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Pumpkin for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Dogs can have very little pumpkins. We think pumpkins are gorgeous and bright during the fall season (lattées? Bread? Pie! ). However, its superfood status means it can be eaten all the time. Do dogs like food when they are young? Yes pumpkins have a healthy diet for dogs as well - it has many beneficial nutrients for everything from healthy fur to eyes and hair. Even the most beneficial things can be detrimental to a dog. Tell us how I can feed my dog Pumpkin. What is a good recipe for dog food? All the necessary information for a complete life.

 

Did you know that pumpkins are America’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert? But why does no one ever speak about pumpkins and dogs?

 

There is a never ending debate about whether a pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable. Since it has seeds it is viewed as a fruit, but in the cuisine it is used in savory dishes and can be viewed as a vegetable. Pumpkins are not famous only during Halloween. If you carefully read the label of your dog’s food, you can often find pumpkin as an ingredient. 

 

We’ve done in-depth research about the benefits of pumpkin for dogs! This guide will help you make informed choices for your furry friend’s well-being. 

Jump to: 

Health Benefits of Pumpkin: Nutrition Profile

is pumpkin safe for dog

This superfood increases the attention of scientists due to its nutritional profile. It contains many bioactive compounds that are significant to human and animal nutrition. 

 

According to the National Agricultural Library, 1 cup (245 g) of mashed cooked pumpkin has the following composition: 

  • Water: 93.7 g
  • Calories: 49 kcal 
  • Protein: 1.76 g
  • Fat: 0.172 g
  • Fiber: 2.7 g
  • Carbohydrate: 12 g

Pumpkin is rich in fiber which can improve digestion in dogs. Dogs mostly consume food rich in proteins, but in cases of constipation or some other gastrointestinal issues, food with fiber can improve overall digestion. Pumpkin also contains the following bioactive compounds: 

  • Calcium: 36.8 mg 
  • Iron: 1.4 mg 
  • Magnesium: 22 mg 
  • Phosphorus: 73.5 mg 
  • Potassium: 564 mg 
  • Zinc: 0.564 mg 
  • Copper: 0.223 mg 
  • Vitamin C: 11.5 mg
  • Vitamin E: 1.96 mg 
  • Vitamin A: 12100 IU
  • Vitamin B6: 0.108 mg 

The significant amount of vitamin A in pumpkins can boost the immune system in animals, but it is also a great nutrient for improving eye health. Only 1 cup of mashed pumkin contains 12100IU of vitamin A, and according to AAFCO dogs need 5000 IU/kg per day.

 

However, we advise you to consult a veterinarian to determine the daily recommendation for vitamin A based on your dog’s current health status. 

 

Note: When you feed your dog with pumpkin, make sure it is plain and without any other sugars and spices. 

The Benefit of Pumpkin: Scientific Evidence 

Pumpkin has many benefits due to its bioactive compounds, including aiding in managing mild cases of dog diarrhea by adding bulk and absorbing water. However, this is not a “magic” food that can cure any disease or improve any condition, and it's important to note that too much pumpkin can lead to gastrointestinal upset. This is why we recommend you consult a veterinarian before adding it to your dog’s diet, especially for health issues like diarrhea, to ensure moderation and prevent potential nutritional deficiencies.

 

Here are some of the main benefits accompanied by scientific evidence!

Also Read - Best Joint Supplements for Puppies: A Vet's Guide

1. Improved digestion 

Constipation is a common clinical problem in dogs. It is a condition when the intestines have hypomotility (decreased gastrointestinal movement and slower digestion) and the consequence is an enlarged colon.

 

Pumpkin, especially in the form of pureed pumpkin, can be considered as a dietary fiber supplement. Pureed pumpkin is a form of pumpkin that can be easily integrated into a dog's food to support digestion and manage constipation. In dogs, it is well tolerated, effective, and can act as a laxative. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, 1-4 tbsp per meal of pumpkin can improve digestion and constipation. This amount contains between 0.2 to 0.6 g of fiber.

 

Pumpkin can help reduce intestinal pains and diarrhea in dogs, but small doses should be used. Add 1 to 2 cups to the regular dog food, slowly increasing the amount to prevent your dog from symptoms. When you feed pumpkin to your dog for these health benefits, ensure it's plain canned pumpkin. It's crucial to avoid canned pumpkin pie filling and dog pumpkin pie filling, as these contain added sugars, spices, and ingredients like xylitol, which are harmful to dogs.

 

In addition, feeding plain canned pumpkin can also help in diarrhea or constipation due to its natural water content and high fiber. This makes the stool bulkier, which could be beneficial if the dog has mild constipation. Remember, moderation is key, and proper preparation without harmful additives is essential for their health.

2. Controlling obesity 

Obesity is one of the biggest threats in the 21st century. It affects both humans and dogs and it can be complicated with diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia (imbalance of blood lipid fat levels), cardiovascular disorders, and joint issues. Supplements or foods rich in dietary fiber may possess benefits in weight control management. 

 

Pumpkin in some cases can reduce the calorie intake and increase the satiety depending on the current health condition of the dog. One study evaluated this effect. The results from this study show that high-fiber diets can lead to reduced calorie intake. This can also improve food satiety in dogs. 

 

Research also shows that a combination of dietary fiber or carnitine can decrease the begging behavior between meals. This combination also led to an increase of 3-hour post-meal satiety. The research included 12 dogs for examining the satiety in dogs. The other part of the study included 7 overweight female Beagles focusing on weight loss in dogs. 

 

The results from the study showed that a high-fiber diet has the potential to reduce body weight in animals but can also increase fat utilization without affecting cholesterol, plasma triglyceride, and lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations. 

Also Read - Is Turmeric Good for Dog Joint Health?

