I just got back from the supermarket and they were selling all the pumpkins they had left from Halloween really cheap, so I decided to buy a load. I love pumpkin myself and it is also really good for the dogs too, so I thought today’s blog could be all about why pumpkin is good for dogs.
As I said before I love pumpkin and even the seeds are great to snack on. But pumpkin is also really nutritious for dogs too.
What is pumpkin?
When people generally think of pumpkins they think of Halloween, or pumpkin pie, but pumpkin is so much more than that. The pumpkin is part of the squash family which is a plant that is native to North America. If you have ever cut open a pumpkin you will see the inside is full of the flesh and pulp and seeds, and many people do not realise that the seeds of the pumpkin are just as beneficial and are great for dogs as well as humans. The seeds are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and they are also rich in lipids which are fatty acids that when broken down in the dog’s body are absorbed into the bloodstream and converted into energy.
Pumpkin is also composed of 90% water, and any foods which are rich in moisture are great for a dog to reduce any risks of dehydration, so adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet or given as a snack will increase your dogs hydration
What type of pumpkin should you feed your dog?
When talking about giving your dogs pumpkin, I am talking about natural pumpkin and not the tinned pumpkin pie filling that you can buy. The pie filling will sometimes include spices that are not good for your dog. You can, however, get tinned pumpkin that is suitable for dogs you just have to make sure it says that it is 100% pure pumpkin puree on the label, and when checking the ingredients list the only ingredient should be pumpkin or feed them fresh.
Pumpkin is a natural source of vitamins and nutrients that benefit dogs:
- Pumpkin contains vitamin A which is important for a dog’s eye health.
- Pumpkin contains vitamin C which is vital for antioxidants that support the immune system.
- Pumpkin contains Beta-Carotene, which is good for cancer prevention.
- Pumpkin is high in fiber which is good for digestion.
- Pumpkin contains Potassium which is an electrolyte that is essential for muscle contraction and also for helping with muscle recovery after activity.
- Pumpkin contains Iron which is good for red blood cells and hemoglobin which carries nutrients and oxygen through your dog’s body.
- Pumpkin contains Zinc which is good for your dog’s coat and skin.
Why pumpkin is good for dogs
Pumpkin is great for dogs as it helps promote a healthy digestive system, its high fiber content is especially good for dogs who suffer from diarrhea or constipation. Some vets will recommend adding a spoonful of pumpkin to your dog’s food if they are suffering from gastrointestinal issues.
Pumpkin is full of vitamins A and C, which help vision and the immune system in dogs. Also, pumpkin is low in calories so can be used as part of a weight loss program for dogs.
Pumpkin is also high in fiber, which is a prebiotic and helps promote good bacteria to grow in the gut, which is the main reason it is recommended for dogs that suffer from diarrhea.
Pumpkin seeds which are full of antioxidants are not only great for the skin and coat but the oils also support urinary health, so dogs that may suffer from incontinence may benefit from adding some pumpkin to their diet.
As with any new food you are introducing to your dogs you should always consult a veterinarian first.
A natural worm treatment for your dog
Worms can be a common problem for dogs, they can be picked up easily from things such as drinking contaminated water and can be passed on from mother to pup through their milk, and they can spread very rapidly through your dog’s digestive system. Another amazing thing about pumpkins is the seeds can be used to eliminate them.
The main signs that your dog may have worms are an upset stomach and bouts of frequent diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, also may be signs showing in their actual stools like mucus or what looks like grains of rice.
If you should notice any of these symptoms or think for whatever reason that your dog may be suffering from a worm infestation you should first always take them to a vet to be diagnosed. Do not worry as worms can be easily treated.
The seeds of most fruits are usually not advised to be consumed by dogs as they contain cyanide, but pumpkin seeds can be given to dogs and they actually prevent and also get rid of worms. They can be given as a treat or you can grind them up and add them to your dog’s meal, the recommended dose is a teaspoon for every 10 pounds of weight of your dog. Again consult your veterinarian if unsure. Check out this article in Dogs Naturally magazine which gives a list of natural treatments for worms.
So how much pumpkin should you feed your dog?
As with any new food you introduce to your dog’s you should start it gradually, typically add between one and four tablespoons, mixed in with your dog’s normal food, most dog’s love the taste of pumpkin, so can also help with getting a dog that usually is a fussy eater to eat their meals. Adding this amount is the right kind of dose for a dog with an upset stomach.
For people that make homemade dog food for their dog’s pumpkin is a great addition, it is a carbohydrate, so if you also add rice to your dog’s food take that into consideration. If you feed your dog store-bought food you can also mix it in with that, just reduce the amount of kibble or wet food you are adding it too.
So should we be feeding our dogs pumpkin?
The answer to this is yes! Pumpkin is a very good addition to your dog’s diet. It can help treat many ailments from digestion problems to eliminating worms or giving your dog a shiny, healthy coat and skin. Pumpkin can be given to your dog all year round not just when they are available when it’s Halloween to help your four-legged friend stay healthy and happy all year round.
Everyone wants what’s best for their dog, and sometimes when your dog is feeling under the weather a routine check at the vets can lead to a prescription and medication which although it may make them better can cause other issues. These days there are lots more holistic and natural alternatives available, and having the option to chose how we heal or prevent illnesses is amazing. Even if there is nothing wrong with your dog adding pumpkin to the diet is a great health benefit and preventative, and is definitely something worth considering to help keep your dog healthy and happy safely.