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Do you love Halloween season? If so, you are probably already carving your Jack O’Lantern with your furry pal by your side. As you do this, you may be asking yourself the question, “can my dog eat pumpkin?”
In this Ingredient Deep Dive on pumpkin for dogs, we explore the ways to safely treat your dog this Howl-oween! We also feature exclusive tips from Clinical Director at Castle Vets, Dr Katy Slatford!
Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin! In fact, pumpkin for dogs is a superfood. This means that it’s full of nutrients and packed with fibre. That's why you can commonly find it on dog food and treat labels!
However, while pumpkin is fine for dogs to eat, there are still some things to be aware of:
Prickly hairs cover the stems and leaves on fresh pumpkin. This can be harmful for your dog if they ingest it and can cause irritation to their mouth and throat.
Avoid giving your dog the skin of a pumpkin as this can be a choking hazard. Especially as if eaten in chunks, there is a risk of gut obstruction.
Dogs might struggle to digest raw pumpkin, so canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin pulp is gentler on their tummies.
Moderation is key! Just like with any treats. While pumpkin for dogs has many health benefits, it can do more harm than good if they eat too much.
But what about Pumpkin Seeds? We talked to Clinical Director Dr Katy Slatford at Castle Vets about all things Pumpkin:
“Raw pumpkin and large chunks of skin should be avoided as it can lead to choking or intestinal obstruction. Pumpkin seeds can be a tasty snack, but only feed a few and always supervise! Small dogs may struggle and each dog will tackle these differently."
When eaten in moderation, pumpkin for dogs is a nutritionally rich treat. It’s a fantastic source of fibre, iron, potassium, beta carotene, and vitamin A. Of course, this means pumpkin for dogs has several health benefits including:
As pumpkin is rich in potassium, it will help improve your fur friend’s muscle health and metabolism.
Pumpkin for dogs promotes healthy eyes and healthy improved skin and coat thanks to the vitamin A content.
Vitamin C in pumpkin promotes strong immunity.
Pumpkin features Beta Carotene for great eye health
The Pumpkin seeds are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, helping to reduce inflammation.
Pumpkin has a reputation as a cure for all doggy digestive issues! This is because pumpkin for dogs is a natural tummy soother (as long as eaten in moderation).
Pumpkin is also good for weight loss in dogs as it is high in fibre and low in calories.
Canned pumpkin in particular is good for stool softening in dogs. It’s known as a miracle for the digestive tract! So, if your dog is experiencing mild cases of constipation or upset stomach, turning to pumpkin might help.
Pumpkins offer many health benefits for dogs, so some pet owners make the mistake of giving their dogs too much.
So how much fresh or plain canned pumpkin can a dog consume? If you have a small to medium sized dog, one or two teaspoons of pumpkin twice a day should be fine. As for larger dogs, you can give them one or two tablespoons twice a day.
If your dog’s stool is too loose after eating pumpkin, reduce the amount you give them next time. Start small, gradually increase, but don't exceed the recommended amount.
We recommend always contacting your vet before making big changes to your dog’s diet. Dr Katy Slatford kindly shares more of her veterinary insights with us:
“Always feed pumpkin in moderation by adding it slowly into their diet. A shock to the gut can have the opposite effects to the desired ones and sudden seasonal treats can lead to worrying bouts of gastric upset. I’d recommend either adding a small amount to your dog’s meal or to a slow feeder such as the SodaPup slow feeders sold by WOOOF.”
She adds, “I personally would use natural puree’s. I find it more palatable and easier to pop into a slow feeder.”
Did you know canned pumpkin for dogs contains higher levels of fibre and nutrient concentration than fresh pumpkins do? It’s true! This is because fresh pumpkins contain more water, which dilutes the nutrients' concentration. It’s also affordable and easier to keep fresh once opened compared to fresh pumpkin.
As long as the canned pumpkin is 100% pure with no artificial sweeteners or sugars, then it’s safe for dogs. But it can be risky as canned pumpkin could contain Xylitol which is toxic to our fur friends. So, you must be careful what you choose!
The safest pumpkin for dogs is fresh pumpkin. It’s natural and still nutritiously rich, providing your dog with lots of vitamins and fibre.
Dr. Katy Slatford shares: “Fresh pumpkin for dogs is often better as there are no extra colours or flavourings. However, I would recommend cooking and blitzing it into a puree!”
Ultimately, it’s down to you and your dog. Your pooch may prefer the taste of canned pumpkin over fresh pumpkin. Just always make sure that you read the ingredients on the label when choosing canned pumpkin.
Are you now ready to start including pumpkin in your lucky dog’s diet? Here are some of the best ways to serve pumpkin for dogs:
Pumpkin powder is great as you can add it straight into your pup’s current diet. The soluble fibre content that pumpkin powder contains adds bulk to your dog’s waste by absorbing water. Fibre fermentation makes good fats for cells, boosts intestinal sodium, and reduces PH levels in the large intestine.
That’s not all either. Pumpkin powder contains prebiotics that stimulate good bacteria growth in your pooch's intestines and inhibit bad bacteria growth.
It's no wonder pumpkin for dogs is known to help with upset stomachs!
You can add pumpkin to your dog's diet by using delicious dog treats that contain the ingredient. For example, the Pumpkin Spice Wag Butter is loved by dogs (and humans!) It’s a canine superfood suited for dogs nutritional needs.
Pumpkin Spice Wag Butter has an ideal balance of complete protein, healthy fats, essential vitamins, and pre-biotic fibre. It promotes healthy digestion, muscles, joints, skin, and fur coats. Therefore, it’s an ideal treat of pumpkin for dogs and a great place to start.
Another fun way to give your dog some pumpkin, is through Pumpkin Safe Dog-Friendly Bubbles! Yes, even dogs can enjoy some fun with bubble blowing. Your dog will love the pumpkin flavour as they jump to reach the bubbles as you blow them.
Consider yourself a nifty chef? You can also make dog-friendly pumpkin recipes too that your furry friend will love this Howl-oween season! Before starting, always ensure to thoroughly research the ingredients you plan to use and make sure they are dog friendly.
At WOOOF, we recommend the Pumpkin Seed and Banana Dog Treat Baking Pouch and the Pumpkin Seed and Banana Biscuit Baking Kit. The combination of pumpkin and banana is perfect for making some drool-worthy snacks for your four-legged friend.
Katy adds, “Why not mix some pumpkin with your dog’s normal food and either bake or freeze into tasty treats?” We second this great idea; your dog will be jumping for joy for the chilled delicious snack!
We hope this Ingredient Deep Dive has been insightful on the matter of pumpkin for dogs.
We’d like to thank the lovely Katy for contributing her knowledge to this article. You can find her adorable pup on Instagram at @ginnytheterrier!
If you have any further questions, we recommend contacting your vet before adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet.
Otherwise, we hope you have a Happy Halloween and cheerful Autumn season with your furry friend.