3. Supportive treatment of anal sac disease

Anal sac disease is a common condition in dogs and it manifests with clogging due to duct inflammation. The fluid from the sacs reduces and this leads to swollen sacs, difficult defecation, pain, and discomfort. Studies show that this disease can occur in both obese and non-obese dogs. 

 

In animals affected with this disease, a diet that is rich in water and fiber can improve the condition. Pumpkins in various supplement forms are rich in fiber and water and can improve the natural expression of the anal glands

4. Boosted immune system 

Pumpkin contains bioactive compounds that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can neutralize the free radicals in the body and reduce the chances of oxidative stress. Pumpkins contain antioxidants such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.

 

This food is also rich in vitamin C and can improve the immune cell function which leads to an increased white cell production. Animal studies confirm that this vitamin can improve antibody production in cases of infections. 

 

Beta-carotene transforms into vitamin A and can lead to improved vision in animals. Beta-carotene is also known as a precursor, which is converted into the active form of the vitamin - retinol. Again, please keep in mind that this is not a treatment or a cure.

5. Skin benefits

Pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids comparatively to other vegetables. These essential fatty acids can improve the overall health of animals. According to studies, supplements rich in healthy fatty acids can improve the animal’s condition in cases of pruritus, and alopecia, and can improve the overall coat and skin health. While this can help your dog, please keep in mind to consult your vet for an appropriate solution tailored to your dog's specific condition.

Is Pumpkin good for Dogs? 

Yes, pumpkin is good and safe for dogs. It is a rich source of fiber, iron, vitamin A, potassium, and carotene. Pumpkin can be a healthy addition to your dog's food, especially when used as a topper or ingredient, provided it's 100% pumpkin or plain pumpkin without harmful additives. It is contained in many commercially available foods and its main purpose is to improve overall digestion.

 

If you decide to add homemade pumpkin to your dog’s diet, make sure it is made without sugar and spices. Also, carefully peel the skin of the pumpkin because it might represent a choking hazard for smaller dog breeds. It's important to avoid letting dogs eat pumpkin pie, as it often contains high fat and potentially dangerous ingredients like artificial sweeteners. While dogs can eat raw pumpkin in small quantities, it's crucial to avoid the skin and outer parts to prevent digestive upset.

can dog eat pumpkin

Different Forms of Pumpkin Supplements for Dogs

The safest option when adding “human food” to your dog’s diet is to find already formulated commercially available food. You can always prepare the pumpkin at home, but you need to be extra careful in the preparation process.

 

There are different forms of pumpkin supplements including:

  • Pumpkin powder
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Canned pumpkin

Pumpkin powder is a supplement that can be used as a puree when mixed with water, as a topper, or as a mix-in with food. This form of supplement is concentrated and can bring a higher fiber content per gram since the product does not contain water. However, the negative thing about this supplement is that it does not contain water, nor it is fresh.

 

Pumpkin puree is a blended form of cooked pumpkin. It can also be made at home as mashed pumpkin. You can use the puree as a treat or as an ingredient in the meal. Make sure that the puree is free from sugar and spices. If you decide to serve it as part of a meal be careful to do so in moderation. Fresh cooked pumpkin served as a puree is always a better option than canned puree.

 

Canned pumpkin, specifically plain canned pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree, is another convenient option that is easily available for dogs. It's crucial to choose plain canned pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree, as these are safe for dogs when they are 100% pumpkin with no added ingredients. Avoid canned pumpkin pie filling, which contains added sugars, spices, and potentially harmful ingredients like xylitol. Always ensure that the canned pumpkin is free from sugar and spices. If you have any concerns before including this form of pumpkin, consult a veterinarian.

 

The amount of fiber in these supplements varies depending on the manufacturing process and the brand. Typically, ½  cup of puree or canned pumpkin contains around 1.35 grams of dietary fiber. If you need to increase the amount of fiber significantly, pumpkin alone will not be enough.

How Much Pumpkin Is Enough for Dogs? 

How Much Pumpkin Is Enough for Dogs

The optimal recommendation is 1 to 4 pumpkin tablespoons per meal to your dog’s diet, but this also depends on the chosen supplements and forms, and also on the dog’s weight. However, it's crucial to avoid feeding too much pumpkin, as excessive amounts can lead to gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, and potential nutritional deficiencies. Moderation is key to prevent these unintended side effects.

 

Our recommendation is to consult a veterinarian before adding pumpkin supplement to your dog’s diet to ensure you're following the recommended amounts and to avoid digestive issues. Don’t forget to check the product’s label and see the recommendations based on the dog’s body weight. Always start gradually and start increasing the dose over time.

To Sum Up 

Pumpkin is a beneficial food and supplement for dogs. It can improve the overall digestion and metabolism of dogs. Before adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet, be careful about the dosage. If you have any concerns, consult a veterinarian. 

Have you ever given your dog a pumpkin or a pumpkin supplement? We are curious! If yes, let us know about the dog’s reaction to it! 

 

Author: Dr. Jeremy

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), MS

Meet Jeremy, a passionate veterinarian and co-founder of Jope, with a decade of experience—7 years in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industry and 3 years as a veterinarian. Passionate about enhancing the well-being of pets, Jeremy's mission is to provide practical, evidence-based advice and products that support pet parents and their furry companions. His favorite breed, the Australian Shepherd, holds a special place in his heart for their playfulness, cleverness, and beauty.

Join Jeremy on an insightful journey through the world of pet health and discover how science and compassion come together to improve the lives of pets.

The content presented here is for informational purposes and reflects Jeremy's own opinions, expertise, and experience. It is not intended to replace professional veterinary consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. For personalized advice and care for your pets, always consult with your veterinarian.

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