Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin? Your Questions Answered
It’s autumn, there’s pumpkin spiced latte in the air, and you’re wondering: should I be concerned if my dog sneaks a bite of pumpkin guts while we’re carving? Is pumpkin toxic for dogs? Or maybe — is pumpkin healthy for dogs?
This autumn season, we’ve put together everything you need to know on if your dog can eat pumpkin.
What kind of pumpkin is safe for dogs?
Good news: pumpkin is safe and healthy for dogs! To give your dog the great taste and health benefits of pumpkin, fresh pumpkin flesh or plain canned pumpkin is best. Baked pumpkin is another good option if your pup prefers a different texture.
Unsalted pumpkin seeds are okay for your dog and can be roasted or ground to a smaller size if that’s easier for your pooch. Dogs can also have plain pumpkin soup without any added spices or sugar. If you do want to add a bit of sweetness, we recommend a touch of honey.
What kind of pumpkin is NOT safe for dogs?
It’s important to remember that not every pumpkin product is safe for dogs. Generally, pumpkin prepared for human consumption will have added components that we like but may not be healthy for your pup. That’s why you should never feed your dog canned pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie filling or anything else that contains added salt, sugar or spices.You should also be cautious while you’re carving jack-o-lanterns. Your pup may be curious — or hungry — but even though it’s okay for them to have a bite of the plain pumpkin flesh, don’t feed your pet the pumpkin stem or skin. It’s best to avoid the stringy bits of pumpkin pulp as well. Also, don’t let your pet have a nibble after the pumpkin’s carved. This is particularly important for jack-o-lanterns that have been sitting out for a while since they may be moldy or starting to grow bacteria.
What are the health benefits of pumpkin for dogs?
When fed correctly, pumpkin is not only safe for dogs but also provides many health benefits. Pumpkins are naturally high in antioxidants and vitamins such as A, E and C. Pumpkin is also a good source of potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and beta carotenes. It’s truly a superfood, for both humans and canines!
Pumpkin is also a prebiotic and a strong source of fiber, which results in its most well-known health trait for dogs: pumpkin is fabulous for a dog’s digestive system and just a small amount can ease constipation! There’s also some evidence that pumpkin seeds in particular may help with urinary incontinence.
Of course, a pinch of pumpkin is not a medication, so if your dog appears constipated for an extended length of time or seems to be in pain, we do recommend consulting your veterinarian.
What are the health risks of pumpkin for dogs?
The main health risks of pumpkin come from overconsumption, as it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Pumpkin is very starchy and eating too much all at once may make your pup’s tummy upset. Also, pumpkin is jam-packed full of vitamins, but believe it or not too much Vitamin A can actually make a dog sick! Overall, it’s best to limit your pooch’s pumpkin snack to a couple of tablespoons for a big dog or a couple of teaspoons for a smaller pup.
What about other fall foods?
Many of the other fall foods we know and love are also good for our furry friends. Sweet potatoes, hazelnuts, apples, carrots and butternut squash are all safe and nutritious for dogs, when fed in moderation.
However, in human dishes these foods are typically accompanied by zesty additions such as cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. Nutmeg is toxic for dogs, and you may see sources indicating that cinnamon and ginger are okay if you only feed a pinch, but just to be safe we recommend avoiding the entire spice cabinet. It’s too easy to feed too much — and unlike humans, dogs don’t need spices to find their food flavorful. Simple, plain, natural ingredients are much more their style!
It’s also very important not to give your pooch sugar-free human food, as the common sweetener xylitol is perfectly healthy for humans but highly toxic for dogs.
Overall, if you’re ever in doubt as to whether a food is safe for your pup, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep it away from Fido. Instead, consider one of our Tender Turkey dog treats for a yummy snack in keeping with the theme of the season that you KNOW will be healthy, nutritious and totally delicious for your best pal!
Do any Nature’s Advantage dog foods contain pumpkin?
Yes! In fact, all Nature’s Advantage dog foods contain pumpkin! Pumpkin is one of our pal Sparky’s favorites and we love how nutritious it is for our four-legged friends. Feeding your dog Nature’s Advantage freeze-dried dog food, made with premium raw meat and high quality farm-fresh ingredients, is a great way to make sure your best bud is eating right and getting all the benefits of this “canine superfood.”
Pumpkin is a beloved fall food for humans and a perfectly safe and healthy fall snack for your pup. So as long as you’re feeding your pup plain pumpkin, in moderation, there’s no reason why your pal can’t enjoy this autumn classic!