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Out of any type of food a dog can consume, most pet owners don’t have any idea why pumpkin is good for dogs in the first place. Why would they?
Pumpkin is everywhere, especially during the fall season. While dogs can’t of course, enjoy a pumpkin spiced latte or pumpkin pie like the rest of us, doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the nutritious and delicious taste of pumpkin for themselves.
Let’s take a closer look at this traditional fall staple to get a better idea of how pumpkin can benefit your own dog.
Is Pumpkin Good for Dogs?
In fact, pumpkin is surprisingly beneficial for canines and can treat anything from an upset stomach naturally to helping support a shiny coat. It is so nutritious in fact; you can easily feed pumpkin to your dog all year long if you want!
Is Pumpkin Safe for Dogs?
Pumpkin is a type of food that doesn’t contain harmful things such as salt, unnecessary sugar, spices or dangerous additives, making it a great source of dietary fiber and essential nutrients. However, keep in mind that this is only for canned pumpkin. Never feed your dog canned pumpkin pie.
Top 10 Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
While there are probably hundreds of different health benefits of pumpkin, for this post, we’ll keep it short.
1. Pumpkin is Rich in Essential Nutrients
Aside from being low in calories and natural sugars, pumpkin is rich in essential nutrients all canines need to thrive. Some of the vitamins and minerals pumpkins contain include:
- Vitamin A-this vitamin can help maintain a healthy immune system and support optimal vision.
- Vitamin C-this vitamin can help support collagen synthesis.
- Vitamin E-a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a natural antioxidant and regulates enzyme activity.
- Alpha Carotene-a vitamin that acts as a natural antioxidant that can help prevent cell damage.
- Calcium-a vitamin that helps to support healthy bone and teeth growth.
- Iron-a vitamin that is important for producing hemoglobin, support health cell respiration and promotes oxidation.
- Lutein-a vitamin essential for the support of healthy eyes, coat, and skin.
- Potassium-a vitamin that can help regulate blood pressure, support healthy muscles, and aid in supporting a healthy metabolism.
- Phosphorus-this vitamin can help support healthy bone growth.
- Magnesium-a vitamin that can help in absorbing potassium, zinc, calcium, aid in muscle regeneration and help in the aid of contracting and relaxing muscles.
2. Act as a Natural Anti-Diarrheal
Do you have a dog that seems to always have an upset belly? Instead of dragging your dog all the way to the vet (which of course, you should do in extreme cases), a dose of pumpkin can easily put a stop to loose stools in most dogs. All that is needed is around a tablespoon of the orange stuff to help firm up your dog’s bowel movements and make it an easier bathroom trip for your dog.
Pumpkin is naturally high in fiber, which can help ease most digestive issues.
3. Can Keep Your Dog Hydrated
One thing that most pet parents aren’t aware of is that pumpkin, especially canned pumpkin is made up of nearly 90% water. This can help keep dogs hydrated as they consume it, especially during the hot summer months. Adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet can benefit your dog for the long-term by supporting healthier skin and aiding in giving your dog that shiny coat you love.
4. Help Dogs Maintain a Healthy Weight
Dogs that struggle to maintain a healthy weight or those who need to lose a few extra pounds can benefit from some pumpkin added into their food. Pumpkin is naturally low in calories; it can be added as a supplement into your dog’s meal. It can help dogs feel fuller for longer periods of time by adding necessary volume and fiber to their daily feeding.
5. Supports Optimal Urinary Health
Pumpkin seeds and flesh contain oils and natural antioxidants that have been found to help support optimal urinary health. Pumpkin, the seeds importantly, contains Omega 3 fatty acids which have been known to have anti-inflammatory properties. These properties have been found to help remove kidney stones naturally and encourage healthy bladder function by reducing the occurrence of leaks from incontinence.
6. Help Regulate Bowel Movements
One of the most common ways to judge a dog’s health is by studying the number of times they poop throughout the day and how their poop looks. Most dogs that have firmer stools tend to have a harder time passing them, straining their muscles and potentially damaging muscles in the process. By adding pumpkin to your dog’s food, you can help give your dog additional fiber which can help your dog pass stools easier and help put a stop to constipation.
7. Support Healthy Skin and a Shiny Coat
As stated in this post, pumpkin contains natural antioxidants as well as vitamins A and Zinc. It also contains Omega 3 fatty acids, all of which have proven to help support healthy skin and a shiny coat. On top of that, with that added water content that can be found in pumpkin, it can help to contribute to healthy skin by moisturizing the skin naturally.
8. Act as a Natural Parasitic
One of the most common parasites canines suffers from are tapeworms. Tapeworms can cause mass destruction within a dog’s digestive system and can cause scary symptoms such as:
- Excessive weight loss
- A deficiency in nutrients
- Shabby and flaky coat
In this study, it was found that pumpkin, which contains cucurbitine, amino acids and fatty acids demonstrated to significantly reduce faecal egg counts and contained inhibitory properties against parasite motility.
9. Support Optimal Eye Health
Pumpkin contains Vitamin A, both beneficial to eye health in dogs as well as humans. Not only can pumpkin help promote eye health, but it can also help in the development of night vision and prevent eye degeneration illnesses.
10. Naturally, Protect Your Dog as They Age
As much as many of us wish our dogs can live forever, many of them age too quickly before our eyes. Pumpkin is loaded with natural antioxidants and beta-carotene, which the liver then converts into Vitamin A. These two minerals can help to naturally slow down the aging process and help to support optimal joint health as dogs enter their senior years.
How to Feed Pumpkin to Dogs
While it may seem obvious, there are right and wrong ways to feed pumpkin to your dog.
What to Avoid Feeding:
- Raw Pumpkin
- The skin
- Pumpkin pie filling
What to Feed:
- Fresh and cleaned pumpkin seeds
- 100% canned pumpkin
- Freshly baked pumpkin
Best Canned Pumpkin for Dogs
With the hundreds of different options available, it can be hard to find the best-canned pumpkin for your dog. Remember, you shouldn’t treat every can of pumpkin you see the same. You need to be wary of some of the canned pumpkin available such as pumpkin pie filling or canned pumpkin pie as these pumpkin products contain an ingredient called xylitol, an ingredient known to be toxic to dogs.
You’ll also want to avoid pumpkin products that contain:
- Salt added
- Unnecessary sugars
It is best to stick with plain and organic canned pumpkin. Be sure to read the labels of the canned pumpkin carefully to ensure there is nothing but 100% pumpkin in the can.
Why Pumpkin is Good for Dogs: The Bottom Line
If you are anything like me, as a pet parent we all want the best for our dogs. That is why I understand better than most what some of your concerns may be when adding a supplemental ingredient into your dog’s food. Pumpkin is a safe alternative to many other supplements out there that can even act as a tasty treat whenever you want to spice up their bland meal.
Want to add more pumpkin into your dog’s food? See our list of Top 10 Pumpkin Dog Food by clicking here.
Want to spoil your dog with some tasty pumpkin treats? See our latest Homemade Pumpkin dog treats by clicking here.
What do you think of pumpkin? Do you find it as beneficial for your dog as often toted about by other pet owners? Let me know in the comment section below!