10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

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8 Minute Read
 | Amy Dyck
Updated April 27, 2021

There are many benefits of pumpkin for dogs! Pumpkin is everywhere. It’s delicious, nutritious, and easy to come by.

But can dogs eat pumpkin, too? Is pumpkin suitable for dogs? Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds? What about pumpkin puree for dogs? What can pumpkin do for dogs?

While you’re sipping on your favourite pumpkin spice latte, can your dog savour his own pumpkin treat? Turns out, the fall staple is not only a great treat for people (minus the sugar and pastries, perhaps), but it makes an excellent treat and supplement for a dog or cat!

Canned Pumpkin or Fresh Pumpkin?

If you want to feed your dog the healthiest pumpkin, then you should buy plain canned pumpkin. You would think fresh is better than canned, but that rule doesn’t apply in this case. Both fresh and canned pumpkins are indeed good sources of nutrients and fibre. Canned pumpkin for dogs is not only very beneficial for your dog’s health but also delicious. 

However, canned pumpkin contains a higher concentration of fibre and nutrients compared to fresh pumpkin. How can that be? It is because fresh pumpkin has more water than canned pumpkin making canned pumpkin for dogs even more beneficial than fresh pumpkin.

Why Should I Feed My Dog Pumpkin?

One of the main drawbacks of commercial dog foods is that they are often low in B vitamins and fibre. This nutritional deficiency is why most commercial foods are considered to be poor in nutrition. Even if the formula may claim to provide B vitamins, fibre, antioxidants and other health benefits, they will usually not contain enough to help alleviate constipation or other digestion problems dogs experience.

That’s why many vets and professionals recommend enhancing your dog’s regular kibble diet with additional supplements that offer the right amounts of vitamins and other needed nutrients. In particular, regular feeding of diets high in fibre and insoluble fibre has been shown to help ease your doggo’s constipation. This is where pumpkin for dogs becomes helpful in your dog’s diet.

Dogs are subject to several dietary deficiencies, which can cause significant health problems. Some of the most common are inadequate protein, iron, copper, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E. All of these can lead to reduced immunity, cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

Feeding dogs foods with high amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K are essential for maintaining good health, mainly protecting against heart disease, cancer and dogs with a genetic predisposition to these diseases. 

Though dogs cannot eat only fruits and vegetables, feeding them as a special treat or mixing them in with their protein source is a wonderful way to ensure they’re getting enough nutrients. This is where pumpkin for dogs works great! Even baked pumpkin seeds provide an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E with fibre to help maintain proper bowel elimination. Pumpkin seeds offer reasonable amounts of antioxidants and B vitamins.

Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

Pumpkin boasts the following health benefits for dogs. Read on to discover how much pumpkin to give a dog:

1. Pumpkin is Nutrient-Rich

If you look at the nutritional information for one cup of cooked pumpkin (USDA Nutritional Database), you can see that pumpkin is low in calories, but rich in a host of essential vitamins and minerals.

Pumpkin, the orange beauty that it is, contains a high concentration of vitamin A (beta-carotene). It also contains a lot of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, improves muscle health, and assists in metabolism.

It also contains smaller amounts of a variety of healthy nutrients, including Vitamin C, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Folate, to name a few. Naturally, canned pumpkin for dogs is a great alternative if you do not have fresh pumpkin in stock.

How much pumpkin to give a dog

2. Pumpkin Benefits Eyes

Vitamin A is essential for your eye health, and it’s no different when it comes to your dog. Vitamin A promotes eye health and the development of night blindness and other eye degeneration.

Since Vitamin A is fat-soluble, pumpkin puree for dogs with a little healthy oil will make the nutrients pack more punch.

Mix your pup’s pumpkin on top of his regular food, or mix in a little flax oil for a healthy, satisfying treat.

3. Pumpkins Boost Immune Health

Vitamin C is integral for immune health all-around. When combined with vitamin A (beta-carotene), E, and other antioxidants in pumpkin for dogs, it can possibly help prevent certain cancers from developing.

Antioxidants help destroy free radicals, or “oxidants” in your pet’s system, like yours. While oxidants are a natural part of everyone’s immune system, too many oxidants can contribute to cancers and damage the body.

Boost your pet’s immune system by including fresh sources of antioxidants, such as those found in pumpkin.

4. Pumpkins Moisturize Skin & Coat

A number of nutrients in pumpkin, including vitamin A and zinc, improve your pet’s skin and coat. The high water content in pumpkin flesh also contributes to supple skin and a lustrous coat.

In addition to making your pet’s coat shine and look fantastic, the added moisture causes the skin to flake less and less hair to be shed on your carpets, furniture, and clothes.

5. Pumpkin Seeds Prevent Urinary Incontinence

Don’t just look to the pumpkin flesh for your pet’s health – give him a taste of the seeds, too! Pumpkin seeds and flesh contain antioxidants and the seeds, in particular, contain a healthy dose of Omega 3 fatty acids.

These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help dislodge kidney stones. In addition, pumpkin seed powder is known to prevent urinary incontinence, which is the reduced ability to hold in urine.

6. Pumpkins Encourage Digestive Regularity

A sign of your dog’s good health is whether he is pooping normally. Hard stools or those that are difficult to pass put a strain on your dog’s intestines.

Adding a little pumpkin to your dog’s diet supplies the necessary source of fibre to enable your dog to pass stool easily and cure constipation. Pumpkin for a dog’s upset stomach has so many benefits. 

Did you know dogs can get acid reflux? Yes, they can and you can use pumpkin for acid reflux in dogs! Adding pumpkin puree for dogs through their diet is perfect for controlling constipation and diarrhea.

