Can dogs eat Pumpkin?  What you must know

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?

Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin and increasingly it is being used in pre-prepared wet and dry dog food for it’s health and nutritional benefits. You may have also heard it is good for upset tummies, which is true as well. 

This glorious vegetable is a natural source of soluble fibre and full of other nutrients to keep your dog full and healthy.  Some parts of it can be toxic though so caution when feeding it to your dog should be exercised.  Below we will explore what you must know before feeding this autumnal treat to your pooch.

  • Why is pumpkin good for your dog?
  • How much pumpkin can I give my dog?
  • Is pumpkin poisonous to dogs?
  • Can I give my dog a pumpkin to chew on?
  • Pumpkin seeds for dogs.
  • Raw, cooked or canned pumpkin?

  • Interested? Then let's dive in.

    WHY IS PUMPKIN GOOD FOR YOUR DOG?

    Pumpkin is a fiber-rich food that also contains important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, E, and C, potassium and iron.  Pumpkin flesh is high in soluble fibre which makes it very effective in treating both diarrhoea and conversely constipation in your dog.  

    • Water soluble fibre: Attracts water and slows digestion
    • Vitamin A: Helps your dog’s immune system and vision.
    • Vitamin C: Aids enzymatic reactions in the body and collagen synthesis.
    • Alpha carotene and Vitamin E: antioxidants that regulate enzymatic activity and prevent damage to cells from free radicals.
    • Iron: Keeps your dog’s hemoglobin count up, aids the flow of oxygen at a cellular level.

    HOW MUCH PUMPKIN CAN I GIVE MY DOG?

    Not much is the short answer!  As it is rich in soluble fibre, too much can cause diarrhoea in your pooch.  One to four tablespoons a day of canned pumpkin can be added to your dog's food depending on their size, however, if you are using pumpkin to ease your dog's loose stools no more than 1 tablespoon for a large breed dog, twice a day should be given.  

    If you are worried about how much to give your dog you can try a dog food that has pumpkin already included within it. 

    Making changes to your dog’s diet should be done gradually and monitored for any ill effects.  If your dog is prone to gastric issues you may want to speak to your vet before introducing pumpkin into your dog’s diet.

    IS PUMPKIN POISONOUSE TO DOGS?

    Dogs can safely eat pumpkin seeds as well as cooked or raw pumpkin.  However, it is important to not overfeed your dog on pumpkin as it can cause gastric issues and give them too much vitamin A - which is dangerous for our canine companions.  If you are using canned pumpkin - ensure it is 100% pumpkin puree with no additives.  

    CAN I GIVE MY DOG A PUMPKIN TO CHEW ON?

    Both raw and cooked pumpkin is safe for your dog to eat, but the stem and leaves are covered in prickly hairs that can be harmful if ingested.  The skin of the pumpkin is also not easily digested so best to stay clear of giving your dog the whole pumpkin to chew on.

    HOW DO YOU COOK PUMPKIN FOR DOGS?

    You can bake or boil the pumpkin and mash or puree it once soft.  If baking, remove the seeds (but save for a healthy snack for you and your dog - see below) but leave the skin on.  Chop into chunks and roast for around an hour in a medium hot oven. Once cooled, scrape the flesh from the skin and mash or puree it. 

    TIP: You can freeze small amounts of the puree in ice cube trays so you have some ready to hand at feeding time.

    Pumpkin seeds for dogs

    Dogs can safely eat pumpkin seeds in moderation.  Although they can be given raw, it is safer to roast them first and then include in their regular meal, either whole or grind them up to make a powder.  They are rich in omega 3 oils and  an excellent source of zinc and iron, which are two minerals that are particularly good for older dogs.  They are calorific though so don’t include too many.

    Raw, cooked or canned pumpkin?

    Raw, cooked and canned pumpkin are all safe for your pup to eat.  As raw pumpkin contains more water than when it is cooked, try making your own pumpkin puree or buy it in a can, to get the best nutritional effects.  Canned pumpkin is also available all year round. 

    Roasted pumpkin seeds can be added to your dog's food or you can try a prepared kibble or wet dog food that has pumpkin as one of it’s ingredients, just like ours.

    To recap, let's see what you must know about pumpkin so you can safely feed it to your dog.

    • Dogs can safely eat raw and cooked pumpkin - in moderation.
    • Canned or homemade, pureed 100% pumpkin is better than raw pumpkin.
    • Pumpkin skin isn’t easily digestible.
    • The stem and leaves of a pumpkin can be toxic.
    • Roast pumpkin seeds before feeding them to your dog.

    Now you have had a chance to explore the benefits of feeding pumpkin safely to your dog, we hope they enjoy it as much as we do - in whatever form you choose!