Ah, pumpkin, the versatile squash that is loved the world over. Not only do we love to eat it in a variety of dishes, but we also use it as a filling in our all-time favorite pumpkin pie.
We also like to make art with it and carve it up for Halloween to scare the goolies away and welcome the good spirits. It’s very versatile!
You might be surprised to know that pumpkin is a fruit rather than a vegetable. It is full of seeds (which is what classes it a fruit), and it is also sweet. Being tasty, and the fact that it is packed full of antioxidants and nutrients, makes it a favorite staple in many of our cupboards.
With us loving it so much, many of us wonder if we can give it to Fido, too. And the answer is yes, dogs are allowed to eat pumpkin. Here in this guide, we are going to focus on the health benefits of pumpkin, and all the reasons why you should include pumpkin into your dog’s diet.
Top 12 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs:
Yes, you read that right, there isn’t just one, or two, or even three health benefits that Fido can reap from eating pumpkin. There are twelve! With so many benefits, there is no reason why you shouldn’t include it in his weekly diet.
So, in no particular order, here are the health benefits of feeding pumpkin to your pooch:
1. Pumpkin is a Superfood
Pumpkin is so nutritious that it is considered a superfood. It is incredibly high in vitamin A, which many people know as beta-carotene, thanks to its brightly colored orange flesh. It also provides vitamin C, B12, and E, and fiber, iron, and potassium, and we’ll explain what each of these does in the next few points. But having a little bit of everything means it is a convenient way to provide Fido with all the nutrients that he needs. Hence it’s label, the superfood.
2. Pumpkin Aids Regular Digestion
If you’ve ever been to the vet because your pooch has a bad stomach, you might already know that pumpkin is fantastic for his digestive system. Because it is high in fiber, vets will often suggest pumpkin as a natural diarrhea remedy to help bulk up his loose stools. Because it is also full of water, it can also be used for the opposite end of the digestive spectrum, which is constipation. Although that might seem like a contradiction, pumpkin works out what your dog’s gut needs, and it works its magic.
3. Pumpkin is a Natural Dewormer
Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid known as cucurbitacin, which is toxic to many parasites but not our beloved furry friends. It paralyzes the parasites, causing them to lose grip of his gut wall, and he’ll simply poop them out. By grinding up pumpkin seeds and sprinkling it onto his kibble, you can ward off any pests that are known to wreak havoc with his body. Please do not feed your pooch whole pumpkin seeds, and this isn’t a replacement for his usual parasitic treatment.
4. Pumpkin Strengthens Immunity
Being super nutritious means that it provides Fido’s immune system with all the boosting nutrients it needs to stay fighting fit against disease. Vitamins C plays a vital role in strengthening immunity, and it fights away the nasty free radicals. It gives him the ability to fight off chronic diseases and illnesses. Although a dog’s liver can create a little vitamin C themselves, a boost is always beneficial.
5. Pumpkin Hydrates
Pumpkin is made up of a minimum of 90% water, meaning it is a fantastic way to hydrate your pooch. If you find that you can’t entice him to drink from his bowl, feeding him a handful of pumpkin will go a long way to keep him hydrated.
6. Pumpkin Helps to Maintain Healthy Weight
Pumpkin is a fantastically healthy snack for two reasons. Firstly, it is very fibrous. This means that it keeps dogs feeling fuller for longer, and they need fewer snacks between meals. It is also low in calories and has less than 50 calories per cup, which is far less than fatty commercialized dog treats. And all the while dogs go crazy for it, it’s easy to trick him into a healthy diet.
7. Pumpkin Moisturizes Skin and Coat
Pumpkin contains many nutrients that look after his skin and coat. Vitamin A and E, as well as niacin, zinc, and omega fatty acids, strengthen and nourish skin, decreasing the amount of dandruff. In turn, with the help of these nutrients, healthy skin promotes a healthy coat. A healthy coat not only makes him look healthier, but it also helps to manage the amount he sheds his coat. So everyone’s a winner with pumpkin!
8. Pumpkin Promotes Urinary Health
This is another reason to grind pumpkin seeds and sprinkle them onto your pup’s kibble. The omega fatty acids and the oil in the seeds are thought to keep the urinary tract clean making his bladder less sensitive. This helps Fido to hold his bladder more effectively. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that it can help to prevent kidney stones.
9. Pumpkin Supports Eye Health
As you already know, pumpkin offers an incredible amount of vitamin A and beta-carotene. These are known to have a multitude of benefits for eye health, such as alleviating dry eyes, preventing ulcers, and enhancing peripheral and night vision. Have you ever heard the saying, carrots help you to see in the dark? Well, this is the same for pumpkin too.
10. Pumpkin Supports a Healthy Heart
Pumpkin contains potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, which are all known to have an abundance of health benefits for the cardiac system. Potassium, in particular, is shown to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of heart diseases.
11. Pumpkin Can Reduce The Risk of Cancer
Pumpkin contains carotenoids, which are essentially antioxidants. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals, and it is free radicals that help cancer cells to multiply quickly. So by eating pumpkin, you are giving Fido the tools he needs to reduce the risk of him developing cancer.
12. Pumpkin Tastes Great
If you need one more health benefit of pumpkin, it should be that it tastes great. And food that tastes great equals a happy pooch, and if Fido is happy, we are happy too.
How Do I Serve Pumpkin To My Dog?
Pumpkin should always be cooked from fresh, cut into cubes, and fed to him when it has cooled down. If it isn’t pumpkin season or you haven’t got access to pumpkin, canned or pureed pumpkin is also fine. Do not feed Fido raw pumpkin or whole pumpkin seeds.
Never buy pureed pumpkin in the form of ‘pie filling’. Pumpkin pie filling has spices and sugar added to make it sweeter for us. Spices and sugar will not only give Fido a poorly stomach, but it can also mean a trip to the vets if he overdoses on sugar.
If you are going to use canned pumpkin, be sure to look at the ingredients list yourself. Make sure that it is strictly made of pumpkin only, and no additives or added ingredients are allowed.
How Much Pumpkin Should I Feed My Dog?
As with everything in life, pumpkin should be eaten in moderation. Adding 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin to his kibble per meal is an excellent way to add it to his diet without him knowing. How much will depend on his size.
Or, if you want to feed it to him as a healthy snack, giving him a handful of chunks in between meals will help to satiate his appetite.
Are There Any Disadvantages Of Feeding Pumpkin To My Dog?
The only real disadvantage of feeding Fido pumpkin is that it is not a miracle cure for health conditions. Yes, it has many health benefits, but sometimes dogs need veterinary or medical intervention, rather than just being fed pumpkin. As long as you do not replace your vet’s advice with pumpkin, this isn’t a disadvantage to worry about.
If you overfeed your dog pumpkin, just like anything, it can cause him to have an upset tummy. Follow these recommended amounts for safe consumption:
Pumpkin Benefits for Dogs: Final Thoughts
There are so many health benefits to feeding Fido pumpkin. You can incorporate it into his bowl for dinner time, or you can feed it as a healthy snack in between meals. However he takes it, he will love the sweet taste compared to boring commercial snacks, and it’s much healthier too.
From a healthy heart to eyes, and fighting cancer or chronic diseases, there isn’t a lot pumpkin doesn’t do for your pooch.
So, find yourself a pumpkin patch and get baking. Feeding a healthy and nutritious snack to Fido has never been so easy!
Featured Image: JillWellington, Pixabay