Don’t recycle an old Jack O’Lantern as a snack for your dog! Carved pumpkins, especially ones that have been sitting outside for a while, can breed mold and bacteria, which can make your beloved pet pretty sick (and that’s scary).
What Are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs?
Pumpkin boasts some serious health benefits for your dog.
Adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet or dog treats is a great way to soothe and regulate a dog’s digestive system, providing relief from both diarrhea and constipation.
If your pooch has the poops, fiber in pumpkin can help make your dog’s stools more solid and regular, and its prebiotic properties regulate the growth of good bacteria in your dog’s intestines (and curb the growth of bad stuff).
Conversely, if your canine is constipated, adding pumpkin to his or her pet food can help, too. Adding pumpkin to your dog’s food can help ease mild constipation.
Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, which Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS, says is crucial for brain and eye development. When combined with vitamin C, E, and other antioxidants in pumpkin, pups benefit from all-around immune support.
Pumpkin is also a great source of vitamin E, potassium, and beta carotene. “Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that keeps away those free radicals that can trigger abnormal cell growth,” Dr. Claudine Sievert told us. “It also keeps your dog’s internal organs working healthy (as well as promotes overall heart health). Carotenoids help maintain your dog’s eye and skin health. Iron keeps your dog’s hemoglobin levels up, while potassium has a big role in maintaining your dog’s muscles.”
Pumpkin can also help in weight control because it’s high in fiber content and low in calories.
Keep in mind, though, much of the success of feeding pumpkin to dogs also depends on the cause of their gastrointestinal issues. If feeding your pooch pumpkin doesn’t seem to be helping your baby get back to his or herself, talk to your veterinarian.
How much pumpkin should you feed your dog daily
When first introducing pumpkin to your dog’s diet, start slowly. Monitor the firmness and frequency of the stools and any effects on the activity of the GI tract. A recommended guide is
Adult small and medium dogs – 1/2 a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon daily
Adult large dogs – 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons pumpkin daily.
For pumpkin seeds, suggested quantity is
Small dogs 1/8 teaspoon daily, medium dogs – 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon daily, .large dogs – 1/2 to 1 teaspoon daily.