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9 Benefits of Pumpkins & Pumpkin Seeds for Pets
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If you can’t live without pumpkin treats in the fall–because pumpkin is practically autumn royalty–it’s time to consider sharing this ingredient with your pet!
Pumpkin is famous for its presence in our favorite seasonal foods and is essential when it comes time for fall festivities. And while pumpkin is a delicious people's treat, it’s also a serious superfood for dogs!
No matter the season, pumpkin is packed full of health benefits for your four-legged friend. We’re covering the benefits of pumpkin seeds for dogs, how to feed pumpkin to your pet, and more!
9 health benefits of pumpkin for dogs
2. Helps with allergies
3. Rich in healthy oils
4. Packed with omega fatty acids
6. Promotes healthy eyes
7. Boosts immune health
8. Moisturizes skin and coat
9. Can help pets lose excess weight
Digestive benefits of pumpkin seeds for dogs & cats
High in fiber
Pumpkins–and more specifically, pumpkin seeds–are packed full of naturally sourced fiber. Using food or supplements with pumpkin seed fiber is a great way to make sure that your dog or cat is getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Pumpkin is a soluble fiber that slows digestion, helps absorb water if mild diarrhea is a problem, and can also help resolve mild constipation. By bulking up the stool, pumpkin seed fiber also provides relief for anal gland irritation and disease by supporting normal anal gland expression before they become impacted or infected (helping you avoid repeated trips to the vet).
In cats, this added soluble fiber may also help with hairball problems, as the added pumpkin seed fiber can help pass hair through the digestive tract.
Ground pumpkin seeds, when given to dogs and cats, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits for anal gland disease and intestinal health, which can help with irritation, inflammation, and pain in the anal glands, and can further decrease chronic anal gland disease. This means fewer trips to have those glands expressed and less pain and aggravation for everyone.
Intestinal parasites can add to any intestinal or anal gland disease and make the situation more complicated. Pumpkin seed fiber given to dogs and cats contain something called Cucurbitin, which is an amino acid that can act as a natural deworming agent. While your dog or cat will likely need other regular deworming medications as directed by your veterinarian, this supplement can help to keep your pet parasite free and decrease intestinal inflammation.
Great for digestion
Adding pumpkin to your pet’s diet provides fiber, which will allow your dog to pass stool easily without strain on the intestines. Due to the fiber in pumpkin, it is a sufficient at-home remedy for constipation or loose stool!
How to feed pumpkin to your dog
Can dogs eat pumpkin on a daily basis for digestive or other health benefits? Pumpkin is one of the most versatile dietary ingredients for pets! From treats to pure canned pumpkin, there’s an endless variety of pumpkin-based products for pets. Here are a few tips for safely feeding pumpkin to your dog:
🐾 Avoid buying canned pumpkin pie filling–these contain sugars and other additives that are harmful to dogs.
🐾 Your dog can consume pumpkin seeds that are raw or dry roasted.
🐾 Avoid salting or adding cooking oils when preparing pumpkin seeds for dogs, as certain additives can cause stomach upset or increase risk of dehydration.
🐾 Roast raw pumpkin seeds (with no oil or salt) on a baking sheet (with parchment paper to prevent sticking) at 350F° for approximately 10-15 minutes.
How much pumpkin should you feed your dog?
Wondering how much pumpkin to give a dog? When it comes to pureed pumpkin (canned or cooked), 1 tsp per 10 pounds of your pet’s weight is recommended. If your dog has a health condition, talk to your vet before feeding pumpkin to your dog.
Are pumpkin seeds good for dogs? The answer is yes, but pumpkin seeds are high in fat and should be given more sparingly. If you’re interested in feeding pumpkin seeds to your dog, the daily recommended amount is one ground pumpkin seed per 10 pounds of body weight.
For puppies and very small or underweight dogs, only feed pumpkin in small amounts as a treat.
Easy homemade pumpkin seed recipes for pets
Who doesn’t love pumpkin DIY? Try one of these homemade recipes for your favorite furry friend––we’ve got recipes for both dogs and cats!
Pawsome Pumpkin Seed Dog “Bones”
An easy way to boost your dog’s fiber intake while delivering a nutritious treat is with a homemade pumpkin dog treat! These treats are high in both soluble and insoluble fibers, beta-carotene, antioxidants, protein, and healthy fat.
What you’ll need:
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (fresh or store-bought)
2 small apricots (or 2 medium shredded carrots as an alternative)
Plain unsweetened applesauce
Smooth peanut butter (no additives, sweeteners, or salt)
1 large brown egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Scatter pumpkin seeds onto a baking sheet, then bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. Leave your oven on–you’ll use it again in a few minutes!
- Pulse the roasted pumpkin seeds in a food processor; set aside 1 cup pumpkin seed powder.
- Make the apricot puree: peel, pit, and pulse apricot flesh in a food processor. Set aside ¼ cup pureed apricot.
- Combine wet ingredients in a bowl (apricot puree, 1 egg, 3 tbsp peanut butter, and ¼ cup applesauce).
- In a separate bowl, use a fork to combine dry ingredients (pumpkin seed powder and 1 cup whole wheat flour).
- Beat together wet and dry ingredients until a semi-wet dough forms. (If it’s too wet and sticks to a spoon, add more flour and pumpkin seed powder in equal parts.)
- Knead the dough and use a rolling pin to spread it across a floured cutting board or clean countertop. It should be about ¼ to ½ inches thick.
- Use a dog bone cookie cutter to remove each biscuit, placing them 1 inch apart on a backing sheet. Line the sheet with a non-stick silicone mat or parchment paper for easier removal!
- Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until the edges begin to firm up.
- Let your pumpkin seed dog biscuits cool completely before giving them to your furry friend! Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
While your dog might want to eat lots of these biscuits, consider these recommended portions of pumpkin per serving: ½ to 1 tsp for small dogs, or 1 ½ tsp to 2 tsp for medium-large dogs.
A-Meowzing Pumpkin Apple Sprinkle
Does your cat need extra fiber in their diet? A quick way to supplement fiber into their everyday foods is with a simple pumpkin sprinkle! Here’s our go-to recipe:
What you’ll need:
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 small pink, red, or yellow apple
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Scatter 1-2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds onto a baking sheet, then bake for 1 hour or until golden brown
- Pulse a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds in a food processor
- Scoop the pumpkin seed powder into a small bowl (use ¼ to ½ tsp for small cats, ½ to 1 tsp for larger cats). Set pumpkin seed powder aside
- Peel your apple and remove all seeds. Puree ½ to 1 tbsp of the apple until no large pieces remain (your cat might have trouble swallowing those)
- Mix the pumpkin seed powder and apple puree together and serve! Alternatively, you can just sprinkle pumpkin powder on top of their favorite meal for a healthy fiber boost!
While there are plenty of benefits of giving pumpkin and pumpkin seeds to your pet, it's important to give them the right amount for their weight to avoid digestive upset. Be sure to start small with DIY pumpkin treats, and always follow the recommended serving on store-bought supplements. And as always, listen to your pet––they’ll let you know what they like!
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