Pumpkins are associated with fall, spiced lattes, Halloween and even Cinderella. But they can be a tasty snack for our dogs, as long as they're prepared properly and given in appropriate amounts. But should dogs eat pumpkin? Here are 15 questions answered about using pumpkin for dogs.
Can dogs eat pumpkin?
Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin in moderation! In fact, pumpkin may even provide nutritional benefits when given in appropriate amounts. But, as with any new food or treat, it's recommended to consult your veterinarian for guidance. They'll be able to give more informed advice based on your dog's individual needs, health conditions, and dietary requirements to help ensure your dog's safety and well-being. Additionally, it's important to monitor your dog for adverse reactions after feeding any new food.
While pumpkin is generally considered safe and even beneficial for most dogs, there are some cases where you should exercise caution or avoid feeding pumpkin to dogs. For example:
Dogs with allergies or sensitives - if you know your dog is allergic to, sensitive to or has had allergic reactions to squash or gourds.
Dogs with health conditions and dietary restrictions - if your dog has certain medical issues, is on medication or eating a specialized diet (e.g. dogs with chronic kidney disease (pumpkin is considered high potassium) or diabetes (too much pumpkin can spike blood sugar levels). Always consult your vet about new foods if your dog has health issues.
Is pumpkin good for dogs? What are the benefits of pumpkin for dogs?
When given in appropriate portions and the right form, pumpkin can be good for dogs. It may offer several potential health benefits because it's low-calorie, high fiber and nutrient-dense. Here are some reasons why pumpkin can be considered beneficial for dogs:
Digestive Health And Stool Consistency - Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, which can help regulate digestion and promote gastrointestinal tract health. It can also be particularly helpful for dogs with diarrhea as well as constipation.
Vitamins and Minerals - Pumpkin is packed with several essential vitamins and minerals - including but not limited to vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, iron, beta-carotene and more - that benefit a dog's overall health, immune system, vision and beyond.
Weight Management - Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a good choice for dogs that need to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. It can help your dog feel fuller without consuming a large number of calories.
Hydration - Pumpkin has a high water content, which can help keep your dog hydrated, particularly in warm weather. Of course, it should not be a replacement for water, especially on a hot day.
Urinary Health - The hydration benefits from pumpkin can also support your dog's urinary tract health.
Anal Gland Health - Pumpkin can also help anal gland health as it promotes solid stool consistency, which can assist in naturally expressing the glands during bowel movements.
Is pumpkin bad for dogs?
In general, pumpkin is not considered bad for dogs when served in appropriate amounts and in the right form (plain, cooked, and unseasoned). However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:
Added Ingredients - Pumpkin with additives are not good, as most added ingredients are harmful or toxic to dogs. A few examples include sweeteners (e.g. sugar and Xylitol) and spices (e.g. garlic, onions, nutmeg, salt).
Too Much at Once - Pumpkin given in excess can cause gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea, particularly in dogs not accustomed to high-fiber foods.
- The Stem and Skin - Avoid giving your dog the stem or skin, as they are too difficult for your dog to digest and pose a risk for choking or intestinal blockage. Additionally, large pumpkin seeds may not be suited small dogs.
Allergies or Sensitivities - As aforementioned, some dogs have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods, including pumpkin. This is why it's important to watch your dog's reaction when introducing a new food.
Underlying Medical Conditions - Again, dogs with certain health issues or on medications (e.g. dogs with chronic kidney disease (pumpkin is considered high potassium) or diabetes (too much pumpkin can spike blood sugar levels). It's always recommended that you consult your vet before adding new food if your dog has health issues.
Pro Tip: It's important to note that, while pumpkin is generally considered safe and beneficial for dogs, individual dogs may react differently. Always monitor your dog for signs of discomfort or adverse reactions after introducing pumpkin (or any new food) to their diet.
What about pumpkin for puppies?
Just like adult dogs, puppies can eat pumpkin and they may even gain similar nutritional benefits from it. However, it's a good idea to talk to your vet, especially since they can provide guidelines on portion size based on your puppy's age, size and more. Also, moderation and monitoring post-feeding is very important. Pumpkin should not be a replacement of any kind as a puppy needs a well-balanced diet for their specific stage of growth and development.
What are the general guidelines for using pumpkin for dogs and feeding pumpkin to dogs?
While pumpkin is generally considered safe for most dogs, there are some guidelines for safe consumption to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog. These include:
Choose the Right Type of Pumpkin - Use plain, cooked, and unseasoned pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin without added sugars or spices is best. This means avoiding pumpkin pie filling and any pumpkin product with sugars, spices, or other additives that can be harmful to dogs.
