Pumpkin is one of nature’s most nutritious foods and is packed full of health benefits. During the fall pumpkin seems to be everywhere from our lattes and pies to pasta but this gorgeous squash should be on everyone’s menu, including our dog’s, all year round. Pumpkin is not only delicious, it’s low in calorie, absolutely packed with disease fighting nutrients, is affordable, versatile, and easy to add to your dog’s diet (and yours too!).
Pumpkin Nutritional Information
Pumpkin is a soluble fiber that is full of vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA National Nutrient database, “one cup of pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt contains 49 calories, 1.76 grams of protein, 0.17 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol and 12 grams of carbohydrate (including 2.7 grams of fiber and 5.1 grams of sugar).”Pumpkin contains Vitamin A, C, E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, manganese, thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
The Surprising Health Benefits for Dogs
1.The soluble fiber in pumpkin slows digestion and helps treat diarrhea.
- Pumpkin is truly amazing because soluble fiber not only helps stop diarrhea, it also helps your dog become more regular and less constipated.
Stomach upset. The fiber in pumpkin coats the gut to sooth and relieve digestive upsets.
Weight loss. If you’re cutting back on the amount of food, you’re feeding your dog, try feeding a little pumpkin at mealtimes to help fill your dog for few calories.
Fight Cancer. The fiber and beta-carotene in pumpkins help prevent cancer.
Heart Health. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C will protect your dog’s heart.
Urinary Tract Health. Potassium also promotes a healthy urinary tract and helps prevent kidney stones.
Eye health. Vitamin C and E support eye health.
Immune System. Foods that contain both vitamin C and beta carotene strengthen the immune system.
How to Feed Pumpkin
The easiest way to add pumpkin to your dog’s diet is to buy 100% pure, raw canned pumpkin (not pie filling) and simply add to food or mix with yogurt and freeze into tasty dog ice cream. If you like to cook, you can also bake, roast, and steam pumpkin. Depending upon the size of your dog, try feeding 1-2 teaspoons for small dogs and 1-2 tablespoons for large dogs per day.
Don’t Forget the Pumpkin Seeds!
Pumpkins seeds are packed with nutrients that are important for your dog’s overall health, such as: protein, fiber, iron, amino acids, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc, folic acid, potassium, and niacin.
De-wormer. It is said that raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitin, which eliminates worms from the digestive system.
Healthy Skin and Coat. The seeds contain essential fatty acids that will keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
Teeth and bones. Pumpkin seeds contain calcium and magnesium to build strong bones and teeth.
Heart Health. High in magnesium to protect the heart health.
Immune system. Contains zinc to boost the immune system.
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Improves overall health and fights disease caused by inflammation.
How to Feed Pumpkin Seeds
Always choose raw, organic seeds that are free of mold and pesticides. If you prefer them roasted, simply roast on a low heat setting in your oven (no more than 170 degrees F or 75 degrees Celsius), turn then roast for an additional 15-20 minutes. To eliminate parasites feed one teaspoon of raw, unsalted, organic pumpkin seeds for every 10 pounds of body weight. You can feed whole as a healthy snack or grind up and add to meals until worms are gone.