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Pumpkin for Dogs With an Upset Stomach: Does It Help? Vet-Approved Facts & Tips

Annaliese Morgan

By Annaliese Morgan

black labrador dog eating his long pumpkin treat

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Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

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

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Pumpkins are glorious, orange harbingers of Halloween and fall. They are also a vegetable full of nutrition that is used in various health hacks. If your dog has an upset stomach or a case of diarrhea, then pumpkin may be able to help 1! Pumpkin, a food rich in many nutrients, is potentially able to help your dog’s upset stomach.  But why is this, and what type do I feed them?

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Is Pumpkin Good for Dogs?

As with any new food you wish to introduce to your dog, particularly human foods, it is best to check first with your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist. Even safe human foods may be contraindicated in some dogs if they have a pre-existing health condition.

Pumpkin is a safe human food to give to your dog, assuming there are no medical reasons not to, as it is full of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and iron. The fiber, amongst other nutrients found in pumpkins, helps to regulate and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal system.

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

What Type of Pumpkin Should I Give My Dog?

Pumpkin is available in a few forms: fresh, canned, and pumpkin powder, all of which can help an upset stomach. However, be careful not to use pumpkin pie mix, as this can contain xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs.

The best type of pumpkin to offer your dog is plain canned pumpkin, which is handy, as canned pumpkin is available all year round and is the most fiber rich option. Although fresh pumpkin has great nutrients too, the canned version possesses a higher concentration of fiber and certain nutrients compared to fresh pumpkin. Be sure to feed plain, canned pumpkin, as added ingredients, such as spices and salt, will likely irritate your dog’s stomach further.

Pumpkin powder can be used if canned or fresh pumpkin is unavailable or you don’t have it on hand. However, be sure that the only ingredient is pumpkin.

piebald dachshund cute autumn pet funny photo eating pumpkin on halloween
Photo Credit: Photobox.ks, Shutterstock

Will Feeding Pumpkin to My Dog Help Diarrhea?

It definitely can, especially in mild cases! Dogs suffering from more moderate to severe diarrhea should see the vet for assessment.

Pumpkin can assist in reducing diarrhea and relieving upset stomachs by helping the dog’s gut health in the following ways:
  • The fiber found in pumpkin is of the soluble variety and has the ability to absorb water from the system, therefore thickening the feces.
  • The fermentation of fiber produces beneficial fatty acids, which aid in supplying energy to bodily cells.
  • Lowers the pH of the large intestine which promotes the growth of the beneficial bacteria that help to outcompete harmful bacteria.
  • Pumpkin, or more specifically the fiber found in pumpkin, acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics serve as food for beneficial bacteria in the colon, encouraging their growth and helping them to outcompete the harmful bacteria.

All these benefits assist your dog’s stomach and gastrointestinal system in recovering from their upset tummy or diarrhea episode. Your vet may also prescribe a probiotic (containing live, good gut bacteria) alongside the use of pumpkin, which acts as a prebiotic (food for the probiotic).

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Conclusion

Many dogs will at some point have an upset tummy, but pumpkin is a great vegetable to use to either maintain a healthy gut or to assist in healing an upset stomach. It might be worth keeping a can of plain (with nothing added), canned pumpkin in your food cupboard at home for use on such occasions, as it has been seen to help dogs with upset stomachs.


Featured Photo Credit: V Pictures, Shutterstock

Annaliese Morgan

Authored by

Annaliese graduated from Edinburgh as a veterinary nurse and went on to gain a diploma in advanced surgical veterinary nursing from London. During this time, she held head nurse positions in both small and mixed veterinary practices and was tasked with training other veterinary nurses. In addition to running the nursing department and nurse clinics, she also implemented new patient care protocols. ...Read more

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