Health Benefits of Adding Pumpkin to Your Dogs Diet
Pumpkin is commonly known for its presence in our favorite seasonal foods and is essential when it comes time for fall festivities. From lattes to pies, pumpkin is featured in all of our favorite recipes. Not only is pumpkin a delicious treat, but it is also a superfood for humans and, you guessed it- dogs! No matter the season, pumpkin is packed full of health benefits for your four-legged friend!
What makes pumpkin so amazing for dogs?
High in Fiber
Pumpkins but more specifically, pumpkin seeds are packed full of naturally sourced fiber. Pumpkin seed fiber is a great way to make sure that your dog or cat is getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. This added soluble fiber slows digestion, helps absorb water if mild diarrhea is a problem, and can help resolve mild constipation as well.
Added pumpkin seed fiber can help your pet feel fuller and may help with weight loss. By bulking up the stool, pumpkin seed fiber provides relief for anal gland irritation and disease by promoting normal anal gland expression before they become impacted or infected, which can help avoid repeated trips to your veterinarian.
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.
Helps to Regulate 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!
Rich in Nutrients
Pumpkin is low in calories and chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA Nutritional Database, just one cup of cooked pumpkin has 14100 IU of Vitamin A, 49 Calories, 5.1g of sugars, 564mg of Potassium, and 2.7g of Fiber. Pumpkin also contains high amounts of Vitamin C, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc, and Folate.
Promotes Healthy Eyes
Similar to humans, Vitamin A is crucial for a dog’s eye health. Vitamin A will work to prevent the development of night blindness and other eye degeneration.
Boosts Immune Health
Vitamin C is essential for immune health, and in conjunction with Vitamin A, E, and other antioxidants found in Pumpkin, it may help to prevent certain cancers from developing. Antioxidants help destroy free radicals, or “oxidants” in your pet’s system.
While oxidants are a natural part of everyone’s immune system, too many oxidants can contribute to cancers and damage the body. By including new sources of antioxidants- such as those found in pumpkin, you can help to boost your pet’s immune system!
Moisturizes the Skin and Coat from the Inside Out
Vitamin A and Zinc work wonders when it comes to promoting the health of your dog’s skin and coat. The high water content found in pumpkin will leave your pet’s coat looking as healthy as ever as it also assists in hydrating the skin and coat.
Pumpkins can Help your Pet Lose Excess Weight
As mentioned previously, pumpkins contain high amounts of water and fiber, which makes them a powerful tool for pet weight loss. By replacing a small amount of your pet’s regular food with canned pumpkin, you can help your dog lose weight.
For small dogs, give a few tablespoons of pumpkin, and for larger dogs, up to a half cup of pumpkin can be given!
How to feed pumpkin to your dog?
Pumpkin can be given to pets in multiple different ways! From treats to pure canned pumpkin, there is an endless variety of pumpkin-based products for pets. Avoid buying canned pumpkin pie filling as it contains sugars and other additives in it that are harmful to dogs. Pumpkin seeds can be consumed raw or dry roasted. Avoid salting or adding oils to pumpkin seeds that you give to your dog. Roast 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?
Typically, 1 tsp of canned or cooked and pureed pumpkin per 10 lbs of your pet’s weight is recommended. If your dog has a health condition, please talk to your vet before feeding pumpkin to your dog. Pumpkin seeds are high in fat and should be fed more sparingly. One ground 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 small amounts as a treat.