From decadent pumpkin desserts to detailed front porch displays, pumpkin is likely already flooding your feed this season in some form or another.
It’s no secret that this nutritious plant food is an autumn favorite. Found in beers, lattes, baked goods, and really, anything you can dream up, many people wonder if pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat, too.
Let’s discuss the nutritional properties of pumpkin and if it’s appropriate to feed to your pooch.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?
The simple answer is — yes — dogs can eat pumpkin. In fact, both the pulp and the seeds are safe for dogs to consume.
To clarify, when we say “pumpkin,” we mean canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin that has been steamed and mashed — not the pumpkin pie mix or the actual raw gourd. Eating a raw, whole pumpkin is not recommended because it’s difficult to digest and the leaves and stem may have prickly hairs that can harm your pup.
Pumpkin puree (100% pumpkin), however, is a wise choice for dog owners given its nutritional properties.
Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
Pumpkin has a wide range of benefits for your pooch, especially when it comes to digestive health.
As a fiber-rich food, pumpkin is a great natural way to ease digestion. In fact, its fiber content is known to help dogs that are suffering from diarrhea because it absorbs water and adds bulk to their stool. The fiber content in pumpkin also serves as a prebiotic, lowering pH levels and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.
If your pooch is suffering from diarrhea, consult your vet about introducing pumpkin into their diet. Along with other bland foods like bone broth and white rice, it may just help give their belly the reprieve it needs.
Nutrients & Antioxidants
Pumpkin contains a wide variety of vital nutrients, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and iron. It’s also low in sodium and calories, so some dog owners even substitute it for kibble every once and a while if their vet recommends it as part of a weight loss plan.
Pumpkin, and even the seeds inside, contain important antioxidants like beta-carotene. It’s generally safe for dogs to snack on the seeds if your vet approves.
How to Feed Your Dog Pumpkin
If you plan on incorporating pumpkin into your dog’s diet, it’s important to do so safely. Make sure you get 100% pumpkin, either canned from the grocery store or steamed and mashed at home. Be careful if you opt for the can — many grocers offer cans of pumpkin pie filling in the same section as pure pumpkin. The pie filling contains added salt and sugar, and nutmeg, which can be toxic to dogs.
The following are a few common ways dog owners can incorporate pumpkin:
- Mix it into kibble: Take a spoonful of pumpkin and mix it directly into your dog’s daily kibble.
- Top it off: Top dog treats or regular kibble with pumpkin.
- Fill a kong: Stuff a few spoonfuls of pumpkin inside a kong, or any other hollow chew toy.
- Bake homemade dog treats: Get out your apron and make your pup some healthy homemade treats. There are hundreds of recipes for dog treats, but you’ll likely see pumpkin paired with nut butter, flour, and egg to create a canine-approved cookie.
Pumpkin can be a great way to keep your dog healthy and happy, however, we always recommend consulting your vet before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet. In addition to a healthy diet, your pup might also benefit from a digestive support chew or multivitamin. These promote strong digestive health, nutrient absorption, and immunity support.
Next time you visit the pumpkin patch or grab that pumpkin spice latte, remember that pumpkin has benefits for your pooch, too.