Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin, and it’s healthy for them, too! Pumpkin contains vitamins and minerals that are good for healthy skin and support the immune system. Pumpkin also helps regulate your dog’s digestive system, and can provide relief for both diarrhea and constipation.
Is pumpkin good for dogs?
Pumpkin is a healthy food for your dog to eat. Benefits of pumpkin for dogs include:
- Pumpkin is a natural source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps improve your dog’s intestinal health by promoting solid, regular stools.
- Packed with nutrients that help keep your pup healthy, pumpkin has vitamin A, which helps with eye health and vitamin C which supports the immune system, in addition to calcium for bone health and lutein (an antioxidant) for the skin and coat.
- Pumpkin is full of prebiotics, which promote helpful bacteria (and curb harmful bacteria) in your dog’s gut microbiome.
- Pumpkin purée has a high moisture content so it can help keep your dog hydrated. Mixing in some pumpkin can also help entice picky dogs to eat their food.
- Pumpkin seeds have both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation, support skin and coat health, and promote heart health.
As with any new food, it’s important to introduce pumpkin into your dog’s diet gradually. Start with a small amount of pumpkin or pumpkin purée added to your dog’s regular food.
Is pumpkin a natural dewormer for dogs?
While the idea that pumpkin seeds work as a dewormer is popular in social media, it hasn’t been proven in clinical trials. Pumpkin seeds do contain a specific amino acid (cucurbitin) known to weaken intestinal worms, but they shouldn’t be relied on as a treatment. If you think or know that your dog has worms, you should consult your veterinarian and follow their recommendation.
What kind of pumpkin to feed your dog
There are a few different types of pumpkin that are safe for dogs to eat:
- Dog food with pumpkin is made especially for dog’s nutritional needs – it’s the easiest way to give your dog the benefits of pumpkin!.
- Plain canned pumpkin purée is a great option, but be sure it’s plain with no added salts, sugar,nutmeg or xylitol (which is toxic to dogs). NEVER use canned pumpkin pie filling.
- Fresh pumpkin that has been cooked or steamed and mashed or puréed, though if you’re feeding your dog pumpkin for the nutrients and fiber you might want to go with pumpkin purée because it has a higher concentration of both (fresh pumpkin has a higher water content).
- Fresh raw pumpkin in appropriately sized chunks or slices.
- Pumpkin seeds, raw or cooked with no salt, spices or oil.
- Pet-safe pumpkin powder can be used as a meal topper or even mixed into your dog’s water if they’ll drink it.
Technically dogs can eat pumpkin skin – it’s not toxic to them. But the skin on a pumpkin can be hard to chew and doesn’t digest as easily. Pumpkin rind can be a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage, so it’s best to discard the skin and rind if you choose to feed fresh pumpkin to your dog.
How to feed your dog pumpkin
Pumpkin can be fed to your dog in a variety of ways:
- Use pumpkin, pumpkin purée or pumpkin seeds as a topper on your dog’s usual food
- Bake homemade dog treats with pumpkin
- Make simple frozen treats: mix equal parts pure pumpkin purée with plain yogurt and freeze in an ice cube tray or mold
- Use pumpkin in stuffed dog toy
- Serve pumpkin as part of a barkuterie board
If your dog doesn’t like the taste of pumpkin you can mix it with a little (xylitol-free) peanut butter, bone broth, rice or unflavored yogurt to make it more palatable.
How much pumpkin to feed your dog
If feeding dog food made with pumpkin or using a pumpkin meal topper made for dogs, consult the package instructions. If using canned or fresh pumpkin, you should start small and go slowly.
Feeding too much pumpkin too quickly can cause digestive upset. And because pumpkin is high in fiber, too much of it can prevent your dog from absorbing all of the protein and nutrients they need. As a general guideline for both dogs and puppies, you can start with ½ tablespoon of pumpkin per 10 pounds of body weight, along with their regular meal.
As with any treat or safe human food for dogs, the pumpkin you feed your dog each day shouldn’t ever be more than 10% of their total calories. And it’s always best to check with your veterinarian before making significant changes to your dog’s diet.
How often you can give your dog pumpkin
It’s safe to give your dog pumpkin every day, as long as the serving size aligns with their caloric and nutritional needs.
What other vegetables are good for dogs?
Since dogs are omnivores, they eat both meat and plants. Although there are some vegetables that are dangerous for dogs to eat, such as garlic, onions and any other plant in the onion family, there are some that are healthy for dogs to eat as well.
- Carrots are a crunchy, low-calorie snack that are good for your dog’s teeth.
- Sweet potatoes have similar benefits to pumpkin as they’re high in fiber and vitamin C
- Broccoli is also high in fiber and vitamin C, and can be safely served to dogs raw or cooked
- Leafy greens are a superfood for both humans and dogs, rich in vitamins, minerals and a good source of fiber. Be sure to stick to greens that humans eat, like spinach.
- Cucumbers are a healthy, low-calorie treat for pups!
Be sure to always talk to your veterinarian before feeding new foods to ensure your dog is eating a nutritionally complete diet. And make sure any vegetables you feed your dog are prepared without oil or seasonings, and in safely-sized pieces.
Not only can dogs eat pumpkin, it’s a fun, seasonal way to incorporate vitamins and nutrients into their diet. Feed your pup some pumpkin this fall and show them what the pumpkin-flavored craze is all about! Try out these simple Halloween-themed dog treat recipes using pumpkin, or learn how to safely feed your dog turkey.
Explore Stella & Chewy’s dog food recipes with pumpkin:
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