The pumpkin is a member of the squash family of plants. It’s actually a cultivar of winter squash, and is related to other fruits such as cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon and courgette. It’s believed to have originated in North America many thousands of years before anyone from the outside knew that the New World even existed. Today of course, the pumpkin is more commonly associated with Halloween. But there is just so much more to this nutritious fruit than that. Ready to learn more about pumpkin for dogs?
Benefits of pumpkin for dogs
Pumpkin is rich in carotenoids, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, fibre, vitamin C and vitamin E. It’s particularly rich vitamin A. It’s also a good source of zinc, iron, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. And of vitamin B9 (also known as folate, naturally occurring folic acid).
- Help with weight loss
- Improve your dog’s urinary health
- Help control cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease
- Help retard the aging process and protect against cancer thanks to its beta-carotene content
- Improve eye health thanks to its richness in vitamin A
- Enhance your dog’s immune system
- Improve your dog’s skin & coat
Pumpkin is packed full of soluble fibre. This makes it ideal as a method of weight control in overweight dogs. It helps a dog feel full without it consuming too many calories.
It can also aid digestion. For dogs with an upset tummy and suffering from diarrhoea, chicken & pumpkin is an ideal alternative to chicken & rice. Especially for dogs who might be grain intolerant. In my view as a canine nutritionist, it’s actually much gentler on an already troubled tummy. For this reason, a great many vets also prefer pumpkin to rice.
Because of its high fibre content, pumpkin is also useful for a dog suffering from constipation. A few spoonfuls in with their regular food really works a treat.
How to give your dog pumpkin
Cut pumpkin into sections, remove the seeds and the shell, finely dice the pumpkin flesh and cook or steam with other vegetable ingredients or steam or roast the flesh and mash or purée.
Try adding the occasional spoonful of cooked pumpkin to your dog’s food as a tasty topping. Most dogs enjoy pumpkin. Mine certainly do. I not only use the pumpkin flesh in their treats, but pumpkin seeds are excellent as a natural treatment for either constipation or diarrhoea, and they’ve been used for centuries as a natural dewormer for dogs.
By the way, if you buy canned pumpkin for your dog, make sure it is pure natural pumpkin with no added sugars and spices.
And as good as pumpkin is for your dog, it has been argued that pumpkin seeds offer your dog even more benefits than the fruit itself!