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10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs Becomes Helpful in Diet

Written by Amy Dyck | Apr 27, 2022 1:30:00 PM

There are many benefits of pumpkin for dogs! Pumpkin is everywhere. It’s delicious, nutritious, and easy to come by. Learn the benefits of pumpkin for dogs and how much pumpkin to feed dogs to support digestion and health.

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!


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 of pumpkin, it 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 adding 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.


Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

With so many nutrients packed into one ingredient, pumpkin has a ton of different benefits for dogs. Check out how pumpkin can help support your dog's overall health or be a useful tool in treating acute digestive system or skin issues. Take a look at the health benefits of pumpkin for dogs:

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.

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, adding 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 health and a lustrous coat.

In addition to making your pet’s coat shine and look fantastic, the added moisture can reduce dry skin and shedding.

You can even try pumpkin for dogs with skin allergies. The nutrients and moisture can help soothe inflammation and heal damaged skin faster, while the digestive boost can help support your dog’s immune system and prevent some of the reactions in the first place.

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, pureed 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 pumpkin digestive supplement for dogs to their meals can supply 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.

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 organic pumpkin puree for dogs through their diet is perfect for controlling constipation and diarrhea.

Is pumpkin good for dogs with diarrhea? Yes! dog pumpkin has the unique ability to cure both constipation and diarrhea in your dog.

If your pet’s stool is a little loose, the little benefits of 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.

We recommend having some canned pumpkin for dogs with upset stomachs on hand, even if your dog doesn't usually have digestive issues. Fruitables Digestive Supplement contains a lot of apple pomace, spinach, tomato pomace and ginger to help boost nutrition and soothe irritated stomachs and nausea. 

You can also try dehydrated pumpkin products, like Firm Up! To allow you to make just the right amount as you need it.

7. Pumpkin Can Help Naturally Control Parasites

Though the evidence for this is so far only anecdotal, regular pureed pumpkin inclusion in your dog’s digestive food may contribute to deterring parasites from inhabiting your poor pup’s gut. 

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 the 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.

Pumpkin fibre for dogs and the additional 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 content into your dog through drinking can be difficult. However, 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. 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.


Canned Pumpkin or Fresh Pumpkin?

Is canned pumpkin good for dogs? Canned pumpkin for dogs is not only very beneficial for your dog’s health but also a delicious meal topper for dogs. If you want to feed your dog the healthiest kind of 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. 

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, which results in a diluted concentration of nutrients. 

Where to Buy Canned Pumpkin for Dogs

What’s the best pumpkin for dogs? You don’t have to buy something specific for dogs, but it is a good way to make sure that the ingredients are safe for your pooch. For the best canned pumpkin for dogs, try an organic pumpkin puree for dogs, like Nummy Tum Tums.

Pumpkin products made for humans can be used, but make sure you check the ingredients. Pumpkin baby food for dogs can be a suitable option, so long as they are 100% pumpkin. Avoid sweeteners, lemon juice, or thickening agents or preservatives to be safe.

Also, avoid dog pumpkin pie filling or other sweetened or spiced canned pumpkins. Stick to plain canned pumpkins for dogs, preferably organic pumpkins for dogs.


How Much Pumpkin to Give a 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 pie filling.

When researching the question, “Is pumpkin ok for dogs?”  you’ll discover that squash is actually very safe, nutritious, and yummy when fed in moderation.

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?

How Much Canned Pumpkin for Dogs?

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.

How Much Raw Pumpkin for Dogs?

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

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. Pureed pumpkin seeds are also full of antioxidants, which help prevent heart disease, stroke, cancer, and dementia.

How to Feed Raw Pumpkin Seeds for Dogs

All seeds, though loaded with nutrients, contain phytic acid. Phytic acid is considered an anti-nutrient, meaning it can inhibit the absorption of nutrients during digestion.

Soaking your seeds is the best way to remove the phytic acid from raw pumpkin seeds. Here’s an easy 4-step guide to preparing pumpkin seeds for dogs:

1. Soak

Soaking your seeds will help leech out the phytic acid. Soaking the seeds in water for about 10-12 hours is the best method. Phytic acids will bind with minerals, so sprinkle in a small amount of salt to help the process. You don’t need a lot, only about ¼ tsp for 4 cups of water. 

2. Wash

After soaking, you need to drain, rinse, and repeat. Much like rinsing the starch off of your rice before cooking, this process will remove the salt and any phytic acid or enzyme inhibitors that have been pulled from the seeds. 

3. Dry

Spread your seeds out on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel or a clean dish towel to absorb any excess moisture. Let them sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours. This step isn’t required, but it will make them easier to chop or grind. 

4. Grind

The cells of seeds, as well as those of all plant matter, contain cellulose, which is an indigestible fibre. This makes them difficult for your dog to digest. Breaking up the cellulose will improve digestibility and allow your dog to get the most out of this nutritious food. You can chop the seeds with a knife to break down some of the cellulose linings, but the best way is to place them in a food processor and finely grind them into a rough powder.

The ground seeds can be stored in an airtight jar and kept in the fridge for up to a month. Note that if you haven’t dried your seeds, then your nut powders' shelf life is significantly reduced. 

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds 

Pumpkin puree for dogs is great, but sometimes your pooch might want a crunchy snack. You can feed pumpkin seeds raw, but you might also want to consider roasting the morsels.

Cooking pumpkin seeds is a quick and easy task that’s fun for the whole family and will break down the phytic acid so that your dog can reap all the benefits of pumpkin seeds. Simply deshell and bake the seeds on a cookie sheet until golden brown. Once they are cooled, they can be ground or fed as a small crunchy snack. 

Benefits of Roasting Pumpkin Seeds for Your Dog

Are you wondering “is pumpkin good for dogs? The answer is, ‘yes,’ and so are pumpkin seeds! Below are just a few benefits of roasted pumpkin seeds for canines:

      • Easy to Carry Snack:  Once the pumpkin seeds are roasted, you can carry them to the dog park or anywhere in a plastic container or sandwich bag to function as a quick snack. You can even use the seeds as a training tool to reinforce good behaviour. When your dog sits, lays down, or performs some other command then give the pup a seed or two as a reward. 
      • Meal Topper: Why not add pumpkin seeds to your dog’s food for a tasty treat? Your pooch will enjoy the texture and the added flavour. 
      • Added Nutrition: When wondering what pumpkin does for dogs? You’ll be happy to learn that pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. 

Also, the USDA National Nutrient Database shows that a single ounce (28 grams) of the seeds provide the following:

      • 126 calories
      • 5.5 grams of fat 
      • 15 grams of carbohydrates
      • 5.3 grams of protein 
      • 5 grams of total dietary fibre 


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 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 the 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!

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?


Frequently Asked Questions About Pumpkin For Dogs

What are the nutritional benefits of feeding pumpkin to dogs? 

Pumpkin is a nutrient-rich food for dogs, containing fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can support digestion and provide other health benefits.

Can pumpkin help with digestive issues in dogs? 

Yes, pumpkin is known for its digestive benefits in dogs. It can help regulate bowel movements, alleviate diarrhea, and ease constipation due to its abundant fibre content.

Is pumpkin beneficial for weight management in dogs? 

Pumpkin can aid in weight management because it is low in calories and can be used as a healthy, filling addition to a dog's diet. The filler helps your dog feel satisfied while cutting down on calorie consumption.

Does pumpkin have any positive effects on a dog's skin and coat? 

Pumpkin's high vitamin A and antioxidant content can contribute to healthier skin and a shinier coat in dogs.

Can pumpkin be used as a natural remedy for seasonal allergies or skin irritations in dogs? 

While not a cure, pumpkin's anti-inflammatory properties may offer some relief for dogs with mild allergies or skin irritations when included as part of a healthy diet.

How much pumpkin seed to feed dog?

Pumpkin seeds for dogs 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. High-energy and working breeds can handle higher fat, so you can increase the amount, but make sure you don’t go overboard.