Have you ever wondered what foods your dog can eat? Right now, you might be thinking about your favorite autumn recipes and asking yourself questions like, “Can dogs eat pumpkin?” In moderation, the answer is yes — but with a few important caveats.
Can dogs eat pumpkin?
The American Kennel Club says that fresh and canned pumpkin are both tasty treats that are actually good for your pet’s health. In fact, pumpkins and dogs make a pretty great combination! “Pure canned pumpkin (ensure it’s not the dessert variety) is a wise choice,” says Mollie Newton, DVM and founder of PetMe Twice. “It has substantial fiber content, which aids in stabilizing your dog’s digestive movements.”
Indeed, pumpkins are packed with plenty of nutrients and fiber, and they also have beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A and C, which are all good things for your pooch. The fiber in pumpkin flesh helps normalize digestion, which can make your dog feel fuller after their normal dinner. If you have a dog who’s always sniffing around for seconds, pumpkin may help them feel more satisfied after eating.
Vitamin A is good for your dog’s vision, while vitamin C can boost your dog’s immune system the same way that it boosts yours. Many dog owners also suggest that adding pumpkin to a dog’s diet improves their coat and skin, and that the oils in pumpkin seeds can help normalize a dog’s urinary health. Fresh pumpkin works well, but Nummy Tum Tum Pure Pumpkin For Pets ($38 for a pack of 12, Amazon) is actually better thanks to its lower water content.
Pumpkin is also good for dogs with diarrhea, as all that fiber can help slow things down in there. Similarly, that same fiber is good for constipated pups. However, if your dog’s upset tummy continues, there may be other underlying causes, so schedule a visit with your vet to make sure everything’s OK.
Can dogs eat pumpkin pie?
While we all understand the allure of a fresh-baked pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, you probably don’t want your dog to jump up and grab a bite. “While pumpkin and its spices are relatively non-toxic in the amounts that we use for any of our cooking recipes,” says Grant Little DVM is a professional veterinarian at the Arlington Pet Hospital in Arlington, NE, and Vet Expert on JustAnswer, “the bigger concern is any mixtures that are used with it like artificial sweeteners or chocolate.”
The problem is that many pumpkin pies are made with ‘dessert pumpkin’ canned mixtures that can often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can be toxic for dogs, cautions Dr. Newton. Even if the flavored pumpkin you find skips the xylitol, any added sugar, spices, or salts could potentially irritate your dog’s stomach.
How much pumpkin should I give my dog?
The Merck Veterinary Manual recommends giving your dog about one to four tablespoons of pumpkin per meal. Be careful not to give them more than that on a regular basis, though. Like xylitol, consuming too much vitamin A can be harmful to your furry friend. Instead, try to use it only in cases where your dog is dealing with constipation, diarrhea, or other tummy troubles. All that fiber in the pumpkin’s flesh can help slow things down or clear things up, depending on what their symptoms happen to be. However, if your dog’s upset tummy continues, there may be other underlying causes. If they’re not feeling sick, you can also space some dollops out as a yummy treat.
You might also want to consider giving your dogs pumpkin seeds. However, make sure you’re never simply giving them whole ones: The pooch might choke on the small, pointy pieces. That said, you can roast and grind up the seeds to sprinkle over your pet’s dinner for an extra boost of fiber. Pumpkin seeds also have the amino acid cucurbitin, which can paralyze tapeworms and other intestinal parasites.
So, when it comes to feeding your dog pumpkin, the answer is simple: In moderation, the gourd can be a tasty and healthy treat, so go ahead. Your dog will love you even more!
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.
For more on what foods are safe for your dog: