There’s no doubt that we are full swing into pumpkin season. It’s hard to go into any store without seeing some type of pumpkin spice product. And, while your dog cannot enjoy a yummy PSL (pumpkin spice latte) with you, there are other delicious ways for your dog to enjoy pumpkin this season.
Besides the yummy taste, there are many health benefits for dogs that eat pumpkin. But, before you begin giving your dog some of grandma’s famous pumpkin pie, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Dogs can only eat unsweetened raw or cooked pumpkin. This generally means no human pumpkin snacks.
- Canned pumpkin is fine – just as long as it’s organic and does not contain any added sugar!
- Dogs can eat both the seeds and/or flesh of a pumpkin. Keep in mind that pumpkins spoil quickly, be sure to inspect your pumpkin carefully.
- Always consult your Veterinarian before introducing new foods to your dog.
One of the biggest health benefits pumpkin provides is aiding in upset stomach or diarrhea issues. Pumpkin is rich in soluble fiber and also contains vitamins A, E and C. The soluble fiber aids in absorbing the excess water in your dog’s stool. This fiber also serves as a prebiotic for your dog’s intestines and gut lining, which kickstarts the growth of beneficial bacteria while decreasing the harmful bacteria.
Pumpkin can also help to entice your dog to eat his meals if his upset stomach may be keeping him from eating. Simply add 1 – 2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin to your dog’s meal. When starting out, it’s best to start with a smaller quantity and work your way up.
Hopefully, your dog is happy and healthy! In which case, pumpkin is still a great addition to your dog’s diet. Pumpkin isn’t just for “sick” dogs, there are different ways you can (and should) give your healthy dog pumpkin.
The easiest way to provide your dog with pumpkin is by buying premade treats. During this time of year, there are an abundance of pumpkin dog treats, just as there are for humans. Not a fan of premade treats? Grab a fresh pumpkin and you can make your own dog treats.
When making your own fresh pumpkin treats, don’t throw out those seeds. Not only do pumpkin seeds make a great treat for dogs, but they also help aid against worms in your dog’s intestinal tract. Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitin, an amino acid, that stops any worms from progressing and eliminates them.
When feeding pumpkin seeds, you will want to get them fresh or untreated. Often, the grocery store pumpkin seeds come pre-salted, which you want to avoid. If your dog doesn’t want to eat them raw, try roasting them with some coconut oil – this will also help to prolong the seeds shelf life. It’s as easy as putting the pumpkin seeds onto a baking sheet and baking them for 10 – 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have a picky eater that doesn’t want to eat the pumpkin seeds whole, try grinding them to a salt like texture and sprinkle on your dog’s meal.
If your dog already gets enough treats, try steaming some fresh cut pumpkin and adding it to your dog’s dinner. Cut your pumpkin into small cubes, add some water to your steamer and let your pumpkin cook for about 10 – 12 minutes. Let the pumpkin pieces cool and serve.
Whichever way you give your dog pumpkin is up to you! It may take some trial and error to see what your dog prefers. But, you can rest assured that not only is pumpkin safe for your dog – it’s healthy too!
We’d love to hear how you feed pumpkin to your dog. Let us know in the comments below or share a photo of your dog with his pumpkin on our social media pages. Tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #Benebone so we can see your pumpkin treats or meals.