Remove Hard to Digest Parts - Avoid giving your dog the stem and rind as this can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockages.
Start With Smaller Portions - Start with a small amount of pumpkin (smaller than weight guidelines below suggest) and observe your dog's reaction. If your dog tolerates a small amount well, you can increase to the appropriate amount based on weight and size.
Monitor Your Dog's Response - Watch for any adverse reactions or digestive upsets after introducing pumpkin, as some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to certain foods (including pumpkin). It's recommended you monitor your dog for the next few days, as some digestive and other issues may take some time.
Gradually Increase the Portion - If your dog tolerates the small introductory amounts well, you can slowly increase portion size (while staying within the guidelines in the next section). Just make sure to gradually increase portions in small increments.
Avoid Added Sugars and Spices - Avoid pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin products with added sugars, spices, or other harmful ingredients.
Complement a Balanced Diet - Pumpkin can complement but should not replace regular dog food, as that is specially formulated to be well-balanced and provide your dog with proper dietary and nutritional needs.
- Consult Your Vet - It's always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before adding any new foods to their diet, but do so especially if you have any questions or concerns or your dog has specific health conditions or dietary requirements.
How much pumpkin can I give my dog? And how much pumpkin should I give my dog?
The amount of pumpkin you can feed your dog depends on various factors like weight, health and dietary needs. It's best to start with a small amount and adjust based on your dog's response and size. If well tolerated, you can increase to the amounts below. Here are general guidelines on how much pumpkin to give healthy dogs based on size:
- For small dogs (under 20 pounds) - 1-2 teaspoons per meal.
For medium-sized dogs (20 to 45 pounds) - 1-2 tablespoons per meal.
For large dogs (over 45 pounds) - 2-4 tablespoons per meal.
Pro Tip: Dogs with certain health conditions may require less pumpkin for their body weight or none at all. Overall, too much pumpkin can cause stomach upset, so it's best to err on the side of caution.
Can you use pumpkin for a dog's upset stomach Can you give pumpkin to dogs for diarrhea? How much pumpkin to feed dog with diarrhea?
Pumpkin is often suggested by vets as a helpful remedy for dogs with sensitive stomachs or gastrointestinal upset. It's an excellent source of fiber, which can help regulate bowel movements, promote normal digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal issues. It's also often recommended as a natural remedy for dogs with loose stool or diarrhea. This is because the fiber content in pumpkin can absorb excess water in the digestive tract, which can firm up stool. Here's how you can use pumpkin to help alleviate upset stomach, loose stools and mild to normal diarrhea in dogs:
Use plain, cooked, and unseasoned pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin or canned plain pumpkin puree (without no sugars or spices) are both good options.
Start with small portions and gradually increase to the suggested amount for your dog's size. You'll typically want to give the most they can tolerate.
You can give your dog the appropriate portion of pumpkin directly if they'll eat it and if not, you can mix it into your dog's dry or wet food.
For very upset stomachs, try using pumpkin along with a bland diet to ease digestion. You can boil chicken or other lean ground meat and cook rice. Then gradually reintroduce your dog's regular diet once stomach or stools are better.
Watch for adverse reactions as well as any progress your dog makes. You should see your dog improve and stools firm up within a few days.
Take your dog to the vet or at least contact them if issues persist or worsen, especially if it's been a few days.
Pro Tip: Pumpkin is not a replacement for veterinary care. More moderate and severe cases of diarrhea should be handled with vet guidance.
What about pumpkin for dog constipation?
Pumpkin can also be a useful tool for dogs with constipation. The high fiber content again serves as a natural and effective remedy for promoting regular bowel movements and can also soften the stool. Follow the same guidelines for dogs with upset stomach and diarrhea. And if you dog's constipation lasts more than a few days, contact your vet.
Can dogs eat canned pumpkin? Is this the same as pumpkin puree for dogs? Is canned pumpkin good for dogs?
Canned pure pumpkin and pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) are basically the same thing and the terms are often used interchangeably. Both involve pumpkin that is steamed then pureed with no additives. These are some of the best ways for dogs to eat pumpkin - as long as they are plain, unsweetened, unseasoned and without any harmful ingredients. You can make your own pumpkin puree, but 100% pure canned pumpkin is one of the most convenient ways to provide your dog with pumpkin. Here are some important considerations when giving canned pumpkin to your dog:
Choose Plain Pumpkin Puree: Look for canned pumpkin that is labeled as 100% pure pumpkin or pumpkin puree with no added sugars, spices, or other ingredients. That means no pumpkin pie filling.
