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NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on their age, health history, health condition, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.
Pumpkin is an especially healthy treat for dogs to eat. In fact, vets will often recommend adding a little pumpkin into your dog’s diet to help things “flow” properly if your pup has some mild constipation or diarrhea. But there are some specifics to keep in mind when feeding pumpkin to your dog in a healthy, safe way.
Is Pumpkin Good for Dogs?
Feeding pumpkin to your dog is a great way to help with both mild constipation and mild diarrhea because of its high fiber content. However, if your dog is suffering from severe constipation or diarrhea, you should take them to your veterinarian right away. These could be signs of a more serious underlying health issue.
In addition to promoting good bowel movements, a high-fiber diet will bulk up your dog’s bowels, which helps them express their anal glands naturally. This can help them avoid anal gland issues in the future.
In addition to fiber, pumpkin is filled with other great nutrients, like:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
What type of pumpkins can dogs eat?
There are numerous types of pumpkins—some are specifically used for baking, while others are best for carving because of their size, shape, and color. But both categories of pumpkin are full of fiber and healthy nutrients that your pup can benefit from.
While dogs can eat raw pumpkin, it might be harder to digest and can become a choking hazard. The rind is also a choking hazard and may cause an intestinal blockage.
You can feed cooked or canned pumpkin to your dog—if it’s 100% pumpkin with no added ingredients. Make sure you don’t accidentally grab the canned pumpkin pie filling. That contains sugar, which isn’t healthy for your pup, and usually nutmeg, which is toxic to dogs. The filling may even contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Can a Dog Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are safe and nutritious for your dog to eat—with or without the shells. This includes pepitas—a type of pumpkin seed found in certain types of pumpkin. The seeds contain zinc, magnesium, and copper.
Be careful to watch your pup as they eat the seeds, in case they become a choking hazard—especially in small dogs.
The safest way to feed pumpkin seeds to your pup is by roasting them in your oven, then grinding them up. This way, you can sprinkle them over your dog’s usual food without worrying about any possible choking.
Is Pumpkin Good for Dog Diarrhea and Anal Glands?
Yes, the fiber in pumpkin is great for your dog’s digestive health. It helps with mild diarrhea, supports weight management, and helps support healthy anal glands.
However, if your dog is suffering from anal gland problems or severe diarrhea, see your veterinarian right away instead of trying to give them pumpkin.
Is Pumpkin Good for Constipated Dogs?
Yes, the fiber in pumpkin is also great for helping dogs with mild constipation have regular bowel movements. The fiber helps bulk up their stools, which make them pass more easily. But remember—moderation is key. Too much pumpkin can cause diarrhea.
If your dog is having severe constipation, contact your veterinarian right away.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Pie?
Pumpkin pie is not a healthy or safe treat for your dog. Not only does it contain way too much sugar and salt for your pup, but it may also contain nutmeg and xylitol, which are both toxic to dogs.
If your dog accidentally eats some pumpkin pie, contact your veterinarian.
How Much Pumpkin Can Dogs Eat?
Even though pumpkin is a very nutritious treat, in general, treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily diet, and the other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet.
For general guidelines on the safe amounts of pumpkin to feed your dog, check out the list below.
- Extra-small dog (2-20 lbs.) = 2-3 teaspoons of pumpkin (Examples: Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Pugs, Shih Tzus)
- Small dog (21-30 lbs.) = 1-2 tablespoons of pumpkin (Examples: Basenjis, Beagles, Miniature Australian Shepherds)
- Medium dog (31-50 lbs.) = 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin (Examples: Basset Hounds, Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Siberian Huskies)
- Large dog (51-90 lbs.) = 4-5 tablespoons of pumpkin (Examples: Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds)
- Extra-large dog (91+ lbs.) = ¼ cup of pumpkin (Examples: Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees)
What if My Dog Eats Too Much Pumpkin?
Although pumpkin is healthy for your dog, too much can cause some diarrhea.
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Pumpkin
Pumpkin is one of the many safe human foods your dog can eat. Here are a few simple ways to feed pumpkin to your dog.
By the spoonful
The easiest way to feed pumpkin to your dog is straight from the spoon. They will love the taste and lick it right up.
Pumpkin food topper
Put that spoonful right on top of your dog’s food or mix it in to use it as a food topper.
Pumpkin seed food topper
Roast some pumpkin seeds in your oven. Then grind them up into a powder and sprinkle them over your dog’s food.
Stuffed in a KONG
Frozen pumpkin popsicles
Use the same mixture above of pumpkin, banana, and peanut butter—or just pumpkin alone—and put it into a popsicle tray or ice cube tray. Freeze it overnight and watch your dog go crazy licking it up!
Pumpkin spice latte
You could go all out and mix up a dog-safe pumpkin spice latte that’s made with canned pumpkin, yogurt, and chicken broth.
Featured Image: iStockPhoto.com/GoDogPhoto
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