Dogs Can Enjoy Pumpkins Too
Hey, readers! We’re switching angles a bit this week and going back to discussing your dog’s diet.
Fall is coming. And, guess what? There’s pumpkin spice everything all over the place. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin Latte. Pumpkin cookies. Literally. Everything is pumpkin.
Now you’re thinking . . . “Uh, yeah … and your point is?”
Here’s where I am getting at. Not only is there pumpkin everything for us, but for our dogs, too.
During the fall season, you’ll probably hear a ton of your fellow dog lovers are adding pumpkin to their dog’s diet.
The Scoop on
Pumpkins for Dogs
A moderate amount of pumpkin is good, but too much can be harmful. The fiber from pumpkin helps dogs with a variety of issues including constipation, diabetes, high fat levels. And, it can help an overweight dog feel content with a fully tummy (we’ll go back to the benefits in the next section).
Yeah, fiber is good. But, if you’re simply searching for a food to add fiber to your dog’s diet, pumpkin isn’t it.
If your dog were to depend solely on pumpkin for their daily fiber intake, you’d have to feed them about 12 cups per day (for a medium-size dog). Wow, that’s wayyy too much.
Here’s another thi: feeding too much pumpkin can result in obesity. Canned pumpkin is 83 calories per cup on average, but canned pumpkin pie mix is 281 calories per cup.
Too many calories from pumpkins results in an unhealthy, unbalanced diet.
We don’t want that.
More Health Benefits
Now you may be asking, should I really incorporate pumpkin into my dog’s diet? If your dog absolutely loves pumpkin, unless your veterinarian has your dog on a special diet (be sure to consult with him or her), then there’s no reason to take it away.
Let’s dive in.
In case you didn’t know (I didn’t) pumpkin is 90 percent water. The water from the pumpkin is especially helpful for dogs on a kibble-based diet who may not be drinking as much water as they should, and dehydration is prevented.
The oils in the actual flesh of the pumpkin are jam-packed full of antioxidants and fatty acids to help improve urinary health. Dogs who are incontinent may have a chance of seeing improvement when eating pumpkin.
We talked about pumpkin’s fiber content, but although there isn’t much, the small amounts dogs do consume act as a prebiotic. This means the pumpkin encourages growth of good bacteria in your dog’s intestines.
Not only does pumpkin encourage good behavior to grow but assists in reducing or eliminating harmful bacteria by lowering the pH levels in your dog’s gut.
It doesn’t stop there. The list keeps going.
Vitamin A is for your dog’s ocular health. Vitamin C improves the immune system. Vitamin E forms fat metabolism, membranes surrounding cells, and aids in cell respiration. Potassium is for muscle support. Iron is for the development of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Zinc is for healthy skin and coat. Beta-Carotene helps to prevent cancer (lung and oral cancers, mainly).
If I had more room, I would share more with you, but you get the picture. There are a ton of benefits.
Peanut Butter Pumpkin Treats
If your dog has never tried pumpkin but you’d like her to, I am including a recipe below. Cut it out and clip it somewhere, and then you can come back to it when you’re ready to cook for your dog.
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (please make sure it does not contain xylitol)
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
(Will need parchment paper; I only say this because sometimes I don’t always have this on hand!)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
4. Lay down a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on the parchment sheet.
5. Lay another sheet of parchment paper over the dough and use a rolling pin to roll dough to about 1/4 inch thick, then peel off the top parchment paper.
6. Use your desired cookie cutter to start cutting out the treats (the bone cookie cutter is the most fun to me).
7. Place on your lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 F. Let cool completely. Store in an air tight container, and/or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
The Bottom Line
Today’s article isn’t supposed to worry you or force you to take pumpkin fully out of your dog’s diet. It’s just something to keep in mind if you provide snacks to your dog which contain pumpkin.
As you can see above, pumpkin has an insane number of benefits. There are so many ways pumpkin helps your furry family member.
Just be aware, and do a bit of research to find out how much pumpkin your dog can have to maximize those benefits. Ask your vet or a canine nutritionist.
There are many dog lovers who don’t know about pumpkin affecting a dog’s health negatively. Usually, only the benefits are discussed.
Until next time.