Pumpkin For Dogs – The Ultimate Guide

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At dogIDs we are all about improving the lives of dogs. Because of this, we have many people ask us health questions for their dogs. One of the most common questions that you ask are about healthy superfoods for dogs. The answer to that question is so we pumpkin. Yes, pumpkin for dogs!

Pumpkin For Dogs – The Ultimate Pet Superfood

Pumpkin has many health benefits for dogs and is one food that pet owners can feel confident about safely adding it to their dog’s regular diet.

Pumpkin is incredibly nutritious, easy to prepare and has almost no side effects.

So here is everything you need to know about pumpkin for dogs.

This guide is here to answer two basic questions.

Is Pumpkin Good For Dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?

The short answer is YES to both of these questions.

Pumpkin is very nutritious for dogs. But be careful, not all pumpkins are created equal.

The pumpkin that you carve for Halloween, for example, is potentially full of mold and bacteria after it’s been sitting on your front porch for several weeks. It’s not a good idea to feed any pumpkin you are using as decor to your dog. Don’t take the risk.

Instead, use seeds and the flesh of FRESH pumpkins. These are both safe for your dog. Pumpkin parts can go rancid very quickly so if you choose to serve raw pumpkin it’s vital that it is the freshest you can find.

As we mentioned, both raw and cooked pumpkin is safe for dogs, but you can not beat the ease of canned pumpkin.

 Pumpkin for dogs - The Ultimate Pet Superfood

Canned Pumpkin For Dogs

Canned pumpkin is incredibly simple to feed to your dog.
Step 1: Open Canned Pumpkin
Step 2: Feed canned pumpkin to your dog

See, we told you it was simple.

Don’t worry about losing any nutritional value from using canned pumpkin instead of fresh pumpkin. Canned is packed full of the same nutrients as fresh pumpkin. Plus canned pumpkin is a puree, so it is easy to mix right into your dog’s food.

You can also give it to your dog as an added treat.

But make sure that your canned pumpkin is organic. You also need to ensure that no added sugars are in the can.

We already mentioned canned pumpkin and fresh cooked pumpkin have many health benefits for dogs. But what about pumpkin seeds?

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

Yes, but we recommend that you first clean and roast them. Do not serve them raw.

Cleaned and baked pumpkin seeds are an all natural, delicious snack for your dog (they’re good for you too).

Pumpkin seeds have been found to be high in omega 3 fatty acids, which have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects. Pumpkin seeds are also used as a natural remedy for parasites such as tapeworms and roundworms. Cucurbitin, an amino acid found in pumpkin seeds, acts as a natural de-worming agent.

Pumpkin seeds have also been found to benefit those with benign prostatic hyperplasia, and according to Healthy Petsalmost every male dog 9 years and older suffers from 

Pumpkin seeds also help dislodge kidney stones. Plus, the extracted oils of pumpkin seeds are beneficial to the urinary tract.

How to serve pumpkin seeds to your dog:

Pumpkin seeds can be crushed and grinded up and added to your dog’s meals. If you would prefer to give them as a whole seed, make sure you do so on a one at a time. Also only feed a few pumpkin seeds in one sitting. A potential side effect of too many pumpkin seeds is softer stools, due to the high the fat content.

Other Things to Consider about Pumpkin Seeds for Your Dog:

Do not add salt. Dogs need unsalted plain pumpkin seeds.

Fresh seeds will go rancid quickly, which is one of the reasons why we recommend roasting. Roasting pumpkin seeds in the oven will let them last about a month.

But note: If pumpkin seeds aren’t stored properly they can become toxic. Sealed packages are available and can provide a longer shelf life of about six months.

 Why should I feed my dog pumpkin?

Why is Pumpkin so Healthy for Dogs?

Fiber for Dog Weight Loss:
Dogs love the taste pumpkin so getting them to eat it should not be a problem.

It’s a great solution if you are looking to help your dog lose a few pounds. Use pumpkins for weight loss by reducing a portion of their dog food and replace it with the same portion of canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin contains nearly three grams of fiber for a single cup serving size. Fiber helps to promote a sense of fullness and reduces the physiological urge to consume larger volumes of food.

