This Halloween, instead of hollowing out your pumpkin and throwing the contents in the bin, why not make your pooch a healthy snack? Pumpkin is packed with nutrients and has many health benefits for dogs. You can feed cooked or raw pumpkin and seeds to your dog (as part of a balanced diet) but check with your vet for specific feeding amounts.
Pumpkin is nutrient rich containing a high concentration of Vitamin A (beta-carotene) which plays an important role in eye health. It is also rich in Potassium which supports the metabolism, and helps to regulate blood pressure.
The orange colour of pumpkins comes from carotenoids which are powerful antioxidants that act as an anti-inflammatory and help to slow the ageing process, antioxidants are also found in pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are a safe dewormer and contain the amino acid cucurbitin which helps to eliminate parasites from dog’s digestive tract. You can feed the seeds whole or crush into your dog’s food, check with your vet for effective dosage amounts based on breed and size. Ensure the seeds are natural, and don’t contain added salt or coatings.
Pumpkin is low in calories and packed with soluble fibre, it is a great addition to your dog’s diet to help them feel fuller for longer. If you have an overweight dog, you could add a tablespoon of pumpkin to their food to help them fill up, lose weight and add variety, and additional vitamins and minerals. It is also great to aid digestive issues and keep your dog regular, the fiber also helps to maintain a healthy gut flora by feeding the good bacteria to improve digestive health.
If you find their tummy’s a little off, pumpkin could be the perfect solution to get them back on track. The soluble fibre content in pumpkin keeps intestines working soundly, meaning both diarrhea and constipation can be kept at bay. Just one tablespoon of pumpkin mixed with their regular food can make those poops manageable and stools firmer.
Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and minerals to boost your dog’s skin & coat, but the main contributors to healthy skin and a glossy coat are the omega 3 and omega 6. The moisturising properties promote a healthy skin barrier - as well as preventing dandruff and flaky skin. It’s a great choice for pooches who suffer with their skin, or have irritating allergies.
Being 94% water, you can see why pumpkin is a refreshing, hydrating treat! It’s a great food to enjoy during warmer days to keep your pooch cool, but keeping hydrated in general is super important for overall health - supporting mood, sleep and cognitive function.
Pumpkin flesh clearly has a multitude of amazing benefits, but what about pumpkin seeds? Yes, they too can have a healthy impact on our dogs. Just like the flesh, pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. Said fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which can actually help dislodge kidney stones! Pumpkin seeds have also been known to help with incontinence - something which can be especially helpful in senior dogs. However, the seeds can be dangerous in their usual entity - so make sure they’re blended into a powder before serving.
As mentioned above, it’s not just pumpkin flesh that contains all the goodness. Pumpkin seeds are extremely beneficial too, with their high levels of omega 3 fatty acids that can help with urinary incontinence. As whole pumpkin seeds, they could be a choking hazard which makes them dangerous. So instead, give them a whizz in the blender to turn into a powder, making it much safer and practical.
Pumpkin is super healthy, but can be difficult to find at certain times of the year. It also requires a little more effort to chop and prepare than other healthy snacks, so can put people off serving up. Fear not, canned pumpkin is available all year round and doesn’t compromise on taste or benefits. Just like fresh pumpkin flesh, canned pumpkin is high in fibre - making it good for the gut and eliminating upset stomachs.
Some sources suggest that cooking pumpkin removes some of the goodness - however it’s always a safer option to cook to avoid food poisoning or stomach upset. Raw pumpkin and its seeds may contain harmful bacteria, so roasting before feeding is highly recommended.
Pureed pumpkin can come in a can, or by cooking and blending fresh pumpkin yourself. The canned pumpkin is quite simply regular pumpkin, with no added ingredients or flavours - meaning it still contains all those essential vitamins and minerals that make it a delicious, healthy treat for your pooch.
While it’s a tasty autumnal treat for us mere mortals, pumpkin pie isn’t one to be fed to the canines of the world. First and foremost it contains nutmeg - which is toxic to our pooches. Nutmeg contains a compound called myristicin, which in high doses can cause hallucinations, disorientation, high blood pressure and seizures, amongst other dangerous issues. There’s also a lot of added sugar, high fat content from the cream, and the pastry makes it extremely calorific.
The good news is, there’s no secret cooking method to make pumpkin edible for pooches. It should be prepared and cooked the same way as any other vegetable humans enjoy! Simply cut out the flesh, chop into chunks, then bake, steam, boil or grill the pumpkin. Don’t use any oils, herbs or seasonings - it needs to be just plain for your dog. Then you can either feed in chunks, or puree and mix into their regular food.
It’s recommended that you give your dog between 4 and 6 tablespoons of pumpkin per day. This depends on the size of your dog, so it’s worth chatting to your vet and making an informed decision based on their weight. Although it has a multitude of health benefits, it still contains calories.
Dogs can have pumpkin every day. Just make sure you include it as part of their daily calorie intake, and that fresh drinking water is always available.
Yes, pumpkin is packed with fibre, meaning it helps with digestive issues and makes it easier for your dog to do its business - usually with a firmer, healthier consistency.
Dogs tend to digest their food within around 8 hours, so if you’re feeding your dog pumpkin to help with constipation - you should hopefully start seeing the effects after around 10 hours.