Whether you're making a recipe that calls for pumpkin or scooping out pumpkin guts in preparation for a Halloween jack-o-lantern, you might wonder whether your pup can safely consume a few of those yummy pumpkin seeds. With the average pumpkin containing about 500 seeds, there's no shortage of them to enjoy.
The simple answer is that most dogs can safely eat a few pumpkin seeds here and there — but only if they're carefully prepared and only in moderation.
Are Pumpkin Seeds a Healthy Snack for Dogs?
As an excellent source of antioxidants, iron, and other nutrients, pumpkin seeds can be quite a nutritious treat for humans — but are they just as healthy for dogs?
The seeds themselves are non-toxic to dogs. However, because dogs' digestive systems don't process seeds like humans’, your pup won't reap the same health benefits from eating pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds can be an occasional source of healthy fat and omega-3 fatty acids, but they're not quite the same "superfood" for dogs as humans.
Still, if you're already using a pumpkin for another recipe and want to reduce waste while letting your pup enjoy a treat that's a little different than what they're used to, there's nothing wrong with feeding your dog a few pumpkin seeds here and there.
If you're looking for an even better source of nutrition for your dog, try pumpkin pulp or puree. This part of the pumpkin is high in beta-carotene (an antioxidant linked with eye health) — as well as potassium and Vitamins A, C, and E. Just make sure that you're giving your dog fresh, unsweetened pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which is loaded with sweeteners that can be toxic to dogs.
The Risk of Feeding Pumpkin Seeds to Your Dog
The big thing to keep in mind when letting your dog snack on pumpkin seeds is moderation. Letting your dog indulge in a few pumpkin seeds here and there is unlikely to cause any problems. However, remember that dogs don't easily digest seeds like humans do, and eating too many pumpkin seeds could lead to an upset stomach, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea.
A dog that consumes too many pumpkin seeds also risks developing pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). This can occur due to the high fat content in pumpkin seeds and a dog's inability to metabolize such large amounts of fat at once. Pancreatitis is a serious inflammatory condition that can cause severe abdominal pain and vomiting, so it's important to consult your vet if your dog shows any of these symptoms after eating pumpkin seeds.
In fact, it's a good idea to speak with your vet before you introduce pumpkin seeds (or any new dog food) to your pup's diet — just to be safe. Your vet will be familiar with your dog's specific breed, general health, and any medical conditions that may further affect their ability to digest pumpkin seeds.
Preparation Tips for Feeding Your Dog Pumpkin Seeds
If you decide to go ahead and treat your dog to pumpkin seeds, it's important to prepare and serve them properly. Start by completely removing the shells from the seeds themselves, as the shells can present a choking hazard. You can make the shells easier to remove by boiling them for a few minutes first.
From there, you can feed your dog a small amount of raw pumpkin seeds or roast them. If you roast your pumpkin seeds, do not add oil, salt, sugar, or other spices or seasonings. Instead, keep the seeds plain (yes, this means that you probably can't share your favorite roasted pumpkin seed recipe with your canine companion). You can roast pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
When feeding your dog pumpkin seeds for the first time, consider giving your pup just one or two seeds to start. From there, watch for any signs of a reaction (such as vomiting or diarrhea) before giving them any more.
To make pumpkin seeds easier for your dog to digest, consider grinding them into a powder and incorporating them into a dog treat recipe (and we've got some great recipes below!). This can be easily done with a blender or a food processor.
How Much Pumpkin Seed Can a Dog Eat?
Ultimately, the number of pumpkin seeds a dog can safely eat will depend on your dog's breed, size, and overall health. Generally, it’s recommended to stick to one pumpkin seed per 10 pounds of body weight. This means that if your dog weighs 50 pounds, you can feed them up to five pumpkin seeds per day. Remember that we're referring to seeds with their shells completely removed to improve digestibility.
However, this doesn't necessarily mean you should feed your dog the maximum recommended amount daily. Instead, it's best to serve pumpkin seeds only as an occasional treat. Likewise, if you have an especially small dog or a puppy, it's best to ask your vet before incorporating pumpkin seeds into their diet at all. The same goes for any dog with digestive health problems or known food allergies.
