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Is Pumpkin Bad for Dogs?

by Irene Hislop

25 May 2020

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We don’t eat as much pumpkin on this side of the Atlantic as they do in North America, but like peanut butter and donuts, it is making inroads. And because our dogs usually want whatever we’re having, many pet parents are wondering is pumpkin bad for dogs? It’s important to do a little research before sharing any people food with our fur babies, so let’s look at pumpkin for dogs. Can dogs eat pumpkin? Is pumpkin safe for dogs? Do dogs like pumpkin? In short, yes, yes and yes!

can-dogs-eat-pumpkin

First, like with anything else we eat and consider sharing with our pets, it depends on how it is prepared. Fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs served plain are not safe when prepared with sauces, seasonings and other potentially dangerous additives. In other words, not all pumpkin-based foods are equal. If pumpkin soup includes onion and garlic, it is not safe for dogs. If pumpkin pie contains xylitol, it is extremely dangerous. Of course, anything pumpkin with added chocolate is absolutely poison for dogs. But plain, cooked pumpkin is not only safe for dogs, it offers some nutritional benefits for them.

Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

Cooked pumpkin is an excellent source of fibre, so it is good for your dog’s digestion. It is also a good source of Vitamins A, C and E as well as potassium, calcium and beta carotene. Dogs tend to like the taste of pumpkin, so getting them to eat it is not a problem. It’s filling but also low in calories. Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants, which also benefits your dog.

If your dog has problems with digestion, adding some pumpkin to their diet can whether they tend toward constipation or diarrhoea. That’s because of the type of fibre pumpkin offers. The soluble fibre in pumpkin absorbs water as it moves through your dog’s digestive system, so it helps with diarrhoea. It’s also a prebiotic, encouraging good bacteria to grow in the gut while discouraging bad bacteria. Pumpkin also helps constipated dogs, but it is important to make sure your dog is drinking enough water to avoid dehydration. If your dog still has problems after a few days with pumpkin in their diet, or if they show other symptoms beyond mild constipation or diarrhoea, it is important to contact your vet to diagnose exactly what is wrong and to find the most effective approach to help your pet.

Can dogs eat pumpkin if they are overweight? Yes! Dogs who love their food too much can easily put on more weight than is healthy. It’s hard to see them acting hungry and not be able to give them anything! But you can offer some cooked pumpkin in addition to low calorie treats such as Leader Train Me treats. Adding some cooked pumpkin to their food helps them feel fuller and more satisfied after a meal, even if the meal is a bit smaller than they have been used to getting.

Best Ways to Feed Pumpkin to Dogs

If you think pumpkin would benefit your dog, the next question is how can dogs eat pumpkin? Dogs can eat pumpkin safely in a few ways. If you can get plain tinned pumpkin – not tinned pumpkin pie filling, which includes sweeteners and spices – you can add a few spoons to your dog’s dry food. They don’t need much. A teaspoon is plenty for a small dog such as a Yorkie, while a larger dog such as a Golden Retriever or a German Shepherd can have four teaspoons. You can also scrape out a pumpkin and cook the inside flesh yourself and use that. The easiest way to give your dog the benefits of pumpkin is with Red Mills Go Native Dental Super Sticks with Pumpkin and Broccoli. A dental stick a day also helps keep their teeth healthy and free of tartar build up. Plus, your dog will look forward to this treat every day.

Not all cooked pumpkin is equal. While plain cooked pumpkin is a great addition to your dog’s diet, pumpkin cooked with spices or seasonings can pose a danger. The pumpkin itself is fine, but ingredients such as garlic, onion, xylitol and the like are unsafe for dogs. So no pumpkin spice lattes or pumpkin soups for our furry friends.

Raw pumpkin is not good for your dog. They don’t digest it very well, so it offers no real benefit to a dog suffering from constipation or diarrhoea. If the pumpkin still has leaves or vine attached, those are prickly and can be painful to your dog. So if you are growing pumpkin in your garden, it is wise to make sure your dog can’t get at it. Puppies can mistake the round gourds for balls, which isn’t great for the pup or the garden!

Pumpkins for Pups

red mills go native dental sticks for dogs healthy grain free high meat content dental sticks with carrot and sweet potato

To sum up, dogs can eat pumpkin. Plain, cooked pumpkin is a wonderful source of fibre for dogs that can help with both constipation and diarrhoea. It is also a wholesome source of Vitamins A, C and E as well as potassium, calcium and beta carotene. But it is important to only give them plain, cooked pumpkin and never feed dogs raw pumpkin or pumpkin prepared with ingredients that are harmful to them. And of course, the easiest way to give your dog the benefits of pumpkin is with Go Native Dental Super Sticks with Pumpkin and Broccoli.

Irene Hislop

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