Check the Ingredient List: Always check the ingredient list on the canned pumpkin to ensure it contains just pumpkin without any harmful additives.
Consider Fresh Pumpkin: You can also make your own homemade pumpkin puree using fresh pumpkin, steaming it and pureeing it. This gives you more control and ensures there are no additives.
What about mashed pumpkin for dogs?
Mashed pumpkin is another safe way for dogs to consume pumpkin. It's similar to pumpkin puree in that it pulverizes the pumpkin flesh. It does, however, take more time as there aren't really options to buy. You'll have to cook the pumpkin, take the the flesh and smash it much like you would for mashed potatoes.
Can dogs eat raw pumpkin?
Raw pumpkin is difficult for dogs to digest compared to cooked pumpkin, which is why it's not usually recommended. Technically, dogs can consume it raw, but the cellulose and fiber is tough for their digestive system to break down. This can cause gastrointestinal issues and discomfort, like bloating and gas. Cooking pumpkin through baking, boiling, or steaming helps break down fiber and tough cell walls, making it much easier for dogs to digest and absorb nutrients (cooking helps improve the bioavailability of certain nutrients). Here are some considerations when feeding raw pumpkin to dogs:
Cut into very small pieces
Remove stem, skin and inner membrane
Separate Seeds (can be fed separately from raw pumpkin)
Serve in moderation
Monitor your dog after
Pro Tip: If you decide to feed your dog raw pumpkin, it's important to cut it into very small pieces to avoid risk of choking or intestinal obstruction. Make sure to also monitor your dog for the next few days to ensure their digestion continues as normal.
Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds? Can dogs eat raw pumpkin seeds? Are pumpkin seeds good for dogs?
Dogs can also eat pumpkin seeds (raw or roasted with no spices or seasoning). They are actually nutritious and may be a beneficial addition to a dog's diet when given in moderation. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals (including iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium), and healthy fats. Here are some potential benefits of pumpkin seeds for dogs:
Digestion - High fiber content can promote digestive health and help regulate bowel movements in dogs.
Skin and Coat - Healthy fats in pumpkin seeds can support a dog's skin and coat health.
Immune System - Vitamins and minerals that support the immune system.
Urinary Tract - Some nutrients may positively impact urinary health.
However, it's essential to properly prepare and serve pumpkin seeds to your dog to ensure their safety and well-being. Here are some guidelines for giving pumpkin seeds to dogs:
Remove Seeds from Pumpkin: Cut open a fresh pumpkin, spoon out seeds, separate seeds from flesh and discard any remaining stringy bits.
Rinse and Clean the Seeds: Rinse seeds under cold water to remove any remaining pulp or debris.
If Boiling or Roasting (boiling softens seeds and makes them easier to digest, while roasting can enhance flavor and make seeds easier to chew):
Boiling: Bring a pot of water to a boil, add cleaned pumpkin seeds and boil for about 5-10 minutes.
Roasting: Preheat oven to 300°F, spread cleaned seeds on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 10-15 minutes (until slightly crispy but not burnt). The sheet should not need greasing but if seeds stick, you can use parchment paper or silicone liners. If those don't work, you can use a small amount of coconut oil or olive oil.
Cool the Seeds: Allow the cooked seeds to cool completely.
Remove Outer Shells, If Possible: If not already shelled, use a nutcracker or a mortar and pestle to gently crack shells. This will make it easier for your dog to eat.
Offer to dog: Offer the prepared pumpkin seeds to your dog as a treat or mix them into their food.
Can dogs eat pumpkin pie?
It's not a good idea to give your dog pumpkin pie or pumpkin pie filling. This is because it's loaded with ingredients that are either hard on your dog's body or harmful to them. These include sugar, milk, cream, butter and spices. Many of these ingredients can lead to upset stomach and other digestive troubles, as well as more serious issues like pancreatitis and poisoning. For instance, nutmeg can be toxic to dogs and induce vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and, in severe cases, hallucinations and seizures.
What is pumpkin powder for dogs?
Pumpkin powder is another safe form of pumpkin and just as convenient as canned. It's typically made from dehydrated or dried pumpkin, which retains a good amount of nutritional value in a concentrated form. Make sure to follow the package instructions for serving size (and rehydration ratio if opting to rehydrate). You can sprinkle the appropriate amount of powder on top of your dog's food or mix it in their water if tolerated. As with any pumpkin product, start with a small amount to ensure your dog tolerates it well, especially if it's their first time consuming pumpkin powder.
