Pumpkin is a Miracle Food for Dogs
It’s fall you guys and you know what that means – pumpkin everything! Pumpkin carving, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie! Luckily, this is one sweet treat your pups can actually take part in, as pumpkin is great for dogs and a meal staple for a lot of furry critters. Pumpkin pie may be a classic fall dessert and comfort food for humans but it also regulates digestion and the oils contained in the seeds and flesh of pumpkins support urinary health in dogs and cats. Nice! It’s no wonder Cesar calls it the “miracle food” for dogs!
So why is pumpkin so great and how are pet parents using it for their pups? While raw pumpkin is not ideal, many pet parents are simply adding a dash of canned pumpkin to their dog’s food bowl, dolloping it on top or swishing it in with the rest of their food and a bit of warm water. Pumpkin can help with an upset stomach, and is known to promote a shiny coat and help with a pup’s immune system. Canned pumpkin is high in fiber, low in fat and cholesterol and loaded with beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamins A and C. The fiber alone in pumpkin can act as a binding solution through your dog’s digestive tract, absorbing excess water and therefore helping with things like diarrhea (and, funnily enough, constipation as well)!
Some vets have stated that the oils contained in the seeds and flesh of pumpkins support urinary health in dogs, especially if they have had kidney or bladder stones. Regularly adding pumpkin to a dog’s diet who has dealt with these issues can help with that. Our pups need fiber to stay regular just like we do, and pumpkin is a great source for that. Non-sweetened or spiced, pumpkin can help, and you just need to base the amount dispensed on the size of your dog. Tapeworms and other intestinal parasites become paralyzed by cucurbitacin, an amino acid found in pumpkin seeds that acts as a natural deworming agent. What works best for this is to grind up fresh or properly preserved pumpkin seeds into a powder and give your pup one teaspoon three times a day, mixed into a marble sized portion of canned food. Additionally, pumpkin is a great, whole-food source of carotenoids, and food based versions of beta-carotene yield a greater anticancer effect that supplemental based forms.
Pumpkin can also help with weight loss, so consider soaking dry kibble with a teaspoon of canned pumpkin for those looking to shed a few lbs. The mushy kibble makes them think they’re eating more, while the pumpkin fiber helps their tummies feel full. Lastly, the antioxidants and essential fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds can help moisturize your pet’s skin and fur from the inside out.
Overall, pumpkin can add a healthy punch of moisture to a dog’s diet, which is especially important for those dogs who consume highly processed and dehydrated kibble. Composed of nearly 90% water, pumpkin works great in contrast to many moisture-deficient pet foods that have a dehydrating effect on the body, as they require increased secretion of gastric acid and pancreatic enzymes to promote digestion. Adding pumpkin not only helps with that, but decreases heat in the dog’s body by doing so!
The best way to store leftover canned pumpkin is in the freezer, as it will only last about a week in the fridge. You could try putting extra canned pumpkin into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Then, you have little pumpkin pups to serve up or you can thaw them out as you need them!
This week on Kitchen Tails, Dog for Dog founder Rocky Kanaka walks you through how to make a pumpkin pie for dogs. Click the YouTube video to get his full recipe in the video description.
Five pumpkin-based recipes to make for your pup this fall:
- Pumpkin squeak treats
- Peanut butter and pumpkin treats
- Pumpkin coconut oil dog treats
- Pumpkin dog biscuits
- Pumpkin and molasses dog treats
Do you feed your dog pumpkin? Tell us about it in the comments, or let us know what other good-for-dogs human treats you love to share with your pup!