It's a fruit! No, it's a vegetable! It's a … pumpkin and, believe it or not, it is good to feed to your dog. Although most people think of pumpkins as vegetables, they are really a fruit born from vine plants of the genus Cucurbita, part of the gourd family.
Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, fiber, zinc, iron, vitamin A and potassium. In fact, you can tell the pumpkin is rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, just by looking at its bright orange color.
Pumpkin is really simple to feed to your dog too. All you need is canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is just as packed with nutrients as fresh pumpkin, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Canned pumpkin is a puree so it is easy to mix in your dog's food, give it to your dog as a treat or use it as an ingredient when you make dog treats, such as these Pumpkin Paw Prints. Look at the back of the label to make sure you are getting 100-percent pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix.
Can you feed your dog pumpkin seeds? Yes, but most recommend that you first roast them and then grind them up. Do not add salt.
You do not want to feed your dog the stem or leaves, which are covered in little, sharp hairs that will irritate your dog.
See your veterinarian if you have questions concerning dogs eating pumpkin. We never know how dogs will react to new foods, so only feed a small quantity at first to see if it causes your dog stomach upset, such as gas.
Pumpkin is also the pet owner's go-to food when it comes to:
- Dog diarrhea and constipation: Pumpkin has high fiber and water content, which are good for correcting and preventing constipation in dogs, plus can help bulk up your dog's stool. Start with feeding your dog 1 or 2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin a day, depending on your dog's size. Pumpkin may not help your dog with diarrhea or constipation if there is an underlying medical condition. Call your veterinarian for advice if the diarrhea or constipation persists.
- Helping your dog lose weight: Some dogs needs to lose weight, but their owners don't want them to feel hungry. Pumpkin is a great low-fat dog treat that fills a dog up due to its being high in fiber. The proper amount of pumpkin to feed depends on the size of your dog and dietary needs. Consult your veterinarian for suggested amounts.