Benefits Of Giving Your Dog Pumpkin

Oct 18, 2020 | Health, Pets

Happy Monday everyone!  With October almost over and Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve been searching Pinterest for baking ideas using pumpkin!  Looking back over my homemade dog treat recipes and posting the Puppy Russian Butter Balls (HERE), I wanted to delve more into the Benefits Of Giving Your Dog Pumpkin.  We aren’t the only ones to enjoy a delicious treat in our house, the pups do to and I want to keep them healthy and happy!  I did some lengthly and detailed research and here are the Top 10 Benefits Of Giving Your Dog Pumpkin!  And….I didn’t forget about all our cat lovers out there!  There is very good information on the benefits and risks of giving pumpkin to cats below in this post.
As I always say, give treats and pumpkin in moderation as giving your pet new treats or large doses of treats can cause upset stomach and diarrhea, see my post What’s The Perfect Dog Poop (HERE) and Health Risks Associated With Dogs Eating Poop (HERE).  I promise there are no graphic pictures in these posts!
 
 
Jake playing in leaves

Pumpkin Benefits The 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, feeding your dog pumpkin 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.

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, it can possibly help prevent certain cancers from developing.

Pumpkins Moisturize Skin and 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 and a lustrous coat. In addition to making your pet’s coat shine and look fantastic, the added moisture causes the skin to flake less and less hair to be shed on your carpets, furniture, and clothes.

 
Maggie playing in fall leaves

Pumpkin Seeds Prevent Urinary Incontinence
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, pumpkin seed powder is known to prevent urinary incontinence, which is the reduced ability to hold in urine.

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 strain on your dog’s intestines. Adding a little pumpkin to your dog’s diet supplies the necessary fibre to enable your dog to pass stool easily and cure constipation. Though it may defy understanding, pumpkins have the unique ability to cure both constipation and diarrhea in your dog. If your pet’s stool is a little loose, a little pumpkin can add bulk and form to your dog’s poop.

Pumpkin Can Help Naturally Control Parasites
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 an 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 into canned food (or a little canned pumpkin!) is a good preventative measure, but don’t skip out on your pet’s usual treatment.

 
Jake playing in leaves

Pumpkins Aide 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 weight. The fibre and water in the pumpkin will keep them full, so they don’t miss the extra calories.

Pumpkin Hydrates
Many dogs fed a kibble only diet suffer from a mild, but chronic dehydration. Dry dog food has a very low moisture content and dogs do not possess a very strong thirst drive. This means that getting extra moisture into your dog through drinking can be difficult. But the high moisture content of pumpkin adds more water to your dog’s diet easily and naturally.

Pumpkin Tastes Great
Like many people, dogs relish the rich, creamy flavour of pumpkin. And anyone who has tried to feed a dog something healthy that does not taste as good will appreciate this benefit thoroughly. Most dogs willingly lap up even plain cooked pumpkin. But go ahead and add a pinch of cinnamon or honey for an extra tasty treat.

Pumpkin Is Nutrient Rich
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.

Dogs playin in the leaves

Why can cats eat pumpkin?

  • Prevents hairballs: Fiber has laxative properties that move fur through your cat’s intestinal tract instead of expelling it out as a hairball.
  • Soothes constipation: For this same reason, fiber helps soothe constipation and stimulates bowel movements.
  • Pumpkin actually has a ton of excellent health benefits. It’s chock full of fiber which itself is great for your cat’s digestive system, for preventing constipation, and even stopping diarrhea. Dietary fiber absorbs stomach acid and excess water and can actually help move any ingested fur through your cat’s digestive tract. Pumpkin is also a great source of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene, in addition to other nutritious compounds. Because it’s such a healthy food, it’s a great way to supplement an overweight cat’s diet; replacing just 20% of her regular food can leave her feeling just as full but with fewer calories.

Incorporating Pumpkin Into Your Cat’s Diet

By far the easiest way to incorporate more pumpkin into your cat’s diet is by using canned pumpkin. Organic is a nice-to-have but what’s most important is that you don’t accidentally buy pumpkin pie filling as it can contain extra sugar and some spices (nutmeg!) that can actually be harmful to your cat’s health. You could, of course, always get a whole pumpkin, empty the seeds, cut it into chunks, then roast or steam it.  Remember, don’t add any extra seasonings like salt, sugar, or cinnamon. When you begin incorporating pumpkin (or any new food) into your cat’s diet, do so slowly. Just 2-3 tablespoons is probably enough at first – you don’t want to shock your cat’s system and give her an upset tummy. Over time, you can mix pumpkin into her regular cat food on a daily basis, freeze it into pumpkin-cubes to give as treats, or just offer it up as you feel like it.

Risks Of Giving Your Cat Pumpkin

Keep in mind that you should not serve the stem, skin, or pulp of a pumpkin to your cat. These parts of the pumpkin simply don’t have a high enough nutritional value to be beneficial for your cat. It is also best to avoid feeding leftover jack-o-lantern, as it may have rotted by sitting outside too long. Plain canned pumpkin is the best option for your pet, and will stay fresh in the refrigerator up to about a week after opening.  The same goes for dogs as feeding them left over from your jack-o-lantern as it may be rotted from sitting outside so long.

If you are new to the blog or are a subscriber and have not seen the post on this cat recipe, Mini Tuna Bites (HERE), check it out.  I was asked in my last survey to include more information on cats and will keep my promise to do so!  If you have tried any cat recipes that include pumpkin, please send them my way. I would love to try making them!  Now that I know cats can eat pumpkin, I need to create something healthy for all of you cat lovers to give your sweet cats!  Comment below and let me know!

 

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