Pumpkin For Dogs – The Ultimate Superfood

Yesterday, a friend asked me about how much pumpkin they should feed their dog for a stomach issue, for how long etc; Her question inspired me to write today’s post. This one’s for you Kathleen.

Pumpkin has many health benefits for dogs and is one food that pet owners can feel confident about safely adding to their dog’s regular diet as pumpkin is very nutritious for dogs. 

Pumpkin provides a natural source of many beneficial vitamins and nutrients:

  • Potassium – an electrolyte essential for muscular contraction and recovery from activity
  • Vitamin C – one cup of pumpkin contains at least 11mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a vital for its antioxidants and boosts the immune system. Vitamin C also helps dogs with joint problems.
  • Beta-Carotene. – beneficial for preventing cancer. Just look at a pumpkin’s bright orange color. You can literally see how rich it is in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene also helps to slow down the aging process. 
  • Zinc – will help improve skin and coat
  • Vitamin A – which is important for your dog’s vision health
  • Fiber – for weight loss, stomach upset, constipation, diarrhea, colitis 

Pumpkin is a great solution if you are looking to help your dog lose a few pounds. Use pumpkin for weight loss by reducing a portion of their food and replacing it with the same portion of canned pumpkin. Adding pumpkin helps dogs on diets since it contains nearly three grams of fiber for a single cup serving size. Fiber helps to promote a sense of fullness and reduces the physiological urge to consume larger volumes of food.

Additionally, fiber can help with your dog’s constipation. As your dog gets older, constipation can become more frequent, a severe problem. Increasing fiber levels can help to create more stool bulk. This helps to stimulate your dog’s colon wall and promotes contraction of the muscles responsible for moving stool from your pet’s digestive tract. Pumpkin also assists in helping tummy troubles such as diarrhea since pumpkin flesh contains soluble fiber, which will help slow down your dog’s digestion, and can help manage diarrhea by absorbing water.

As for pumpkin seeds, they have been found to be high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants; this helps keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy. The oils in pumpkin flesh and seeds are believed to support urinary health, so it is thought that dogs with urinary incontinence will benefit from a little pumpkin in their diet.

Since pumpkin is composed of 90% water, it can be a healthy addition of moisture to any dog’s diet, but it is particularly beneficial for those pets whose diets consists of dehydrated kibble. Since kibble can require an increased secretion of gastric acid and pancreatic enzymes to help with your dog’s digestion, a moisture-deficient pet food like kibble can have a dehydrating effect on your pet. The addition of moisture rich foods such as pumpkin to your dog’s diet can help reduce this dehydrating effect. Adding pumpkin to your dog’s meals and or serving it as a healthy snack can help to promote an increased state of hydration for your dog.

So how much pumpkin should you feed your dog? 

A good amount to start with is feeding your dog 1 or 2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin. Start with this amount per day, depending on your dog’s size.

The easiest way to serve pumpkin to your pup is by purchasing canned pumpkin. Make sure it’s NOT pumpkin pie filling! You want 100% natural pumpkin! (please read the label and make sure there are no preservatives or anything else in there) You can also use a fresh pumpkin, but make sure to cook it. Serve your dog the insides of a fresh roasted or puréed pumpkin. Your dog will love it no matter which way you choose to serve it! 

ALWAYS consult with your own Veterinarian before adding something new to your pups diet!

Sources and further reading: 

https://www.morrisanimalinn.com/news/13-benefits-pumpkin-pets/

http://m.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/nutrition/3-health-benefits-pumpkin-dogs

https://www.petcha.com/pumpkin-and-dogs/