With fall upon us, there’s one thing that’s beginning to pop up at grocery stores and farmer’s markets everywhere—pumpkins!
Did you know that these delicious veggies are great for things other than carving or spicing up your latte? They’re also excellent treats for your dog! Pumpkins have a variety of health benefits and are an affordable way to mix up your pooch’s diet.
Veterinarians often prescribe a dose of pumpkin to help with loose stools in dogs. A tablespoon of canned pumpkin—not the pie filling—added to your dog’s food can help firm up diarrhea and make trips outside easier on you and your pup. Pumpkins are high in fiber and can help ease digestive issues. It’s also useful in combatting small cases of constipation.
Pumpkins are low in calories. If your dog has trouble losing weight, consider replacing a portion of your dog’s normal diet with canned pumpkin. This will help her feel fuller without increasing the calorie count, meaning he won’t crave food as often. By adding volume and fiber, you can ensure your pup is stuffed while staying slim.
Canned pumpkin is nearly 90 percent water, so it provides a great form of hydration for dogs. If your pooch is the type to turn her nose up at water bowls, adding a little pumpkin to her diet is a good way to increase her overall hydration level. By making pumpkin a part of your dog's daily diet, it could have positive long-term effects, such as healthier skin and coat. If you’re really looking to peak your dog’s interest, try serving her a dog-friendly pumpkin spice latte.
Like most vegetables, pumpkins are rich in a wide array of essential nutrients, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Zinc. Vitamin A is thought to improve overall eye health for better vision. Pumpkins also contain large amounts of Vitamin C, which can help improve the immune system. Additionally, zinc is known to improve skin health and lead to a shinier coat.
The oils found in pumpkins are thought to improve urinary health. Pumpkin seeds have been used for years to combat urinary incontinence in humans by maintaining the strength of the pelvic floor. The oils in the seeds are thought to have similar effects in animals and can encourage healthy bladder function by supporting the muscles and lessening the occurrence of inconvenient leaks.
One of the greatest benefits of pumpkins in dogs is that the canned variety is pretty cheap. Rather than wasting a ton of money on expensive treats at the pet store, try using pumpkin as an alternative. Take a tablespoon and smear it inside of her favorite puzzle toy for a healthy, fun treat that’ll keep her busy while you get some work done around the house.
You can also make a variety of your own goodies at home using pumpkin, like these delicious pumpkin molasses dog treats!
Though pumpkins provide a variety of great health benefits, it’s always important to consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s diet. Be sure to schedule an appointment and discuss any issues your pet might be having before going all in on pumpkin treats and daily doses in your pup’s food.
Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible.