Can I Give My Dog Pumpkin?
Raising a dog entails a handful of responsibilities. As a dedicated pet owner, you have to ensure your furry friend receives the right nourishment to grow up healthy and happy.
There are plenty of foods that dogs can and cannot eat. Nutritious as they may be, not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for canine consumption. But, is it okay for dogs to eat pumpkin?
In short, yes! It is safe to give your dog some pumpkin. This fruit can be a healthy new snack for your pup, especially during the festive holiday season. Still, you must always exercise caution and moderation when feeding your dog pumpkin treats.
How Is Pumpkin Good for Dogs?
Pumpkin is not only yummy and low in calories, it is also a nutrient-rich food that is healthy for humans and dogs. Pumpkins are packed with vitamins and minerals essential for canine growth. Here are some of the nutrients that can pumpkins contain:
- Potassium – An essential mineral your dog needs. Potassium helps maintain the efficient functioning of your dog’s nerves, muscles, and enzymes. The nutrient also regulates the acidity of bodily fluids.
- Beta-carotene – A powerful antioxidant that’s converted into Vitamin A when ingested. Vitamin A – Helps keep your dog’s eyes, skin, and immune system healthy.
- Vitamins C and E – Vitamin C aids in wound healing and collagen production, while Vitamin E prevents cells from rapid aging.
- Iron – an essential component of hemoglobin in the blood. It also regulates your dog’s body temperature.
- Calcium – keeps your dog’s teeth and bones strong and healthy.
- Fiber – helps in facilitating smooth bowel movements and preventing constipation.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
- Promotes Digestion
Pumpkin contains plenty of fiber and water, which promotes smooth and healthy bowel movements. If your pup has a sensitive stomach or struggles with constipation or diarrhea, the fiber-rich pumpkin can combat their tummy troubles and support proper digestion.
- Aids Weight Loss
If your furry companion needs some weight trimming, pumpkin is a good low-calorie, low-fat diet option that is chock-full of nutrients. The fiber content also lets your dog’s tummy feel fuller, which means they’ll be less likely to keep looking for snacks throughout the day.
- Eye Health
Humans aren’t the only ones who need to take special care of their eyes – dogs do too! Pumpkins are a great source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A, which are essential for keeping your dog’s eyes bright and healthy. Beta-carotene prevents the onset of cataracts and macular degeneration among pups.
Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants such as beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are harmful to your dog’s health. Eating pumpkin may help reduce the risk of diseases caused by free radicals, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- Immune Health
One way to make sure your canine pal grows up strong and healthy is to boost their immune system. Pumpkin is high in Vitamin C and E, which can help strengthen immune health by enhancing cellular response and neutralizing harmful oxidants.
- Skin and Coat
Pumpkins contain Vitamin A and zinc, which leave your pup’s fur soft and lustrous. Vitamin C in pumpkins promotes collagen synthesis, which is essential for maintaining the skin’s elasticity. Its high water content also prevents flakes and contributes to skin health.
Pumpkins may be able to save your dog’s stomach from parasites like tapeworms. The fruit contains cucurbitacin, a biochemical compound that is toxic to gastrointestinal parasites.
What Type of Pumpkin Is Safe for My Dog?
Both fresh and canned pumpkin is safe for dogs. However, the healthiest option is plain canned pumpkin because it contains more nutrients and fiber than fresh pumpkins.
If you’re planning to buy canned pumpkin, make sure to pick one with 100% pumpkin. Also, make sure to choose one without additives like sugar, salt, nutmeg, and mace because it can irritate your dog’s tummy. Do not choose pumpkin pie filling because it may contain xylitol, which is toxic to canines.
How Can I Give My Dog Pumpkin?
It is safe for dogs to eat either raw or cooked pumpkin. However, cooking the pumpkin can significantly improve its texture and flavor. There are lots of creative ways to prepare a yummy pumpkin snack for your pup:
- Pumpkin Dog Treats
Your pooch will definitely enjoy munching on homemade pumpkin dog biscuits. Here’s a simple pumpkin dog treat recipe with only three ingredients: pumpkin, flour, and egg. You can cut these treats into fun shapes to liven up your pup’s meal times!
- Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds can be healthy bite-sized snacks for your dog. However, it is best to clean, peel, and roast the seeds because raw seeds spoil rapidly. You can either give the seeds whole or grind them into powder to mix with your pup’s food.
- Pumpkin Toy Filler
If your dog enjoys playing with his chew toy, you can make your pup happier by adding a little spicy twist. Mash some cooked pumpkin and mix in a bit of unsweetened yogurt. Spoon the mixture into your dog’s stuffable toy and let them enjoy it!
- Pumpkin Ice Pops
You can make some tasty dog-sicles by mixing some pumpkin puree, yogurt, and peanut butter in a blender. Pour the mixture into an ice tray, pop it into the freezer, and voila! Now, you have some yummy pumpkin popsicles that your pup will surely enjoy on warm days.
Can Too Much Pumpkin Be Dangerous For Dogs?
Although it is safe to feed your pooch some pumpkin from time to time, too can be harmful to your pup’s health. The excess fiber in your pet’s diet can lead to digestive complications and hinder nutrient absorption. The Vitamin A in pumpkins is also toxic to dogs when consumed in large amounts.
The amount of pumpkin that you can give your dog depends on your pet’s size and breed. Smaller dogs may eat a few teaspoons a day, while larger dogs can handle a few tablespoons. It is best to discuss proper portions with your veterinarian so you can prevent complications.
- 5 Ways to Feed Your Dog Pumpkin. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2020, from https://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/5-ways-feed-your-dog-pumpkin/85920
- Arnarson, A. (2019, July 29). Antioxidants Explained in Simple Terms. Retrieved October 07, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/antioxidants-explained
- Bigley, J. & Permenter, P. (2020, April 11). Pumpkin Dog Ice Cream Recipe. Retrieved October 07, 2020, from https://www.dogtipper.com/recipes/2019/06/pumpkin-doggie-ice-cream-recipe.html
- Burke, A. (2018, March 02). You Can Use Pumpkin to Treat Dog Diarrhea. Retrieved October 07, 2020, from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/can-pumpkin-help-with-dog-diarrhea/