Pumpkin For dogs Upset Stomach

Additionally, fiber can help with your dog’s constipation. As your dog gets older, constipation can become a more frequent and severe problem. Increasing fiber levels can help to create more stool bulk. This helps to stimulate your dog’s colon wall and promotes contraction of the muscles responsible for moving stool from your pet’s digestive tract.

Pumpkin For Dog Diarrhea

Increasing your dog’s dietary fiber will help if your pet is suffering from diarrhea. Pumpkin flesh contains soluble fiber, which will help slow your dog’s digestion, and can help manage diarrhea by absorbing water.

Changes in food or your dog eating something that he or she shouldn’t can make them prone to large bowel diarrhea (a condition known as colitis).

Serving Size of Pumpkin for Dogs With Diarrhea:

Add a tablespoon or two (in proportion to their size) of Pureed pumpkin to your pet’s regular meal to help keep them regular or to help your dog with indigestion or an upset stomach.

Urinary Health Benefits of Pumpkin:

Pumpkin seeds have been found to be high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. This helps keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy, plus the oils in pumpkin flesh and seeds are believed to support urinary health.  Dogs with urinary incontinence, in particular, may benefit from a little pumpkin in their diet.

Moisture Benefits of Pumpkins

Pumpkin is composed of 90% water.
Pumpkin can be a healthy addition of moisture to any dogs diet, but it is particularly beneficial for those pets whose diets consists of dehydrated kibble.

Because kibble can require an increased secretion of gastric acid and pancreatic enzymes to help with your dog’s digestion, a moisture-deficient pet food (kibble) can have a dehydrating effect on your pet.

Drinking water or the addition of moisture rich foods (pumpkin) to your dog’s diet can help reduce this dehydrating effect. Adding pumpkin to your dog’s meals and or serving it as a healthy snack can help to promote an increased state of hydration for your dog.

Other Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

Pumpkin provides a natural source of many beneficial vitamins and nutrients:

  • Potassium – an electrolyte essential for muscular contraction and recovery from activity.
  • Vitamin C – one cup of pumpkin contains at least 11mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a vital for its antioxidant and immune system supporting effects.
  • Beta-Carotene. – beneficial for preventing cancer. Just look at a pumpkin’s bright orange color. You can literally see how rich it is in beta-carotene.
  • Alpha-Carotene
  • Fiber
  • Zinc – will help improve skin and coat.
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A – which is important for your dog’s vision health.

How much Pumpkin Should I Give My Dog?

A good amount to start with is feeding your dog 1 or 2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin. Start with this amount per day, depending on your dog’s size.

What to Avoid:

  • Avoid pumpkin pie filling due to fat, sugar, and other ingredients.
  • Avoid any pumpkin with spices.
  • Avoid any pumpkin with added flavorings.
  • Avoid any pumpkin with other preservatives.

These can all cause digestive tract problems.

Other things to Avoid

Never allow your dog to eat a pumpkin’s stem or leaves, they are covered in tiny, sharp hairs which can cause irritation to your dog’s mouth and intestinal tract.

Dogs should never eat the shell of a pumpkin or gourd. This is especially dangerous during Fall when many decorative pumpkins and gourds are coated with things like glue, glitter or shellac that are toxic.

Pumpkin for Dogs Side Effects

Any time you introduce something new to you dog’s diet, even if it’s healthy, you need to do so in moderation to see how your dog reacts to the new dietary addition.

Start slow.

By starting with too much pumpkin, canned or otherwise, you can actually cause diarrhea. Too much of a good thing, in this case fiber, can actually can cause some undesirable digestive problems such as; intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. This generally occurs from consuming too much fiber too fast.

To avoid these undesirable effects, simply incorporate small amounts of pumpkin slowly to your pet’s diet and work your way up to a dose that your dog is comfortable with.

This will allow their bacteria that they have in their digestive tract to adjust to the increased fiber.

Keeping your pet healthy means giving them a high quality life. We hope that you’ve learned something from our Pumpkin for Dogs Guide. Let us know if you decide to start adding this dog superfood to your pet’s diet.

Want more health tips for your dog? Check out these blogs.

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  1. I have heard that pumpkin can help move along hair balls that torn in a dogs esophagus. I have a long haired chihuahua that periodically builds up hair and coughs to get it up. I have seen it expelled in one to two inch long pieces the shape of her trachea/esophagus.
    Will pumpkin help this along safely?

