Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin? 7 Surprising Health Benefits of Feeding This Superfood to Dogs

can dogs eat pumpkin

It’s pumpkin season and making a pumpkin pie is a fall tradition at your home. So, you go for a stroll with your dog to check out the nearest farmer’s market. While you are busy analyzing the nooks and corners of each pumpkin, you see your dog munching on one of these plump winter vegetables. What then strikes your mind is whether or not eating pumpkins is safe for dogs.

So, can dogs eat pumpkin? Absolutely yes!  Pumpkin is not just for pies and jack-o’-lanterns, it is also a delicious food that your dog can happily enjoy. Pumpkin is a superfood, and like any fruit or vegetable with sugar in it, it can be a great additive to your dog’s diet.

Read on more to find out how this yellow squash is good for dogs.

How Is Pumpkin Beneficial to Dogs?  

Many people don’t realize it, but pumpkins can do wonders for their dogs. This Halloween favorite has a plethora of health benefits that are perfect for dogs of all sizes and breeds- those who are already in perfect shape, as well as those who need to take a little more care.

Pumpkin is rich in several vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog in a variety of ways. It is low in calories and high in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and iron. This squash is also rich in moisture that naturally adds more water to your dog’s diet and keeps them hydrated. Its calcium content helps the growth of your dog’s bones and teeth along with supporting their cytoplasmic functions. Pumpkin also contains massive potassium, which improves a dog’s muscle health, regulates blood pressure, and promotes metabolism.

Here are some of the surprising health benefits of feeding a pumpkin to your dog.

1. It enhances digestive health

Pumpkin can help your dog’s digestive health variously. The high concentration of soluble fiber in pumpkin makes it easier for dogs to have regular bowel movements. Therefore, a tablespoon of pureed pumpkin can help with constipation in dogs. The fiber also reduces the pH level of large intestines, thus acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in your dog’s intestine. They provide the necessary nutrients healthy bacteria need to thrive and also prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

Experts also suggest that when fiber acts as prebiotics, it can help with diarrhea in dogs. Soluble fiber assists in absorbing excess water in your dog’s stool. Therefore, depending on the type of diarrhea, your vet might sometimes recommend a diet full of prebiotics to treat your dog’s watery stools. To help subside your dog’s diarrhea, you can add one to four tablespoons of pumpkin to your pup’s regular meal.

2. Pumpkin boosts the immune system

Antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A(beta-carotene), and vitamin E found in pumpkin boost your dog’s immune health. The combination of these antioxidants can further help prevent certain cancers from developing while also destroying free radicals (oxidants) in your pet’s body. These vitamins also regulate and support enzymatic activity to prevent your dog’s cell damage.

3. Pumpkin benefits eye health

The high concentration of vitamin A in pumpkins benefits your dog’s eye health, just like it benefits yours. The bright yellow color in pumpkins results from beta carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in the body to promote eye health in dogs. It is also known to reduce the development of night blindness and other eye degeneration issues in canines.

Pumpkin is also a source of lutein, a type of carotenoid, which has several inflammatory properties. Research suggests that this carotenoid helps eye health immensely by reducing age-related macular disease, which is the leading cause of vision impairment and eye blindness in dogs.

4. Moisturizes your dog’s skin and coat 

Nutrient contents in pumpkins are also credible for your dog’s luscious coat and supple skin. For instance, zinc and vitamin A found in pumpkins help to moisturize your dog’s skin hence preventing the growth of their flaky coating.

5. Prevents urinary incontinency

Co-founders of VetLIVE.com, Veterinarians Laci and Jed Schaible suggest that pumpkin seeds help reduce and prevent urinary incontinency in dogs. Urine incontinency refers to the reduced ability to hold in urine, which leads to its involuntary leakage. Pumpkin seeds have a healthy dose of fatty acids like omega 3. These oils contain inflammatory properties to support urinary health and prevent urinary issues in dogs. These seeds are also known to extricate kidney stones in dogs.

6. Aids in weight management

The fiber in the pumpkin also helps your dog’s weight management and weight loss. If you plan to take a few pounds off your furry companion, try replacing a little of their regular food with a few tablespoons of pureed pumpkin. This will help your dog to have a fullness feeling just like they would have with a regular diet. Hence, it will consequently help your dog in weight loss.

7. Pumpkin also controls parasitic growth

Parasites in your dog’s tummy can upset their digestive health, causing health problems like nutrient deficiency, dry skin, and weight loss. Pumpkin is rich in cucurbitacin, an amino acid with the property to repel common dog parasites, including tapeworms and roundworms. This property prevents the growth of such harmful parasites. You can treat your dog with a tablespoon or two of pureed pumpkin as an excellent measure to help with your dog’s parasitic infection.

How Much Amount of Pumpkin Should I Feed My Dog?

It is always a safe idea to start with a smaller quantity when adding new food to your dog’s diet. The same is the case if you want to feed pumpkin to your pooch. Although it is unlikely that your dog will get sick from consuming too much of this yellow vegetable, providing smaller scoops of pureed pumpkin is a way to avoid adding too much fiber to their plate.

Typically, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin for an average of 10 lbs dog is a good standard. But in the case of puppies and very small or underweight pooches, only a minimal amount is recommended. You can always consult your vet for the exact amount of pumpkin that you can feed your pup.

You may also be interested in Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?

Can Dogs Eat Canned Pumpkin?

Plain canned pumpkin is the healthiest form of serving pumpkin to your dog. It contains higher nutrients as compared to a fresh pumpkin since the latter has more water. However, do not feed your dog with spiced canned pumpkin, which consists of added spices, sugar, and other additives, since such ingredients can further irritate your dog’s digestive health.

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

Yes. Dogs can eat pumpkin seeds. Cleaned and baked pumpkin seeds can make a delicious treat for your dog. Since they contain antioxidants and omega 3 acids, pumpkin seeds are known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, they help to promote your pooch’s overall health.

Make sure that your pumpkin seeds are crushed and grounded before adding to your dog’s meal. Also, only feed them in moderation since too many pumpkin seeds in one setting can be problematic. If your dog overdoses with the seeds, you might notice softer stools due to the high-fat content in pumpkin seeds.

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Pie?

No. Dogs cannot eat pumpkin pie. Although pumpkin itself has immense health benefits for dogs, pumpkin pie should be kept out of your pup’s meal. Pumpkin pie is saturated with added sugar and spices that may further upset your dog’s tummy, followed by loose stools. It may also contain xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs.

How Can I Add Pumpkin to My Dog’s Diet? 

You can serve pumpkin to your dog in various ways, including plain canned pumpkin, pureed or crushed pumpkin, cooked pumpkin as well as crushed pumpkin seeds. You can also provide them as a treat to your pooch.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that dogs can eat pumpkin. This healthy and plump squash is highly nutritious; therefore, it provides numerous health benefits to dogs. From boosting your pup’s immune system, aiding in their eye health, preventing parasites, to improving their health condition such as urinary incontinence, pumpkin is a superfood that you can add to your dog’s diet as an occasional treat.

Thank you for reading the article.

Explore more other pumpkin-related dog articles that you might be interested in pumpkin for dogs. 

Have you ever shared pumpkin with your dog? How do you like to serve them? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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