Though it may defy understanding, pumpkins have the unique ability to cure both constipation and diarrhea in your dog.

If your pet’s stool is a little loose, a little pumpkin for dogs can add bulk and form to your dog’s poop. The key is to understand how much pumpkin you should feed your dog, which we will discuss further.

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7. Pumpkin Can Help Naturally Control Parasites

Parasites, such as tapeworms, can wreak havoc with your dog’s digestive system and cause unpleasant symptoms including weight loss, nutrient deficiency, dry skin, and a shabby coat.

Pumpkin has high amounts of an amino acid cucurbitacin, which is actually toxic to many common dog parasites and has been used to expel worms in ruminating animals.

Grinding up a teaspoon or two of pumpkin seeds and mixing them into canned food (or a little canned pumpkin!) is a good preventative measure, but don’t skip out on your pet’s usual treatment.

8. Pumpkins Aid in Weight Loss

Pumpkins have a high moisture and fibre content, which makes them a powerful tool for your pet’s weight loss.

Replacing a little of your dog’s regular food with canned pumpkin (a few teaspoons for a small dog up to half a cup with a large dog) can help your dog lose some excess water and weight.

The fibre and water in the pumpkin will keep them full, so they don’t miss the extra calories.

9. Pumpkin Hydrates

Many dogs fed a kibble-only diet suffer from mild, but chronic dehydration. Dry dog food has very low moisture content and dogs do not possess a very strong thirst drive.

This means that getting extra moisture into your dog through drinking can be difficult. But the high moisture content of pumpkin adds more water to your dog’s diet easily and naturally.

10. Pumpkin Tastes Great

Like many people, dogs relish the rich, creamy flavour of pumpkin. And anyone who has tried to feed a dog something healthy that does not taste like goodwill appreciates this benefit thoroughly.

Most dogs willingly lap up even plain cooked pumpkin. But go ahead and add a pinch of cinnamon or honey to that pumpkin puree for dogs for a tasty treat.

10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

How Much Pumpkin Do I Feed My Dog?

While this seasonal treat can be a fantastic addition to your dog’s complete diet, you must feed the correct amount of pumpkin. It’s unlikely that your dog will overdose on any natural nutrient by consuming too much pumpkin.

Still, if your dog overeats pumpkin, it could lead to a nutritional deficiency somewhere else or could mean your dog is getting too few calories. So how much pumpkin for dogs is optimal?

Generally, 1 tsp of canned (or cooked and pureed) pumpkin per 10 lbs of body weight per day is a good standard to go by. If your dog has a health condition such as diabetes, please talk to your vet before feeding the pumpkin to your dog.

As a general rule, treats (including fruits and vegetables) should never exceed 10% of your pet’s daily caloric needs.

Before feeding pumpkin seeds to your dog, you should know they are high in fat and should be fed more sparingly. One ground-up pumpkin seed per 10 lbs of body weight per day is a safe amount.

For puppies and very small or underweight dogs, only feed pumpkin in tiny amounts as a treat.

Are Pumpkin Seeds Good For Dogs?

Have you ever wondered if pumpkin seeds for dogs are okay? Well if you were thinking, can giving dog pumpkin seeds help make my dog better, the answer would be yes.

Pumpkin seeds for dogs are even more helpful than the actual pumpkin itself.

Pumpkin seeds contain a lot of vitamins and minerals your dog may lack, such as vitamin A, vitamin B, magnesium, folic acid, calcium, zinc, and niacin.

They also contain trace minerals such as manganese, potassium, iron, and sodium. Pumpkin seeds are also full of antioxidants, which help prevent heart disease, stroke, cancer, and dementia.

So while you're at the dog park or taking your dog to the vet, remember to load up on pumpkin seeds.

How Do I Serve Pumpkin to My Dog?

Your dog can enjoy pumpkin in a variety of ways. Many pumpkin treats, canned foods for dogs containing pumpkin, and pumpkin supplements can easily be fed to your dog.

For their safety, ensure that you provide your dog only supplements and treats designed with dogs in mind. Simple canned pumpkins can also be fed to your dog, but be careful not to feed pumpkin pie filling or any canned pumpkin with added sweeteners or spices.

Cans should be good for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator, portion out, and freeze in individual servings for a longer-lasting alternative (ice cube trays work perfectly). Store these properly to avoid freezer burn, which can affect taste and nutrient density.

You can also make your dog treats from canned pumpkin, but make sure that you include only safe ingredients for dogs in your recipes. Check out our favourite homemade pumpkin dog treat recipes for ideas.  

You can also feed your dog cooked pumpkin that you make at home. Prick a few holes in a pumpkin and bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes.

Cube or puree for a tasty, home-cooked dog treat! While raw pumpkin is safe for dogs, the flavour and texture improve with cooking.

Pumpkin seeds can also be fed to your dog, providing many benefits. Soaking seeds makes them more digestible, so shell and soak your pumpkin seeds overnight. Once dried, they can be ground and added to your dog's meals or favourite treat recipes

Pass the Pumpkin!

how much pumpkin to give a dog

Is pumpkin good for dogs? Pumpkin is one of the most healthy foods you can feed your dog. With so many benefits, it is unrivalled by just about any other food choice. It is a versatile food for humans and dogs alike, so why not indulge together!

Additionally, dogs tend to love pumpkin, so why not feed them something so nutritious and a treat they love.

Does your dog benefit from pumpkin? Let us know how you incorporate pumpkin into your dog's diet in the comments below!

Written by

Amy Dyck

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