  2. We have an 8 year old yorkie. I started giving her pumpkin about 10 months ago with each feeding to help with her long standing problem with constipation. Works like a charm! Added benefit, we just had
    our annual check up and her teeth are spotless. She has suffered with periodontal disease in the past and her gums and inflammation are no longer an issue. The only difference is the pumpkin. I’d love to hear if other pet owners have had similar improvements!

  3. I have a 6 year old yorkie-Maltese mix female who has colitis. She is on a prescription diet which has helped tremendously, however she has small flare ups every so often of diarrhea. This sounds like something we could add to her diet that she would not only enjoy bu would be helpdul.

  4. I have a 4 yr old pug and have been feeding her pumpkin the last 2 yrs as a treat after she has her feeding. Her digestive system has always worked great.

  5. I have a 10 pound Maltese mix. What amount of pumpkin should I give her. She doesn’t like her dog food and I hope adding pumpkin will help with that. The food she is currently getting is to help with weight loss. She is getting just a little “chubby” and I want to reverse that.

  6. I’ve recently started substituting canned pumpkin for the 3 tablespoons of wet dog food I mix in with my dogs’ kibble in the morning in the hopes of helping them losing some weight. I still give them the canned at night, but I’m hoping that the pumpkin’s high fiber and less calories will do the trick, and give them the health benefits as well.

  7. I have my dog on pumpkin with her kibble for about 24 mos for constipation. It has helped greatly but lately it seems as if we are out of sync with her somehow. I feed her in the morning between 8:00 and 9:00. Some days we poop real good and other days it seems like not so good. Tonight I am up with her and rumbling bowls. She use to free feed and I would give her pumpkin in a bowl once per day between 8 and 9. She now only eats kibble and pumpkin at the morning feeding, between 8 and 9. Same pumpkin schedule but new food schedule. We made this change about 6 months ago. Sometimes she gets me up in the nigh to use the bathroom. Not very often but at least once a week or 10 days. Anythoughts??

  8. I have heard that feeding dogs plain canned pumpkin will help with dogs eating their stools. I have 2 rescue American Eskimos and both do this and I try to catch them (I call them rolos) and scopo it up before they eat it but I can’t catch it every time. Will pumpkin help with this problem?

  9. When you say pumpkin seeds, do you mean the shell and all or do you mean just the inside “pepito”?
    Also which is more beneficial, seeds or purée?

    • Hi Sara,
      We have heard from readers that their pups prefer the puree. Either option for the seed is just fine. Thanks for reaching out and asking these questions. Let us know how it goes!

  10. Your article was very informative. We have just statred giving our one dog pumpkin with her food and she loves it. We have no problem getting her to eat her food!
    Our other dog Lady was just put on prescription RD food. We stopped the pumpkin when the vet changed her food. She has been having alot of discomfort in her little belly. The new food is loaded with fiber and is giving her some cramping. My question is this. …
    Can I.add pumpkin back in her diet or will it add to her discomfort because now I am giving her more fiber. What to do?
    Thank you again for the informative article.

  11. My beautiful adopted labradoodle came with an anal gland issue and after a traumatic first visit to the vet I decided I had to find a natural remedy. I didn’t find much info on UK sites but found a forum in USA that recommended Pumpkin for AG issues so I have given it a go and what a difference!! Fantastic result, no more smelly bottom and a very happy dog!! I mix it with her kibble and she wolfs it down. I would like to keep giving it to her but on a maintenance level. She currently has 3 tbls twice a day. Any thoughts?

      • Our 12lb shipoo has been on 1/8 tsp of milled flax seed and one teaspoon of pumpkin since we rescued her 7. 1/2 years ago. After her first abpnal gland problem we changed her diet to this morning and night on her dry food with an added tablespoon of water and mix it all in.

      • Our 6 yr old 80 lb Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix has been getting canned pumpkin daily for the past 4 yrs after having anal gland issues. Our vet told us to start with 1 Tbls daily. We have increased her to 2 heaping Tbls daily and she hasn’t had anymore anal gland issues. She loves it! And we love that she does not have to suffer with the discomfort. We definitely do not miss that odor!

  12. I have a french mastiff – 11months old – weighs around 50-55kgs, he has soft stool issue for a while – what amount of seeds should he intake?

