You might think it’s strange to give a dog pumpkin or even ask about giving a dog pumpkin but the truth is that pumpkin can be very good for dogs in many ways.
What are the benefits of pumpkin for dogs?
At least one very good brand of dog food uses pumpkin as a source of fiber in some of their foods. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and can help keep dogs regular. Many experienced dog breeders and others often use a little canned pumpkin for gastrointestinal upset – it helps with both diarrhea and with constipation in dogs.
According to the PetMD.com, the oils from pumpkin seeds and flesh are thought to support urinary health. And dogs with urinary incontinence can benefit from a little pumpkin in their diet.
In times past, pumpkin seeds were given to dogs to get rid of worms. Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid cucurbitin which paralyzes and eliminates worms from the digestive tract. Some herbalists today are reviving this practice
Are there any harmful effects from giving pumpkin to dogs?
Pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin A. Both of these nutrients are good for your dog but, as usual, if your dog has too much of something, it can be a bad thing. Too much vitamin A can be toxic so don’t allow your dog to gorge himself on pumpkins in any form.
There is a difference between canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling. Canned pumpkin is nothing but the canned flesh of the pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling also contains sugar, fat, and spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Nutmeg is the big danger here as it can be toxic to dogs. (Cloves and allspice can lead to liver toxicity in cats.)
In general, it’s not a good idea to let your dog munch on a leftover Halloween pumpkin because of the possibility of choking, mold, bacteria, and other potential problems.
How to give your dog pumpkin
As we mentioned, there is at least one dog food company using pumpkin as a source of fiber in some of their kibbles. Other companies are using pumpkin in some of their canned foods. If your dog likes pumpkin, this would be one way to let him enjoy it.
Canned pumpkin (not the pie filling) is a delicious ingredient in many dog cookie recipes. You can find many good cookie recipes for dogs that include canned pumpkin.
You can also give your dog pumpkin seeds as a treat. It’s best to try to avoid salted seeds and try to find unsalted seeds. You can also grind the seeds and sprinkle them over his food. If you’re giving them for internal parasites, give your dog ¼ teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight daily until the parasites are gone.
Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits. They contain protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium in significant amounts.
Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are very good for dogs. As with most foods for your dog, you should give them in moderation. Too much of anything can be bad. But most dogs love pumpkin and it has many health benefits.