Fall is quickly upon us and with that comes some of our favorite treats: pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. From lattes to pies, pumpkin is truly a staple of autumn. However, what many pet parents may not realize is that pumpkin (in it's organic, natural pureed form) is also highly beneficial for Fido.
In this article, we'll cover all of the ways that pumpkin for dogs should be the newest addition to your dog's life.
Is Pumpkin Good For Dogs
The short answer is yes! Pumpkin is, in fact, good for dogs. That's right. Pumpkin can help treat a slew of ailments from digestive issues to eliminating intestinal worms to giving your pup a shiny, healthy coat. The best part is, pumpkin can be given all year round to help your four-legged friend stay healthy and happy even when it isn't the fall season.
What is Pumpkin
Pumpkin is so much more than a delicious filling to one of your favorited pies. It is actually a squash plant that is native to North America. If you've ever carved a pumpkin for Halloween you know first hand that the inside of the pumpkin is made up of a pulpy consistency and chock full of seeds.
What are Pumpkin Seeds
Speaking of seeds... Many people may not realize just how beneficial pumpkin seeds are. These oval, flat seeds are full of antioxidants, vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals. The seeds are also rich in lipids (a beneficial fat for your dog's diet).
Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
Many pet parents constantly find themselves searching for holistic, natural alternatives to conventional medications. It makes sense. The more you research the harmful (and potentially irreversible) side effects of the vast majority of conventional drugs, the more you hope there's another way. The good news is, there likely is. In fact, many natural alternatives not only ease the dog's current ailment but also simultaneously relieve others and prevent future conditions from developing.
Pumpkin is just one of these natural alternatives that not only helps your pup's current condition but also benefits Fido in a multitude of other ways. Fun fact, the conversation surrounding the health benefits of pumpkin may be new information for some of our readers, but it certainly isn't newly found knowledge. In fact, Native Americans used pumpkin to promote the healing of wounds and to fight intestinal parasites.
We love knowing that pumpkin isn't only a tasty treat, but a means to heal and protect. Let's take a look at all of the ways pumpkin may be able to help your four-legged friend.
Pumpkin for Dog Diarrhea
One of the most common uses of canned pumpkin is for dogs suffering from diarrhea. Canned pumpkin is an excellent source of soluble fiber and contains essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, canned pumpkin also contains vitamins A, E, C, potassium, and iron. The natural fibers and essential vitamins of the pumpkin helps to slow down digestion by adding bulk to the dog's stool by absorbing water.
Experts recommend mixing your dog's normal food with a tablespoon of canned pumpkin. Many pet parents report that they are shocked at how quickly the pumpkin words to clear up their dog's loose stools.
With that being said, it is important to recognize if your dog's diarrhea persists after the pumpkin supplement is added. If this is the case, we encourage you to take Fido to the veterinarian. Dog diarrhea is what is known as a non-specific symptom. Diarrhea itself isn't an illness but rather a symptom of something else and a non-specific symptom may be a sign of a whole slew of ailments. If the diarrhea continues, do not use pumpkin as a "band-aid" effect. It's imperative to get to the root of what is causing it in the first place.
Dog Constipation Treatment
Interestingly enough, while pumpkin is a great remedy for diarrhea, it is equally effective at easing constipation. Naturally increasing the amount of soluble fiber in your dog's diet will also help move things along in a comfortable way. When you use canned pumpkin puree to help Fido's digestive issues, your dog won't be racing to the grass to use the bathroom. Pumpkin is gentle, unlike conventional drugs that aid to relieve constipation. If you've had to deal with medicines for constipation relief you know how... messy... it can be.
Experts recommend adding 1 to 4 tablespoons of canned pumpkin to Fido's normal food. Additionally, always make sure that your pup has plenty of fresh water. Dehydration can be a direct link to constipation and will certainly make current constipation even worse than it already is.
Treatment for Dog Upset Stomach
There are a number of reasons why your dog may be suffering from an upset stomach. One of the most common reasons is a change in food. First, if you are switching up your dog's food, be it brands, meats, etc., always do it gradually. There are very few dogs whose stomachs can handle an immediate change. Slowly introduce the new food by mixing it with the old in slow increments. In addition to gradually introducing the new food, pet owners can add pumpkin to help ease and comfort the digestive tract. Again, 1-4 teaspoons should do the trick and most pet parents say that they see results almost straight away.
With that said, an upset stomach is yet again another non-specific symptom. Therefore, if diarrhea, constipation, or an upset stomach seemingly come out of nowhere or continue to happen, we recommend seeing a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. An upset stomach may be due to allergies, ulcers, gastrointestinal dysfunction, etc. At the end of the day, it's important to know exactly what is going on in order to treat the condition appropriately.
Pumpkin for Weight Loss & Management
Dogs who suffer from obesity or struggle with weight management can also benefit from pureed pumpkin. Of course, we think that Fido is adorable no matter what the scale says, but weight can really affect your dog's quality of life. Adding pumpkin to your dog's diet can help tremendously to regulate the dog's weight. Additionally, replacing a portion of your dog's normal food with pumpkin is a great way to promote weight loss due to pumpkin being a low calorie yet highly nutritional food source.
Pumpkin Vitamin Benefits | Pumpkin Nutrition
As we previously mentioned, pumpkin has a ton of nutritional benefits which come from the fact that it is chock full of vitamins. For instance, vitamin A greatly helps with vision and vitamin C effectively helps boost the immune system. Just like humans, our furry friends can catch colds. Vitamin C is a great way to ensure that your pup's health is always in check. Additionally, vitamin C is very important for dogs who are getting older as it helps protect their joints.
None of us like to admit that our beloved pup is getting older. While we can't turn back time, we can make sure that our dog's diet is loaded with nutrients to help them age gracefully. Pumpkin is loaded with vitamin a beta-carotene which is an antioxidant that actually helps slow the aging process and protects the dog's body as they grow into their senior years.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds for Dogs
Remarkably, the benefits of pumpkin don't stop with pumpkin puree. In fact, pumpkin seeds are full of nutrients themselves. Incredibly, pumpkin seeds are an effective deworming agent. The seeds have the ability to eliminate intestinal parasites. We previously mentioned that pumpkin as a medicinal means isn't something "new." Native Americans used pumpkin seeds as an anti-parasitic and to heal wounds. On top of that, the seeds have anti-inflammatory properties, promote cardiovascular health, and are also rich in vitamins.
Worms in Dogs
We want to get a little more in-depth about worms in dogs, particularly since pumpkin seeds can eliminate them.
Worms are relatively common in dogs. They are typically ingested through drinking contaminated water and can wreak havoc on your pup's digestive system. Luckily, there are signs to look out for, including:
- Frequent diarrhea
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Mucus in or covering the stool
- Rice looking matter in stool
If you believe that your dog may have worms due to any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is best to have them properly diagnosed by a veterinarian. Try not to panic. Worms can be treated but you'll want to ensure that worms are at the root cause of the digestive issues and there isn't another condition needing to be dealt with.
Another fun fact! Pumpkin seeds can also eliminate intestinal worms and parasites in humans. Pretty cool, in our opinion.
Pumpkin seeds also contain antioxidants and fatty acids that promote a healthy urinary function. This means they can help treat and prevent conditions like painful urinary tract infections.
Additionally, pumpkin seeds, specifically pumpkin seed oil, also help aging dogs that struggle with incontinence or an overactive bladder.
Finally, pumpkin seeds can also prevent kidney stones from developing!
How Much Pumpkin?
By now, you're likely sold on the idea of integrating some tasty pumpkin into your dog's life. In terms of how much pumpkin, typically 1 to 4 tablespoons of canned pumpkin is a good place to start. You can mix the pumpkin puree in with your dog's normal food. Chances are, they will love the taste. This is an ideal dosage for diarrhea, constipation, or an upset stomach associated with changing food.
We do want to mention that with everything, we recommend starting off slowly. Yes, pumpkin is all natural and safe, but you don't need to overload Fido with a brand new supplement when their stomach is already in a fragile state. 1 to 4 teaspoons will certainly do the trick!
In terms of using canned or pureed pumpkin for weight loss or weight management, begin by substituting one tablespoon of canned pumpkin for ¼ a cup of food. Of course, gage your pup's eating habits to make sure they aren't acting too hungry with the new change. However, because pumpkin is so rich in nutrients and vitamins, the substitution usually works great.
What is the Best Canned Pumpkin for Dogs
It's important to note that there is a particular type of pumpkin that is good for dogs. Not all canned pumpkin is the same. You'll want to buy plain, canned pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling or canned pumpkin pie. These products may contain xylitol, which is toxic for pets.
Additionally, you'll want to avoid pumpkin that has added salt, spices, or sugar. These additives can prove to have the opposite effect of what you're hoping for and actually make your dog's digestive issues even worse.
Keeping all of that in mind, we recommend that you purchase canned pumpkin over fresh pumpkin. It may come as a surprise, but canned pumpkin contains a higher percentage of fiber and nutrients than fresh pumpkin does. Just be sure to read the labels. There is no need for anything other than 100% pumpkin to be in the can of goodness. Keep it natural whenever you can! (That goes for just about everything in your dog's life)
Once you find your favorite canned pumpkin, many pet owners opt to make homemade dog treats. Pumpkin dog treats are a wonderful way to reward Fido in a health-conscious way. They won't even realize that the delicious treat is actually benefitting them in so many ways!
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds
Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin seeds, but there are a few things that you should know! First, make sure that the pumpkin seeds are unsalted. Again, natural is best. Additionally, it’s best that the pumpkin seeds are roasted and de-shelled.
We want to mention that it's common for dogs to not be over-the-moon with the idea of chowing down on the slippery, oval seeds. If this is the case, don't worry, there's a solution! Simply grind the pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder and sprinkle over Fido's food bowl. This additive makes for a great source of protein and fiber.
**Note! Make sure that the pumpkin seeds are stored in a sealed tight ziplock bag. Pumpkin seeds can spoil and become toxic if they are left out for too long.
As with everything, we always recommend consulting with your holistic vet when treating specific ailments. This will ensure that your dog is getting the exact treatment that they need.
Pumpkin for Dogs: The Bottom Line
We know that you want what's best for your dog. Here at Honest Paws, we are all dog owners and animal lovers. Therefore, we understand how concerning it can be when your dog isn't feeling quite like themselves. We also understand how confusing it can be when a routine vet check leads to prescription medications, some which you may not be able to pronounce.
Luckily, there is hope. Holistic and all-natural alternatives are finally starting to the attention that they deserve and we are so grateful. The fact that we have the ability to choose how we heal and prevent illnesses is remarkable. Gone are the days where conventional medications are mandatory. Instead, supplements like CBD and even pumpkin are changing the lives of humans and dogs alike.
Even if your pup isn't suffering from digestive issues, switch it up! Instead of the typical peanut butter treat, give pumpkin a shot. We have so many ways to effectively and safely ensure that our dogs are happy and healthy. It's worth finding what is best for your furbaby.
Chelsea Rivera is a holistic pet wellness expert and writer. She manages written content for Honest Paws - a company that specializes in CBD oil for dogs and cats.
Additionally, she is the founder and lead writer for SimpleWag, which focuses on holistic wellness and natural alternatives for dogs. She spends her days creating content, catching up on emails, and being bossed around by her 5 lb. Maltipoo, Baby Rose.