Yes, dogs can indeed eat pumpkin, as long as it is fresh, well-cooked and uncontaminated with pathogens.
Post Halloween, the Jack O’ Lanterns of your yard soon turn into favourite play toys for your dog. While your dog might be eager in helping you with the clean up, beware of the pumpkins that might be lying around, since these could be poisonous for your dog. Once you cut fresh pumpkins and carve them out, they collect bacteria and could become contaminated to the point of causing harm to your pet.
Is Pumpkin Harmful For Your Dog?
The answer is no – in fact pumpkin is a super-food for dogs. It is one of the most nutritious food types that a dog owner can include in his pet’s diet without any scepticism, is easy to prepare and has no side effects. Both cooked and raw pumpkins are safe for being consumed by your dog. Fresher the pumpkin, the safer it is for your dog.
You can also feed your dog pumpkin seeds, as long as they are not raw. Properly cleaned and roasted seeds are not only safe but also act as a natural, scrumptious snack for your canine.
How Does Your Dog Benefit From Eating Pumpkin?
Following are some health benefits that your canine can accrue from a pumpkin diet:
- Digestive health – Pumpkin is effective in regulating your dog’s bowel movement. Owing to being a source of fibre, pureed pumpkin without any added sugar or spice helps cure constipation in dogs. The insoluble fibres of pumpkins add softness to the stool of your dog by drawing water from the colon, thus making it easier for your dog to defecate. Adding a spoonful of pumpkin to your dog’s meal every day is bound to have a positive impact on digestion. Like human beings, your furry friend also suffers from diarrhoea, which could be attributed to its diet or stress. Pumpkin can be a helpful supplement in such a situation as the soluble fibre present in this vegetable adds bulk to the dog’s stool by absorbing water. Fibre fermentation generates useful fatty acids that provide energy to the cells, not mention encouraging the presence of useful bacteria. It also stimulates the intestinal sodium absorption and lowers the pH level of the large intestines. Dogs suffering from intestinal infections due to worms can be cured by being fed pumpkin seeds. The seeds contain an amino acid called Cucurbitacin, which works as a de-worming agent, and can flush out hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms from the digestive tract of your dog.
- Urinary health – Pumpkin seeds are enriched in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. So when you include them in your dog’s diet, the oils present in the flesh and seeds promote good urinary health by curing urinary incontinence through better bladder control and a proper flow.
- Healthy skin and coat – Besides being fibre enriched, pumpkins contain important vitamins like C, E, K and A, not to mention minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and Omega-3s. The essential fatty acids moisturise your pet’s skin from inside out, thus rendering the coat soft and smooth. Therefore, your dog gets a shinier coat if you include a spoonful of roasted pumpkin seeds in its regular diet.
- Weight loss – Apart from moisturizing, it helps the dog loose oodles of pounds if it suffers from obesity. The high dietary fibre content of pumpkin makes the dog feel full and thereby curtails hunger pangs. So, rather than cut down their food you can simply replace it with equal amounts of pumpkin and achieve your objective.
How Much Pumpkin should be Fed to Dogs?
Portion size largely depends on the size of your dog. For small dogs one or two teaspoon of mashed pumpkin is enough while for large-size dogs one or two tablespoons of pureed pumpkin is usually recommended.
How to Feed Pumpkin to Your Dog
Canned pumpkin is a good option for being included in your dog’s diet. You can also feed pumpkin seeds after they have been properly roasted, refrigerated and stored in air tight containers. Do not allow your dog to eat the shell of the pumpkin.
Another definite no-no is pumpkins that are used for Halloween because they are contaminated with bacteria and hence are not safe for your dog.
The best way to feed pumpkin to a dog is by cooking it till it is soft, mashing it and ladling it out without seasoning it with salt or spices.
Health benefits accruing from feeding pumpkins to dogs are plenty and as such it can be included in their regular diet. Adding pumpkin to your dog’s regular diet keeps your dog well hydrated.
But as with everything else, refrain from feeding too much pumpkin to your dog as it might lead to stomach upset, and ensure that the quantity is moderate, fresh and free from contamination or seasonings at all times.