The answer to the question “Can Dogs Have Pumpkin?” is yes! In a past post, The Ultimate Guide to Vegetables Dogs Can Eat PLUS Our Top 4 Favorites, we briefly covered the benefits of feeding dogs pumpkin.
Now we’re going to take an in-depth look at the health benefits of pumpkin and provide some tips for incorporating this superfood into your dog’s diet!
What are the benefits of feeding dogs pumpkin?
- Pumpkin is a superfood, full of vitamins and minerals!
- You can tell that pumpkin contains carotenoids, a common type of phytonutrient, by its bright orange color.
- Carotenoids are known to support immune system function, protect skin and eye health, and reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease.
- The antioxidants in pumpkin, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, help to prevent free radicals from damaging cells.
- Pumpkin is a rich source of beta-carotene in particular, which converts to vitamin A in the body.
- Having a sufficient amount of vitamin A has many benefits for dogs, including a positive impact on their growth, cell function, coat, muscles, and nerves.
- Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which can help dogs feel fuller longer by slowing digestion. This may also help soothe an irritated digestive system.
- Pumpkin can help boost the immune system.
- Like we mentioned above, the immune-boosting power of pumpkin comes from carotenoids.
- Plus they are full of potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, and vitamins A, E, C, and B.
- All of these vitamins are known to support the immune system by enhancing white blood cell production and decreasing inflammation.
- Pumpkin is a good source of water.
- Surprisingly, pumpkins are over 90% water making them low-calorie, despite being nutrient-dense.
- Feeding dogs foods with high water content is a simple, smart way to ensure that they stay hydrated.
- That said, keep in mind that the water content is higher in fresh pumpkin than canned pumpkin puree.
- Pumpkin seeds are a natural deworming agent.
- Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called cucurbitin which paralyzes and removes worms from the digestive track.
- This is a healthy alternative to conventional deworming treatments, which are made from harsh ingredients that will end up temporarily weakening their immune system.
- Pumpkin seeds have the opposite effect: boosting dogs’ immunity with their nutrients and antioxidants.
- Ground and shelled seeds work best (see below for details) because they can be added right into your dog’s regular food without causing a choking hazard.
Can dogs have pumpkin of any kind?
Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin:
Both fresh and canned pumpkin are safe for dog consumption and provide nutrients and fiber.
There is a trade-off to consider when deciding between the two: Fresh pumpkin has a higher water content, while canned pumpkin has a higher concentration of fiber and nutrients.
If you’re looking for a quick way to boost your dog’s nutrient intake or aid their digestion, canned pumpkin is the way to go!
Important reminders when feeding dogs pumpkin:
- Start with small quantities!
- Add a tablespoon to your dog’s food at first. If they handle it well, add up to four tablespoons!
- Remember to adjust the amount given based on the size of the dog. Moderation is key due to the high fiber content of pumpkin.
- Pumpkin seeds are generally safe and nutritious for dogs, but they can be a choking hazard!
- If feeding your dog whole pumpkin seeds, bake or roast them without seasoning and feed your dog just a few at a time.
- Pumpkin pulp is safe for dog consumption, just watch your dog as they eat to minimize their risk of choking.
- See below for a tip on using ground pumpkin seeds.
- Read the label of canned pumpkin to make sure you are buying 100% pumpkin puree!
- Pumpkin pie filling is not healthy for dog consumption due to the added salts, sugars, and spices.
- Choose organic!
- Conventionally grown pumpkins use toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which not only harm the environment but are also harmful to dogs’ health.
- Check out your local farm stand or farmer’s market in the fall for fresh, organic pumpkins!
What are the best ways to share pumpkin with your dog?
The answer to the question “Can Dogs Have Pumpkin?” is a resounding yes! Not only can dogs have pumpkin, it can really be a beneficial part of their diet.
Incorporating pumpkin and pumpkin seeds into dogs’ diets will provide a nutrient boost that supports all-around health and wellbeing.
Ideas and recipes:
- The easiest way to share pumpkin with your dog is to add a few spoonfuls of pureed pumpkin to their dog food!
- Alternatively, try stuffing pumpkin into a Kong toy. You can use either canned pumpkin puree or steamed, mashed fresh pumpkin.
- To use pumpkin seeds as a natural dewormer, feed your dog a few raw whole pumpkin seeds as a treat or add ground, unsalted pumpkin seeds to their regular meals. Ground pumpkin seeds would be great mixed into oatmeal!
- For a baked treat, try our founder’s recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Dog Treats, which combines the two powerful ingredients: pumpkin PLUS oats for extra health benefits!
Recipes coming soon to our blog:
- Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt Treats
- PB, Banana & Pumpkin Dog Treats
- Healthy Pumpkin Puppuccino
Each of these recipes are made with healthy, dog-friendly ingredients. Check back soon!