You may have heard that pumpkin is good for dogs but do you know how and why? If you’re a pet parent, you’ll want to know about the health benefits of this beautiful vine plant for your canine kid.
Pumpkin is a fabulously fibrous food and good for our furry friends. Fiber of course, means good digestive health for both humans and animals. But pumpkin is good for dogs for a few additional reasons which we will explore here… and most all dogs love the taste of this gorgeous gourd added to their supper bowl. Good canine health and deliciousness? I’d say it’s a Win-Win.
What Kind of Pumpkin do I Feed My Dog?
This is a very common and very crucial question, because there are so many pumpkin products available today. I tell dog owners to stick to pumpkin products made specifically for pets. This way you can’t go wrong.
All the different pumpkin products made for human consumption, such as pumpkin pie filling, pureed pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin sauce, salty pumpkins seeds and pumpkin seed oil, may not be safe for canine consumption. It can be very confusing and it’s best not to try to sort out what’s O.K. and what’s not O.K. to give your dog.
After all, we’re going for the healthy benefits of pumpkin, not the harmful additives of human pumpkin products. In fact, some of these products contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. You definitely don’t want to feed your precious pooch something you’ll both regret.
The good news is, there is an abundance of pumpkin products created just for pets. They are readily available and come in different forms; And since they are relatively inexpensive, the healthy benefits far outweigh the cost.
Constipation can happen now and then to dogs of any age, but as your pet gets older and approaches his senior years, you may notice this condition occurring more often. Older dogs are more prone to constipation for a few reasons:
- As your dog gets older, muscle tone in his digestive tract begins to weaken and the process of food digestion is not as efficient as it was when he was younger.
- Overall canine muscle mass tends to decrease with age which contributes to a lower metabolism.
- Most senior dogs slow down on the amount of exercise they get as they age. Exercise stimulates healthy digestion and if the dog becomes mostly inactive, this contributes to constipation.
- If your pet is taking a certain drug for a specific condition (such as antihistamines for allergies), this can also result in irregular bowel movements.
Keeping a few cans of pumpkin in the cupboard for an occasional bout of constipation is always a good idea. But if you have an older dog, you may want to consider adding it to his supper bowl on a routine basis. Healthy fiber levels create bulkier stools and the high water content in canned pumpkin softens the stools, resulting in healthier digestion and regular elimination.
If your dog is straining to defecate and not producing any stool, you should always seek veterinary attention. Having said that, most vets do recommend pumpkin for relief of constipation, and the proper dose is 1 teaspoon of canned pumpkin per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
It may seem strange that a natural cure for your dog’s constipation can also help with his diarrhea, but such is the nature of this delicious, nutritious, low calorie wonder food for pets.
For the occasional bout of upset-stomach-diarrhea, the high dietary fiber content in pumpkin acts like a sponge to absorb excess water in the gastrointestinal tract.
It doesn’t take much pumpkin to see improvement in your dog’s stool consistency: For small dogs, start with one half teaspoon of canned pumpkin. For large dogs, start with a tablespoon. You should see good results within a few hours, but you can slowly increase the amount if needed.
Be Aware: Doggie diarrhea can have several different causes. If your pet is experiencing chronic diarrhea (which means ‘constantly recurring, or persisting for a long time’), it’s not likely that pumpkin is going to help and you should consult your veterinarian. Certain diseases or intestinal parasites can cause chronic canine diarrhea and would require a different treatment altogether.
Pumpkin flesh and pumpkin seeds (specifically pumpkin seed oil) contain Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants to support healthy canine urinary function.
Pumpkin seed oil can not only prevent kidney stones from developing, but can help senior dogs with overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.
Here is another surprising added benefit of pumpkin seeds, especially for canine kids: Remarkably, pumpkin seeds have the ability to eliminate some intestinal parasites from your dog. They also support cardiovascular health, are rich in vitamins, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Indeed, Native Americans used pumpkins seeds to heal superficial wounds and as an anti-parastic agent.
If your Pudgy Pal could stand to lose a few pounds, adding pumpkin to his diet is a great way to help him lose weight without feeling deprived. The added fiber from a daily dose of delicious pumpkin mixed in with his regular meal can help him feel satisfied sooner.
You can also try reducing the amount of food you normally give him and replacing it with pumpkin. His tummy will feel just as full and most dogs consider it a tasty treat.
Beautiful Skin and Haircoat
Yet another reason that pumpkin is good for dogs is that it’s rich in zinc and vitamin A, both of which can contribute to your pet’s supple skin and lustrous haircoat. Pumpkin flesh also has a high water content, and this added moisture reduces dryness and causes your dog’s skin to flake less. It even decreases the amount of shedding he does (good news for your clothes and furniture).
Pumpkin is Good for Dogs!
Well, we’ve seen that this lovely, versatile orange wonder~squash is much more than just the beginnings of a frightening jack-o-lantern on All Hallows’ Eve or the main ingredient in a delicious dessert.
When it comes to our dogs, pumpkin is a superfood packed with nutrients, low in calories, high in fiber, rich in moisture content, and delicious. It can cure digestive ailments, improve skin and haircoat, support healthy urinary function, and even help your chubby chum lose weight. Like I mentioned earlier….Win-Win!
Thanks, for visiting My Geriatric Dog and reading about the ways that pumpkin is good for dogs. Please leave me any comments or questions you have in the comment section below, or share an experience you’ve had, relevant to the topic.