  13. I have two border colleys they had loose bowles because I gave them beef bones now I fed them chicken yogert and pumpkin I am getting ready to put
    Them on new food verus I don’t won’t to make them sick can you help me

    • We give our Border 2 tbs in one feeding for wt control and it has never caused her any GI distress. Has only helped. She needed to lose weight and she is doing amazingly. It let us cut the food intake and still keep her from feeling like she was starving.

  14. Enjoyed your info on pumpkin as well as the comments!! My baby has had pancreitis twice now & is on a special diet food from the vet! I plan to add pumpkin to her diet a little at a time! Thanks to all for the comments & to you of course for the good info!!

  15. My eight year old Lab Bella spent three days at the Vets last year for a severe case of constipation. My Vet said that my grain free food may not be providing enough fiber for her and suggested pumpkin. Ever since then I’ve given her two to three tablespoons of canned pumpkin and a quarter cup of water in her dry food daily. It has done the trick and she’s back to running around our farm like a two year old.

  16. My Lab and my Dachshund both 13/14 range have had eating problems , the lil guy adopted me ( and I don’t mean I went out ) long story but about 8 he decided when he got to know me he ( I was the only one ) he’s the love of my life .. but sick every day throw up .. bed after bed had to be washed .. ( I was in a relationship with his owner ) she had 3 and a shepard & groomed and kenneled for a living .. The lil guy and I .. and my black lab moved on in about 3 years .. but his being sick didn’t .. ( stupid ) decided to figure it out .. it was his diet of course .. he nate everything ( a beggar -n- a good one ) we switched that .. the 2 were started on Brown rice & Chicken .. I have a pressure cooker for the rice ( 13 min) I have since tuned in to mostly chicken breast , brown rice ( and if the lab gets real finicky hamburg soup 93% lean) with biljack for crunchys .. I add a spoon of cottage cheese to the lil guy and 2 for the big .. its been about 3 years and the lil guy almost never gets sick about 4/6 times since I have been paying attention .. but the lab .. got the squirts and I read that pumpkin worked .. ( they like a lil yogurt too ) But a 3/5 days of pumpkin ( a can ) and he was solid ..I do like to cut corners ( discount foods , dented .. and warehouses ) but not real good luck and like one of the other articles almost 2 dollars a can .. I come back from my journey and stopped at a roadside stand ( huge pumpkin $25 ) are you kidding me .. then I stopped at my Marketbasket $6.99 huge Pumpkin .. all the cookie pans and oven trays leaving room to cook the chicken breast 350deg 1 hr water in the bottom of the pans .. ( couldn’t fit all the pumpkin in ( covered in foil ) Amazing .. ( I peeled it hot ) probably not as wise as cool but it was perfect .. I must have 12 cans worth of fresh pumpkin .. put it in small freezer bags .. ( right now is the time ) they will be the right price soon

  17. I have a 3 yr old American Bulldog who I have been feeding Pumpkin to firm up his stool. He has food allergies so he is on a grain free diet. We have gone from super soft non shaped stool to formed but still soft stool in about 3 weeks time. He gets fed 2x times daily. I worry about over feeding pumpkin, and a dependency on pumpkin in his food. ( he is a rescue/foster dog) Will the need for Pumpkin continue or is this as good as its going to get? He is totally healthy, and fecal exam is clean.

  18. I guess I started with too much pumpkin -2 TB for my 35 lb, 12 year old Shelty, result very loose stools more like dirreah (100% pure canned but not organic) Thank you for the in depth info.

  19. Since it is pumpkin season, I was considering buying a few fresh ones, cooking and freezing portions. Does any kind of pumpkin work or does it need to be the small sugar ones used for pie making?

  20. I make homemade dog food for my 4 elderly large dogs. I like to cut up fresh pumpkin and butternut squash and put it in the pressure cooker and in 20 minutes it’s done. Do I have to peel the pumpkin and squash? That is the one thing that takes so much time!

  21. Hello Hannah, I was researching how to get my 4 lb. miniature Chihuahua’s to stop eating poop. One of the many natural options was pumpkin. Was wonder if I should do this or use meat tenderizer, or pineapple juice? Or do you have a better alternative? Love your site. Thank You Teresa

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