Pumpkin for Dogs: A cure-all for your dog’s GI problems? How is it possible that one food item can treat both diarrhea and constipation? Read on to find out more about how this humble veg can ease some of your canine’s tummy troubles. Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin? Is Pumpkin Good for Dogs? You Bet!
That’s affirmative! Pumpkin is good for your dog! Pumpkin is a nutrient powerhouse. It contains a whole bunch of beneficial nutrients:
- Vitamin A is good for the eyes and supports the immune system.
- Vitamin C is an important agent in many enzymatic reactions in the body. It also boosts the immune system. Vitamin C is vital for the synthesis of collagen (the stuff that your pup’s ligaments and tendons are made of).
- Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant – keeping all those harmful free radicals under control.
- Calcium is all-important for the development and maintenance of strong teeth and bones. Calcium also plays a role in many cellular reactions.
- Iron is vital for hemoglobin production. Hemoglobin carries oxygen around in the blood – super important!
- Zinc is good for healthy skin and shiny coats.
- Potassium is important for the contraction of muscle fibers and your dog’s muscle recovery after exercise.
Pumpkin added to your dog’s meals can also aid in weight management. The fiber content in pumpkin encourages a feeling of fullness despite fewer calories being consumed. This can decrease the physiological need to eat more and thus assist in weight loss.
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Need a Dog Upset Stomach Remedy?
Diarrhea is quite common in dogs. Their questionable dietary preferences (roadkill, trash, and sweaty gym socks) sometimes result in your dog feeling a bit under the weather. Unpleasant messes in the house and plenty of trips outside to ‘potty’ are no fun for you, or for your dog.
Fortunately, most cases of diarrhea are relatively short-lived and self-limiting. If your dog still has a bit of an appetite, adding some pumpkin to its meals can potentially alleviate diarrhea or constipation.
Potential Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs
What got you reaching for that can of pumpkin in the first place? The most common dietary causes of diarrhea in dogs are:
- Poor quality diet
- Sudden changes in diet
- Allergies to foods containing e.g. lactose, wheat gluten, corn or soy
- Eating indigestible items such as plants, carpeting, fabric, sticks or stones
- Eating garbage, carrion or rotten food
- From eating poop (coprophagia)
Other causes of diarrhea include stressful events and illnesses such as intestinal parasites and viral infections.
From Dog Diarrhea to Constipation: Pumpkin Can Help!
Feeding dogs pumpkin can ease both a runny tummy and a blocked bowel. If your hound has an upset tummy or you think that your pup is constipated, you can try to remedy the situation by adding pumpkin to its meals for 24 – 36 hours.
If your pooch is still acting ill and the bowel movements have not normalized, seek veterinary advice immediately.
Diarrhea in puppies can lead to very serious consequences very quickly. If your pup has a runny tummy and has missed vaccinations, don’t delay, get veterinary assistance right away.
How This Gourd Can Help with an Upset Stomach and Diarrhea
So, what is it about pumpkin for dogs that makes it such a great cure for both diarrhea and constipation? Over and above all the fantastic nutrients, pumpkin contains fiber. Both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can absorb excess water in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). This helps to reduce and relieve diarrhea.
On the other hand, the insoluble fiber draws water into the GIT. This makes the stool softer and bulkier and easier to pass.
Probiotics (beneficial bacteria) are an integral part of any healthy GIT. By lowering the pH in the gut and providing nutrients for the bacteria, dietary fiber acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics stimulate the growth and activity of probiotics. They also inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. This is all round great for your doggo!
What Pumpkin Should I Feed My Dog?
Fresh pumpkin, as well as canned pumpkin, are good sources of nutrients and fiber. Make sure that the canned pumpkin does not contain any additives such as salt, sugar or spices.