Can you mix pumpkin with dog food or put pumpkin on dog food? What are some other ways to incorporate pumpkin in dogs diet?
Yes, mixing pumpkin with your dog's food is a common and effective way to incorporate pumpkin into their diet. It can provide extra fiber and other health benefits, especially for digestion. Just make sure to use the proper amount of plain pumpkin. You can use it as a topper over the food or mix it in. Just remember, it has to be plain, cooked and unseasoned. Here are a bunch of ways to give your dog pumpkin that are safe and some are even fun:
- Meal topper and mix-in (as aforementioned)
- By the spoonful
- Freeze it (use an ice cube trays for a refreshing treat, especially in summer)
- On a lick mat or spread onto treats
- Inside treat-dispensing and puzzle toys
- Pumpkin Smoothies (blend with water, yogurt or low-sodium broth)
- Baked Pumpkin treats (find a recipe online, usually takes a mixture of pumpkin, flour, eggs, and even dog-friendly peanut butter).
- Pumpkin yogurt (mix plain pumpkin with plain unsweetened, unflavored yogurt)
- Pumpkin rice (mix plain pumpkin with cooked plain rice)
- Store bought food, treats and toppers (see below for plenty of options!)
Dog Food With Pumpkin And Pumpkin Dog Food
- Nature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food - Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe
- Nature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food - Lamb, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe
- Nature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food - Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin
- ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food - Beef & Pumpkin Recipe
- ACANA Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food - Lamb & Pumpkin Recipe
- ACANA Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food - Duck & Pumpkin Recipe
- Farmina N&D Pumpkin Adult Dog Grain-Free Medium/Maxi Breed - Lamb, Pumpkin & Blueberry
- Farmina N&D Pumpkin Adult Dog Grain-Free Mini Breed - Boar, Pumpkin & Apple
- Farmina N&D Pumpkin Adult Dog Grain-Free Medium/Maxi Breed - Chicken, Pumpkin & Pomegranate
- Lucy Pet Formulas Dry Dog Food For All Breeds And Life Stages - Salmon, Pumpkin & Quinoa
- Lucy Pet Products Formulas Dry Dog Food For All Breeds And Life Stages - Duck, Pumpkin & Quinoa
- Lucy Pet Products Formulas Dry Dog Food For All Breeds And Life Stages - Chicken, Pumpkin & Brown Rice
Pumpkin Dog Treats
- Bocce's Bakery All-Natural Pumpk'n Spice Flavor Dog Treats
- Blue Buffalo Crunchy Dog Biscuits (Pumpkin And Cinnamon)
- GREENIES Pumpkin Spice Flavor Dental Dog Treats
- The Honest Kitchen Goat's Milk N' Cookies Crunchy Probiotic Dog Treats (Pumpkin & Cinnamon)
- Three Dog Bakery Grain Free Soft Baked Dog Treats (Pumpkin Flavor With Cinnamon)
- Fruitables Baked Dog Treats (Pumpkin Banana With Cinnamon)
- Amazon Brand Wag Expedition Organic Dog Biscuits (Pumpkin & Chia Seeds)
- Merrick Oven Baked Crunchy Dog Treats (Plain Pumpkin Flavor)
Pumpkin Puree For Dogs
- Nutri-Vet Digestive Supplement Fresh Pumpkin And SuperBlend Formula
- Weruva Pumpkin Pouches For Dogs And Cats (Pumpkin, Coconut Oil & Flaxseed)
- Weruva Pumpkin Pouches for Dogs And Cats Plain Pureed Pumpkin
- Weruva Pumpkin Pouches for Dogs And Cats Pumpkin Ginger Turmeric
Pumpkin Powder For Dogs And Other Pumpkin Toppers
- Native Pet Organic Pumpkin Powder With Pumpkin & Pumpkin Seeds
- The Petz Kitchen Pumpkin Powder Digestive Supplement For Dogs & Cats
- Diggin' Your Dog Firm Up Pumpkin Powder for Dogs And Cats
- Wild Acre Pumpkin Powder for Dogs
- Bocce's Bakery All-Natural Wheat-Free Chicken And Pumpkin Dog Food Toppers
- Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Topper - Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Chicory Root, Apple Cider Vinegar & Probiotics
- The Honest Kitchen Pumpkin POUR OVERS Wet Toppers for Dogs - Salmon Stew