The Health Benefits of Adding Pumpkin to your Dog's Diet

I've been adding healthy pumpkin to my dogs' diets for quite some time. Not only do Icy and Phoebe love the taste of pumpkin, but pumpkin is super healthy for dogs! 

As soon as pumpkins become available in my area, I buy a few both for Halloween decorations and to cook for my dogs so I can add the health benefits of pumpkin to their diet.  I boil chunks of pumpkin and add some of the pure, fresh pumpkin to my dogs food each day.  I like to use it in making pumpkin flavored dog treats as well. There are a million different ways you can make homemade dog treats that include pumpkin.  You can even add a touch of cinnamon to your dog treats for the full effect of Fall flavor!

🎃 Don’t use a carved pumpkin that’s been sitting outside for weeks to feed to your pet.  A carved Halloween pumpkin may have picked up bacteria and fungi while sitting outside with it’s inside exposed to the elements. 🎃

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Pumpkin has many health benefits for dogs

I initially started giving Phoebe pumpkin because she was often constipated.  She would strain while defecating and scoot on the rug afterwards.  To help her, I looked for a natural source of extra fiber that was safe to feed dogs rather than use a stool softener for pets.  

Pumpkin was the perfect choice for Phoebe because it's high in fiber, has a large water content, and has other health benefits for dogs as well.  Phoebe also loves the taste of pumpkin.  Adding pumpkin to Phoebe’s diet helps her constipation tremendously.  Icy loves pumpkin too, although she doesn't need the extra fiber as much as Phoebe does. 


Pumpkin provides added health benefits for dogs:


** Pumpkin is low in fat and cholesterol.

** Pumpkin helps calm a dog's upset stomach and provide an immune system boost.

** Pumpkin Contains beta-carotene and Vitamin C which are two major antioxidants.  It also contains Vitamin A which is an essential supplement for dogs.

** Pumpkin is made up largely of water and fiber.  


🐶 Don’t feed your dog Pumpkin Pie Mix, as it contains added salt, sugar and spices.  I only give my dogs 100% pure pumpkin with no added ingredients. 🐶


ACCORDING TO Dr. MARTY BECKER AND INFORMATION FOUND IN PETMD ARTICLES:


** The oils in both the flesh and seeds of pumpkin can help support urinary health in dogs (and cats too!).

** A great source of fiber, pumpkin can help with digestive regularity.  If your dog is either constipated OR has diarrhea, adding pumpkin to their food can be beneficial.  I add 1 to 2 tablespoons to Icy and Phoebe’s food daily, but consult your own Veterinarian about amount and frequency of adding pumpkin to your pet’s diet.

** Canned pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber. If your dog needs to lose weight, replacing a small portion of their food with pumpkin can help your pooch slim down.  I've read that it’s recommended not to replace more than 10% of your pet’s diet with pumpkin. 

** The fiber contained in pumpkin can help move furballs along a cat’s digestive tract. Small amounts of canned pumpkin, about a teaspoon or less per day, given to cats can help prevent furballs from forming as well.

** The antioxidants and essential fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds can help moisturize your pet's skin and fur.


I mix a small amount of pumpkin directly in with my dogs morning meal, a teaspoon for little Phoebe and a tablespoon for my Husky Icy.  I also like to give it to them stuffed in a Kong toy as a treat.  I mix it with plain Greek yogurt (it's thicker and won’t leak out of the Kong), peanut butter, cooked sweet potato, banana or other fruit.  You can mix it up, place it in treat dispensers and freeze it for later too.  Icy and Phoebe love frozen treats, even in the colder weather! 

IMPORTANT:

Raw pumpkin is not very digestible, so I don’t give my dogs any raw pumpkin.  I always use either canned (100% pure pumpkin) or cooked pumpkin.  ALWAYS consult your Vet before adding any new food, treats, or supplements to your pet’s diet, even foods labeled as "natural" or "organic".

HOW TO COOK PUMPKIN TO FEED TO YOUR DOG:


STEP 1:  Cut off the top of a fresh, ripe pumpkin



STEP 2:  Scoop out the seeds inside the pumpkin.  You can dry these out to later crush finely and add to dog food or homemade dog treats.  Pumpkin seeds have health benefits too.



STEP 3:  Cut the pumpkin up into chunks. I start by slicing it into larger wedges, then I cut those into chunks.




STEP 4:  Boil the chunks of pumpkin on the stove


STEP 5:  After boiling until the chunks are soft, strain the water out. I retain the water and add it to my dogs' kibble.  The water retains some nutrients so I hate to throw it away!  You could also steam or microwave the pumpkin chunks until they're soft if you prefer.


STEP 6:  Once the pumpkin chunks are soft, I remove the rind in order to mash up the pumpkin.  Many people like to retain the softened rind and place it into a blender, as the rind has nutrients in it.  I just don't happen to do that myself.

This short video shows how the softened pumpkin enables you to easily remove the pumpkin rind: (there's background music in the video)


STEP 7:  After removing the pumpkin rind, mash up the softened pumpkin chunks, similar to making mashed potatoes.

This short video shows how to easily mash up the softened pumpkin chunks.  You could place the chunks in a blender if you prefer. (there's background music in the video)






In the U.S. there’s an abundance of fresh pumpkins in September and October, and they are often still available in November.  During other times of the year when fresh pumpkins aren’t available, I buy 100% canned pumpkin at the pet store or grocery store for my dogs.  I check the label carefully, as canned pumpkin from grocery stores usually contains sodium and sugar. Even the “organic” brands, often contain up to 10 grams of these ingredients!  My dogs love pumpkin and I want the health benefits associated with pumpkin, but I won’t give them pumpkin with salt or sugar added.

I've used to have trouble finding pure canned pumpkin with no added salt, sugar, or other ingredients at the grocery store.  Then I found 100% pure canned pumpkin at PetSmart, and at Target!  PetSmart carries canned pumpkin made by Authority, which is PetSmart's own brand of pet food.  Target carries 100%  pure canned pumpkin made by their own brand, Market Pantry, as well as pure pumpkin made by other brands. 

Whether it's fresh cooked or canned, pets can enjoy the many health benefits of pumpkin!

NOTE I am not a Veterinarian or Vet Tech, nor do I play one online! I am sharing what I have learned on my own and what my own experience has been in adding pumpkin to my dogs' diets.  Always check with your Veterinarian before adding new food, treats, or supplements to your pet’s diet.

For more pet health information:

Check out more of my Pet Health and Wellness blog posts.
Follow my Pinterest board on Pet Health and Safety where I share PINs with pet health information & tips from some of the most knowledgeable sources!


Do you give your dog or cat pumpkin?  Tell us about it in the comments!


18 comments:

  1. Terrific idea! I've recommended pumpkin for years to cat owner clients, as kitties love it too and enjoy many of the same benefits.

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  2. Love this post about the benefits of pumpkin, and have wanted to buy some for Jack for ages. Since I'm not going to buy a whole pumpkin (only on sale here one time of year), I wanted the convenience of canned which is not available here. The funny thing is, after all that I just got the results of Jack's allergy tests and it turns out he's allergic to the stuff!!

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  3. I had some leftover pumpkin after baking muffins recently and mixed it with some other ingredients and stuffed it into a Kong. Both dogs were in heaven.

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  4. Great post! I always try to keep some pumpkin around since it does seem to help when my boys are having tummy troubles.

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  5. I give Layla pumpkin in her food daily and swear by it. My vet told me to since I am cooking for her. As for pumpkin seeds LOL - I love them and bake them and then eat them as a snack - so nothing is wasted :)

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  6. I gave my dog a chunk of flesh of the pumpkin I carved for Halloween - she loved it!

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  7. Ruby does get a little pumpkin in her food sometimes. I have a funny story about how I started feeding pumpkin to my dog. When my daughter was a baby and first started eating real food, she loved pumpkin. Pip are first dog always seemed interested so I would give him a teaspoon in his food (used real pumpkin not baby food). I continued the practice with Ruby. My daughter doesn't like plain pumpkin anymore just pumpkin pie!

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  8. The boys LOVE pumpkin and it is great for their tummies. Thanks for the "how-to" information.

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  9. You know, I've never actually thought about making my own pumpkin for my dogs! I don't give it to them all of the time but I do sometimes for a treat or if, like you said, they are having potty issues. I usually just by the can, take out what I plan to use for the next few days, and freeze the rest for later.

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  10. I love giving my girls pumpkin, because Lola tends to get constipated and Lexy gets hairballs. I've never made them fresh pumpkin before, though. I'll have to give this a try - especially this time of year!

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  11. Pumpkin offers great nutrients as well as beneficial fiber. Interestingly, didn't agree with Jasmine. No orange vegetables agreed with her.

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  12. I always bake and boil pumpkin and squash and sweet potatoes for the whole family including Kilo the Pug. We all LOVE pumpkin and it has so many benefits. I also buy the pure puree in a can and add it to food and treats. So yummy.

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  13. Yum, I wonder if it's too late to buy pumpkins. I like to spoon the puree into silicone molds and freeze it to make treats.

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  14. I know pumpkin can be good for cats, too, but my girls don't really like it.

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  15. My dogs enjoy canned pumpkin puree, but this looks pretty easy to make! I'll have to try and make them some.

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  16. Yes. Pumpkin works. I remember when my Dusty was alive and had an issue with constipation I fed her pumpkin. It works! Pumpkin has good benefits.

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  17. Great (and delicious) post, Cathy! We love pumpkin over here! I have added this yummy healthy food to my FiveSibes for many years and touted it's benefits, including helping my Epi-dog to lose weight! Love how your videos show folks the simplicity to preparing the pumpkin! Awesome job! I'm hungry now! ;-)

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  18. I absolutely love giving Luke pumpkin. It's even fun to grow my own, but this year our crop didn't do very well. So we often have to buy the canned as well.
    Did you know you can just bake the whole pumpkin in the oven, and then take it apart? It comes apart easier that way.
    A bonus for us is that the strings and seeds are also very healthy for our chickens! :) If i'm not cooking them for Luke, then we just cut them in half and let the girls peck at them. The pumpkin seeds are a good de-wormer for them.
    Oh, and pumpkin is good for cats as well! Our picky Samantha even likes it when I add a little puree to her food.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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