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5 Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs (Based on Science)

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates


Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re looking for a way to enhance your dog’s diet with some type of supplement, you might have run across pumpkin. Pumpkin has numerous health benefits for dogs, mostly aimed at digestion.

So if you have a rather sensitive pooch and you’re looking for ways to soothe their gastrointestinal system, pumpkin can be an excellent additive to consider. As always, consult with your veterinarian before making radical changes to your pup’s diet. Now, let’s look in more detail at some of the benefits that pumpkin can offer dogs.


The 5 Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

1. Settles the Stomach

Some dogs can have incredibly sensitive stomachs. You might see pumpkin listed as an ingredient in multiple dog food recipes targeting this very area of health. If your dog has had trouble in the past, adding pumpkin to their existing dry kibble is another way to enhance the benefits by soothing the tummy.

2. Improves Overall Digestion

Pumpkins are extremely high in fiber. Because of this, it really aids in the digestive process. Pumpkin is considered a soluble fiber that slows digestion, which helps absorb water from mild diarrhea and helps relieve constipation. If your dog has an adequately portioned helping of pumpkin in their food, it will help maintain a healthy stool and keep the tummy happy.

diced pumpkin on wooden board
Image Credit: Helena Zolotuhina, Shutterstock

3. Decreases in Anal Gland Problems

Anal gland expression can really run up vet bills. Pumpkin in the body can work as a parasite defense, which works to prevent anal gland issues because it gives stool consistency, aiding in natural anal gland expression during defecation.

4. Decreases Hairball Issues

Although we typically think of cats when we hear hairballs, dogs can get them too. Again, thanks to the high content of fiber in pumpkin, it can help pass ingested hairs through the gastrointestinal system, enabling them to work their way through without blockages or problems like the formation of hairballs.

5. Helps Diarrhea and Constipation

Dogs can get constipation or diarrhea for numerous reasons. Some of these reasons include diet changes, eating something they shouldn’t, and stress or anxiety. Before speaking on the issue further, we want to point out that if diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours at a time, please contact your veterinarian for further guidance. However, with small bouts of gastrointestinal upset, pumpkin can be a real lifesaver!

Image Credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay

Divider-Dog bone- New

Pumpkin Is Full of Nutrients

It’s no wonder that pumpkins can have such beneficial effects on your dog’s body. It is packed full of nutrients such as:

Niacin, or vitamin B3, helps your dog’s body turn food into energy. It also helps regulate the nervous system and create healthy skin and coat.
Folate, or vitamin B9, contributes to healthy cell function and reproduction.
Vitamin B6:
Vitamin B6 benefits your dog’s body, including protecting heart function, promoting brain health, and preventing anemia.
Pantothenic Acid: Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, plays a vital role in several metabolic functions, including the control of the stress-related hormones stemming from the adrenal glands.
Calcium plays many vital roles in your dog’s system, from bone strengthening to carrying messages between the body and brain.
Phosphorus: Phosphorus helps your dog’s body grow, maintain, and repair cells, tissue structures, and functions.
Potassium works with sodium and the body to maintain normal fluid levels inside and outside cells. It also helps with muscle contraction and healthy blood pressure.
Copper works in your dog’s body to make the hemoglobin of red blood cells and strengthen nerve cells and immune responses.

Make Sure to Get the Right Pumpkin

If you’re buying a pumpkin for your dog, always get pumpkin purée or get fresh pumpkin and purée it yourself. Canned pumpkin for pumpkin pies is completely inadequate due to the sugar content and other ingredients.

Depending on your dog’s size, you can add between 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin purée to your dog’s meal per feeding. This actual measurement will change depending on your dog’s overall weight. While pumpkin is very good for your puppy’s system, it can be counterproductive if you feed them too much.

You can also serve your dog freshly baked pumpkin if you have any on hand. You simply remove the seeds and bake it in the oven until it is soft and ready to serve.

As a treat, you can also give your dog crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds. These baked seeds are fun to make, and they have just as many health benefits. To avoid choking hazards, you can grind them up and add them to your dog’s regular meals.

canned pumpkin on a green bowl
Image By: BW Folsom, Shutterstock

Pumpkin Is Also Good for Cats

In addition to being an excellent additive to a dog diet, pumpkin can be just as beneficial for cats. So if you have a multi-pet household, share the pumpkin love.


Dogs + Pumpkin: Final Thoughts

Pumpkin can be a terrific additive for dogs of any age or health level. However, it can be ultra beneficial to some dogs that have problems with upset tummies, digestion, and anal gland problems.

Pumpkin has a wide array of benefits that can help the dogs (and the cats) in your home. Just make sure to correctly portion the amount of pumpkin you’re offering your animals so it works its magic best. As always, ask your vet before making any changes in your dog’s diet.

Featured Image Credit: Pxhere

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