpkin into your dog’s diet you can do so in many ways.

1. Pumpkin dinner topper

You can use pumpkin seeds to spice up your dog’s meal. Make sure you roast or dry the seeds first and they will have to be grinded before you sprinkle them on top of your dog’s food. You can also mix pumpkin puree or cooked pumpkin with your dog’s meal.

2. Pumpkin treats

Dogs love treats! How fun is it to bake treats for your dog? You, as a dog owner, would feel good about baking something tasty and healthy for your pooch but imagine how happy your furry friend would be? And pumpkin is a great ingredient to add to your dog’s treat.

There are many homemade dog treat recipes made with pumpkin. And here is one of our favourite:

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup organic canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (the peanut butter you use MUSTN'T contain Xylitol)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.

Step 2: Mix together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Then, add water to help make the dough workable. Your dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Step 3: Bake in a preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes.

3. Cooked pumpkin 

You can steam or mash fresh pumpkin for your dog. If you wish to take the easy way out, you can use canned pumpkin but make sure you read the label carefully. It has to be 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Indeed, pumpkin pie filling has salts, sugars, mace and nutmeg which is unhealthy for dogs and can even be toxic for them.

If you wish to serve cooked pumpkin, make sure it's cooled down before serving it to your dog.

4. Pumpkin kong filler

Kongs are a great way to keep your pooch occupied. Add some pureed pumpkin in your dog’s kong and you will be sure to have a happy dog.

However you decide to serve pumpkin to your dog, be cautious with the portions. Give the right amount of pumpkin for your pup’s dietary needs. Always consult your vet if you’re considering introducing anything new into your pet’s diet.

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