At one time it seems like pumpkin pie was strictly a food we encountered in October and November for Halloween and Thanksgiving. No more! With the new found love for all thinks pumpkin spice-flavored, pumpkin pie and other pumpkin foods are showing up year round. More pet lovers are asking whether dogs can eat pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin Pie Nutrition
Here’s the skinny on pumpkin pies and dogs. Pumpkin pies are delicious and they are made from pureed pumpkin – the inside pulp of the pumpkin, minus the seeds. However, pumpkin pie filling also uses several spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. A substance called myristicin in nutmeg is very bad for dogs. It acts as a neurotoxin. At high doses you can see disorientation, hallucinations, increased heart rate and blood pressure, dry mouth, abdominal pain, and seizures.
If you buy a ready-to-cook pumpkin pie, it will contain these spices. If you are making a pumpkin pie from scratch and you use pumpkin pie filling, the filling will contain these spices. If you buy a can of pureed pumpkin to make a pie, the recipe will call for these spices. Jars of “pumpkin pie spice” include these spices. You can leave nutmeg and some of the other spices out of your pie if you are using your own spices but it won’t have quite the same taste as a pumpkin pie usually has.
If you’re wondering, cinnamon is not toxic to your dog. It’s often used in doggy birthday cakes and cookies. However, too much is not recommended. Large amounts of the powder or exposure to the essential oil could lead to some health problems, especially in cats.
Clove oil and allspice both contain compounds called eugenols which can cause liver toxicity in cats. However, they seem to be relatively safe for dogs.
Ginger is safe for dogs (and cats). It’s often used in dog treats and snacks. However, you should not let your dog eat it in large amounts. Ginger is added to some dog foods today.
As for nutrition, pumpkin pie made from a recipe contains about 50 percent carbohydrates, 41 percent fats, and 9 percent protein. It’s a very good source of vitamin A, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, and selenium; and a good source of thiamin and riboflavin.
One slice of the pie (155 grams; cut into 1/8 pieces) contains 316 calories. One slice has 40.9 grams of carbohydrates, 14.4 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein.
The down side for pumpkin pie is that it’s high in cholesterol.
If you love pumpkin pie, the nutritional information is a mixed bag. The pumpkin itself is very healthy for you with all of those vitamins and minerals but most of the other things in the pie are less healthy. The pie crust contains butter (or lard) and flour. The pie filling contains eggs, sugar, and cream. The sugar, fat, and calories add up. If you add ice cream or whipped cream on top of your pie, count up more calories, sugar, and fat.
You can take some steps to use ingredients that have fewer calories, less sugar, and less fat but low-fat, sugar-free desserts are a little boring.
In any case, if you are thinking of sharing any pumpkin pie with your dog, plain pumpkin puree – not pumpkin pie filling – is the way to go. Leave out the spices if you intend to give any pumpkin to your dog.
Should You Give Your Dog Pumpkin Pie
We don’t recommend that you give your dog pumpkin pie to eat unless it is made with plain pureed pumpkin instead of pumpkin pie filling. Even in that case, pies are usually made with pie crusts that use flour and butter/lard so they feature a lot of fat and calories.
Giving your dog a piece of plain pumpkin pie made from pureed pumpkin occasionally isn’t the end of the world. Even if you give your dog a small piece of regular pumpkin pie (preferably without nutmeg), it won’t be terribly harmful as long as you only do it once in a while.
Just remember that pumpkin pie does contain a lot of sugar and fattening ingredients so it’s not a very healthy treat for your dog. This is especially true if your dog is diabetic or overweight/obese.
Too much sugar can affect your dog’s heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and other organs.
There are lots of recipes. These dog-friendly recipes would be a better choice for your dog than pumpkin pie.
What about Pumpkin and Dogs?
Pumpkin is great for your dog. People have been using small amounts of pumpkin as a home remedy for diarrhea and constipation in dogs for generations. While that might not seem to make sense, it’s because pumpkin is a source of fiber.
For dogs, pumpkin is loaded with fiber, beta-carotene, and B vitamins. It helps with digestion and even with anal gland health. It’s also a prebiotic that helps with beneficial gut bacteria. Vitamin A and zinc help with skin and coat health. And it’s low in calories.
Sweet and delicious pumpkin is packed with an impressive list of macronutrients, micronutrients, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, including dietary fiber, vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin A, iron, and potassium.
What If Your Dog Eats Some Pumpkin Pie Filling?
If your dog steals some pumpkin pie from your dish it probably won’t do him any harm. The tiny amount of nutmeg in a stolen piece of pie won’t hurt your dog.
However, if your Toy dog manages to eat an entire pumpkin pie, that likely requires a trip to the veterinarian. Not only could the nutmeg be a concern but the amount of sugar and fat in the pie could easily make your dog sick.
If your dog does steal some pie and you are worried about him, watch for these symptoms:
- Crying or whimpering
If your dog eats pumpkin pie filling, some degree of upset stomach can be normal. However, if it continues for more than an hour or two, contact your veterinarian.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Pumpkin Pie?
It’s best that you don’t give your dog pumpkin pie or pumpkin pie filling at all.
If you want to give your dog some pumpkin, use plain pureed pumpkin. You can buy pureed pumpkin in cans in the supermarket. It’s located in the same aisle as the pumpkin pie filling so it’s easy to get them confused.
You can also buy a pumpkin to give some of the pulp to your dog. To do this, you can cut the pumpkin in half and roast the halves slowly in your oven. When the pulp is tender, scoop it out and let it cool. It should be soft. You can use this pulp in recipes or give small amounts to your dog. Freeze it and it will keep.
Dogs usually love pumpkin as much as we do but spices such as nutmeg can be a problem for them. It’s best not to share pumpkin pie with your dog if it contains any spices. If you would like to give your dog any pumpkin, buy plain pureed pumpkin.