If you are going to feed Fido fresh pumpkin, you can give it raw or cook it. Cooked pumpkin for dogs is more easily digestible. If you prefer to use raw pumpkin, you can grate it and add to your dog’s meal. There are several ways in which you can cook your pumpkin:
1. You can steam the pumpkin in a microwave steamer basket.
2. Bake it in the oven. Place cut pieces of pumpkin on a lightly greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 1 hour at 350 °F (180°C).
3. Boil: Cut the peeled pumpkin into cubes roughly the same size. Place in a pot with boiling water and cook until soft and tender, approximately 20 – 30 minutes.
4. Roast: Place a hollowed-out pumpkin in an oven preheated to 350 °F for 1-2 hours or until the pumpkin flesh is soft.
Take care not to let your dog eat the stem, skin, or raw seeds of the pumpkin.
Please do not feed your dog leftover Jack-O-Lanterns! A pumpkin that has been standing for a while, can be moldy and toxic for your dog.
Is Canned Pumpkin Safe for Dogs?
If it doesn’t contain salt, sugar, spices, or any other additives, canned pumpkin is A-OK. Canned pumpkin is a good source of dietary fiber and healthy nutrients.
Never use canned pumpkin pie. Amongst other things, it may contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Canned pumpkin is a handy option because you can always have a can or two stashed away in the pantry for emergencies. Make sure that the pumpkin for dogs is within its use-by date before adding some to your doggo’s dinner.
How Much Pumpkin to Give a Dog with an Upset Stomach/ Diarrhea
The amount of pumpkin that you feed to your dog depends on how big your dog is.
- Small adult dog: 2.5 – 5 ml pumpkin per day
- Medium adult dog: 15 ml per day
- Large adult dog: 20 – 30 ml per day
Always introduce a new food item gradually. Keep an eye on your dog’s bowel movements to be able to make note of any changes. If your dog’s diarrhea or constipation persists or is accompanied by any other signs, please seek the advice of a veterinarian! Pronto!
Make sure that your dog is well hydrated when introducing a fiber-rich food such as pumpkin to the diet. Dehydration can worsen constipation. Always have accessible fresh water available for your pet.
With pumpkin, it is not a case of “more of a good thing is better”. The ingestion of too much pumpkin can lead to toxic levels of the fat-soluble vitamins A and E in dogs and cats. Too much fiber can also wreak havoc on the precarious balance of the GIT flora.
6 Fun Ways to Feed Your Dog Pumpkin!
1. Use some pureed cooked pumpkin for dogs to fill a Kong or other stuffable chew toy. You can add some mashed banana, peanut butter and/or yogurt (unsweetened) to the mix to make a truly tasty and healthy treat!
2. Make your pooch a pumpkin latté! Add 2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin and 1 tablespoon of yogurt (preferably with live cultures) to 1 cup of warm water. Blitz together and serve to your doggo with a light dusting of cinnamon.
3. In the Summer months, you can make your dog a healthful and refreshing pumpkin ice cream. Make a mixture of cooked mashed pumpkin, banana, yogurt and peanut butter. Freeze in a small cup or in an ice tray. Once frozen, pop it out and give your pooch a tasty pumpkin popsicle! This is a great way to use up any excess pumpkin as frozen pumpkin keeps for a good while.
4. Pumpkin training treats are fun and useful. Add some mashed pumpkin to your usual dog treat recipes or try this recipe. Roll out the dough and use fun cookie cutters to make interesting shaped treats for your pet! If your pooch has a wheat or gluten intolerance, try substituting rice flour or coconut flour for the wheat flour.
5. Pumpkin for dogs gravy! Add a little pumpkin puree to low-sodium beef- or chicken broth. Pour this concoction over your dog’s dinner. Once again, you can also add things like unsweetened yogurt or peanut butter to this mixture.
6. Chop your plain pumpkin up into bite-size cubes. Place on a lightly greased roasting tray. Bake for approximately 1 hour at 350 °C. Sprinkle a few of these over your dog’s dinner or keep them in a sealed container in the refrigerator to use as treats through the day.