Do Pumpkin Seeds Really Get Rid of Worms in Dogs?
While pumpkin seeds have some benefits for dogs, it’s, unfortunately, a myth that they can cure worms in dogs. The only proven way to get rid of intestinal parasites (such as tapeworms and roundworms) in dogs is to get a prescription dewormer from your vet.
If your dog has worms, consult your vet for treatment. Once the worms are gone, be sure to get your dog on a monthly preventive to reduce the risk of contracting them again in the future.
3 Pumpkin-Related The Honest Kitchen Recipes for Your Dog
Looking to pack some nutritious pumpkin into your dog's everyday diet? If so, and if you enjoy making your pup's treats from scratch, we have a few excellent pumpkin recipes that your dog won't be able to resist!
1. Pumpkin Peanut Butter Frozen Treats
These frozen treats are perfect for a hot summer day, offering the peanut butter flavor dogs love with nutritional benefits from pumpkin, goat's milk, and yogurt.
You'll only need four ingredients to make these delicious frozen treats:
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon of The Honest Kitchen's Instant Goat Milk
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
Start by mixing all the ingredients together in a blender until the mixture is smooth, then pour the mixture into an ice cream tray or silicone mold. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. From there, you can easily pop a treat directly out of the tray for your dog to enjoy anytime!
2. Peach and Pumpkin Cobbler Treats
Another excellent pumpkin-based treat recipe for your pup is gluten-free Peach and Pumpkin Cobbler Treats. This recipe is loaded with nutritious ingredients your dog will love, including canned pumpkin puree, oats, flaxseed, and peanut butter. Plus, it includes The Honest Kitchen's Perfect Form Herbal Digestive Supplement!
Here's what you'll need to throw this recipe together:
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed
- 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup peaches
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 tablespoon The Honest Kitchen's Perfect Form Herbal Digestive Supplement
- 1/8 cup water
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Then, prepare your peaches by removing the skin and pit before cutting them into cubes. Mix the peaches, pumpkin, peanut butter, and water together in a bowl until the mixture is smooth.
In a large bowl, add flour, oats, cinnamon, flaxseed, and Perfect Form until well combined. Then, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until mixed well. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the dough and roll each one into small balls. Place each treat on a cookie sheet, flattening each one with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes, cool for a few hours, then let your pup have a taste test! You can store the remaining treats in an airtight container inside your fridge or freezer.
3. Pumpkin Oatmeal Spice Dog Treat
Pumpkin spice season isn't just for humans! Want to let your dog in on this autumn tradition? This recipe is packed with pumpkin and ginger, both of which are great for your dog's digestive system.
You'll need the following ingredients to whip up this delectable dog treat:
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger (powdered or fresh)
- 1 teaspoon The Honest Kitchen's Perfect Form Herbal Digestive Supplement
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Then, mix the pumpkin, oil, ginger, Perfect Form, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Slowly mix in the oatmeal and flour, adding the water gradually until a stiff dough is formed.
Roll out the dough onto a floured surface until it's about a quarter inch thick, then use cookie cutters to cut out individual treats. Place them on the cookie sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, allowing them to cool for at least a couple of hours before giving one to your pup. Keep any leftover treats in an airtight container in your fridge.
The Honest Kitchen’s Perfect Form Herbal Digestive Supplement
This proprietary blend of herbs and ingredients uses the power of pumpkin seeds, fennel and other natural ingredients to help reduce loose stools, soothe the GI tract and support overall digestion and bowel health in dogs. It’s the perfect staple to keep on hand for anytime the ‘going’ gets rough for your pup.
Shop our Perfect Form Herbal Digestive Supplement now!
Want More Dog Diet Tips? Check Out The Honest Kitchen Blog Today!
As long as they're properly prepared, there's nothing wrong with offering your dog the occasional pumpkin seed or two. However, if you want to serve your dog the most nutritional part of the pumpkin, puree is the better choice. Plus, there are plenty of yummy and nutritious homemade treats you can make using pureed pumpkin!
Looking for more dog nutrition tips and recipes? Keep an eye on The Honest Kitchen Blog for information you can trust on all things related to being a pet parent.