Can Dogs Eat Pumpkins? The Benefits of this Fall Favorite
A whopping 95 percent of pet owners say that their pet is a member of the family. Folks feel this way about all kinds of animals, but their dogs, in particular, tend to have a special place in their hearts.
Are you part of this group? Do you feature your cute canine in your family Christmas card and love giving them treats to show them how much they mean to you?
If so, you’ve probably found yourself wondering what kinds of foods are safe for dogs to eat. You might have even asked questions like, “Can dogs eat pumpkins?”
Not sure about the answer to this question? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about giving your dog pumpkin.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkins?
The short answer to this question is yes, they can. In general, pumpkins are actually a very healthy food for dogs to eat, in the same way that they’re very healthy for humans.
Some people have concerns about dogs eating pumpkin seeds, but even those are safe for your furry friend. All parts of the pumpkin (with the exception of the stem and leaves) are safe for dogs to enjoy.
Benefits of Pumpkins for Dogs
What makes pumpkin such a superfood for dogs? There are lots of benefits that come with giving your dog pumpkin, including the following:
First, pumpkin is full of beneficial vitamins that your dog needs to feel their best and live a long, happy life.
Pumpkin is perhaps best known for being rich in vitamin A, which is great for your dog’s vision, as well as supporting a healthy immune system.
Pumpkins also contain vitamin C, an important antioxidant that supports a variety of enzymatic reactions within the body. Vitamin C is also important for the production of collagen, a protein that plays an important role in joint health.
Pumpkin is a great source of essential minerals, too. For example, pumpkin contains calcium, which helps to keep your dogs’ bones and teeth strong and healthy. Calcium is also necessary for proper cytoplasmic function and metabolic activity.
Additionally, pumpkin provides your dog with a healthy dose of iron. Dogs need iron to maintain healthy hemoglobin levels and keep their cells oxygenated.
Pumpkins contain other antioxidants, including vitamin E, alpha-carotene, and lutein.
Alpha-carotene and vitamin E are essential for healthy enzymatic activity in the body. They also help to protect your dog’s cells from free radical damage, and have been shown to exhibit protective effects against cancer.
Lutein, like vitamin A, is important for maintaining your dog’s vision. It helps to keep their skin and coat healthy, too.
Many pet parents find that giving their dog some pumpkin on a regular basis can help to improve their digestion. This has to do, in part, with the fact that pumpkin is rich in fiber.
If your dog doesn’t have enough fiber in their diet, they may deal with digestive issues, including constipation and/or diarrhea. Pumpkin can help to keep them regular, and it may also help with stomach upset.
Due to pumpkin’s high fiber content, it can be a useful weight management tool for dogs. Foods rich in dietary fibers can help your dog feel satiated longer. This can help them eat less and will make it easier for them to drop extra pounds.
Ways to Give Your Dog Pumpkins
Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse for your pooch, and there are plenty of ways that you can incorporate pumpkin into your dog’s diet. Here are some simple strategies to try today:
Mix It With Their Food
The easiest way to add pumpkin to your dog’s diet is to simply mix it in with their food. Adding a couple of teaspoons or tablespoons of canned or fresh pumpkin can help make their food tastier and more filling, but it also won’t overpower the dish.
If your dog isn’t interested in eating pumpkin plain, stirring it into something they already like can be a simple and effective technique to try.
Wild Earth Treats and Food!
Pumpkin is a key ingredient in our superfood treats and clean protein dog food. If you’d like to up the pumpkin a bit, you can include a small amount of plain pumpkin puree with either a treat or their food.
This can be a good way to get your dog used to the taste of pumpkin if they don’t want to eat it on its own.
Put It in a Kong Toy
You can also add some pumpkin to your dog’s Kong toy. The next time you need to distract your furry friend, add some peanut butter to the Kong and mix in a bit of pumpkin. Your dog will be overjoyed at the challenge of extracting the treat from the toy, and they’ll get lots of essential nutrients at the same time.
Steps to Take Before Dogs Eat Pumpkins
It’s clear at this point that pumpkins are safe and healthy for dogs to eat. However, just like you need to exercise caution when feeding your dog apples or other table foods, you also need to consider a couple of things before giving your dog pumpkin, including the following:
Is It Plain?
If you’re going to give your dog canned pumpkin puree (which is, arguably, the easiest way to introduce pumpkin into their diet), it’s best to only give them plain pumpkin.
Check the ingredients list and make sure the only thing listed is pumpkin. If it contains sugar or spices, it might upset your dog’s stomach. This is especially true if you’re feeding your dog pumpkin to help a digestive issue.
Am I Feeding Them too Much?
Pumpkin definitely has a lot of nutritional benefits for your dog. There is such a thing as too much pumpkin, though. Overdoing it on pumpkin could end up causing vitamin A toxicity or hurting their digestive system (fiber overload isn’t going to solve their problems, after all).
Start by introducing just a teaspoon or two into your dog’s diet. If you have a small dog, this should be adequate. With larger dogs, you may be able to work your way up to giving them a few tablespoons at a time.
Monitor how your dog responds to the pumpkin before you start increasing the amount they eat.
Does the Vet Say It’s Okay?
Finally, make sure your vet is on board with your dog eating pumpkin. Most vets won’t have any problem with you giving your dog a bit of pure pumpkin puree every once in a while. Always check, though, before bringing new foods into your dog’s diet.