Pumpkin has long been a standard find in pet stores for it’s well-known abilities to help soothe upset tummies and firm up loose stool.
Thanks to pumpkin’s high fibre and moisture content, it has the unique ability to help ease constipation as well as to add bulk and help firm things up during bouts of diarrhea.
While pumpkin is great at easing digestive upsets and has stood the test of time as the go-to solution, it’s also an excellent addition to your pet’s diet for a variety of other reasons!
4 More Reasons To Give Your Pet Pumpkin
It's rich in nutrients
Pumpkin contains exceptionally high levels of Vitamin A, which promotes eye health and aids in preventing the development of night blindness and other forms of eye degeneration.
Since Vitamin A is fat-soluble, it is best served along with a source of fat. You can mix your pup’s pumpkin on top of their regular food, or mix it with a healthy oil such as flax, hemp, or coconut for an extra satisfying treat. Another way to serve pumpkin is mixed with some bone broth or goat’s milk and frozen for a refreshing summer pupsicle!
Pumpkin is also good source of potassium, which promotes muscle health, and assists in metabolism. It also contains smaller quantities of a variety of healthy nutrients, including Vitamin C, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Folate.
It supports immune health
Vitamin C is well-known for its benefit to immune health. When combined with Vitamins A and E, as well as other antioxidants found in pumpkin, it can possibly help to prevent certain cancers from developing too.
Antioxidants help destroy free radicals, or “oxidants” in your pet’s system. While oxidants are a natural part of all immune systems, too many can contribute to cancers and damage cells in the body. You can help to boost your pet’s immune system by including fresh sources of antioxidants, such as those found in pumpkin.
It can help your pet lose weight
Pumpkins have a high moisture and fibre content, which makes them a helpful aid to your pet’s weight loss.
Replacing a little of your dog’s regular diet with pumpkin (a few teaspoons for a small dog, or up to half a cup with a large dog) can help your dog lose some excess weight. The fibre and water in the pumpkin will keep them full, so they are satisfied between mealtimes.
It tastes good!
As evidenced by the ever-growing number of pumpkin-flavoured treats popping up every fall, pumpkin is a popular and well-liked flavour by many.
Getting your pet to eat their veggies isn’t always an easy task, but most pets love the taste of pumpkin and will lap it up with gusto! This can also make it a useful tool for those with picky pets. If your pup likes pumpkin, adding a spoonful to their meals might be just what they need to encourage them to eat their meals or try new foods.
How To Incorporate Pumpkin Into Your Pet's Diet
Canned pumpkin is probably what we’re all the most familiar with. It’s available year-round, shelf stable, and has a smooth but rich texture that most pets just love. It’s thick texture is also great for use with lick mats, slow-feeders, or stuffing inside of a Kong.
Canned pumpkin is cooked, which gives it a lower overall moisture content and a higher concentration of fibre. This is a great combo for pets experiencing loose stools or who have acid reflux. It’s also a great option for those who just want to easily keep some pumpkin on-hand for any digestive emergencies as it’s compact, shelf-stable, and easy to travel with.
Canned pumpkin can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days after opening, or you can portion and freeze it for use over longer periods.
Fresh pumpkin is a great option that’s available seasonally. Often ground with the skin and seeds intact, fresh pumpkin offers a more diverse nutrient profile than canned, with higher amounts of fibre and heart-healthy Omega-3 fats from the seeds.
Because the pumpkin is processed in its raw state, it is higher in moisture which can benefit pets who are prone to constipation. The higher levels of moisture are also great for helping to keep your pet hydrated during warm weather or periods of high activity.
Available in bite-sized cubes or larger frozen portions to suit your preferred serving style.
Pumpkin powder is another useful option for those who want to have pumpkin on hand for emergencies or travel, but want to save on precious freezer space!
Pumpkin in a dried format is also helpful for pets who are picky about food textures, or those experiencing a bout of diarrhea as it’s pure fibre without any extra moisture to help really bind things up!
Want to use pumpkin as treats instead of changing up their meal routine?
Dehydrated pumpkin treats are a tasty and chewy treat option that still gives your pet all the benefits of pumpkin’s fibre and nutrients without the mess!
Give them a whole strip to munch on, or easily cut them into bite-sized training treats that won’t leave a mess of crumbs in your pocket.