Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin? Benefits of Pumpkin for Your Pup

The short answer? Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin! Pumpkin is an excellent additive to your dog’s diet.

Not only is it filled with all sorts of nutrients, but it can also help with diarrhea and tapeworms

a Beagle biting the pumpkin stem
A goofy Beagle puppy trying to bite a pumpkin

But as with all treats and food, pumpkin should be given in moderation. Dogs can safely eat pumpkins, but there are precautions you need to take note of.

This article explores this popular ingredient and the benefits of adding pumpkin to your dog’s meals.

Do note that while a veterinary technician wrote this article, it should not substitute for medical advice.

If your dog ate pumpkin and has an adverse reaction, please immediately seek professional assistance or a DVM vet.

What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin for your Pup? 

a Labrador Retriever looking up while laying beside a pumpkin
Meet Noodle, a yellow Labrador puppy excited for the fall season – Image source

Since we now know it’s safe to feed pumpkins to your pooch, let’s look at the many health benefits pumpkins offer.

Pumpkin Nutrition 

Low in sodium and high in alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, carotenoid, potassium, lutein, and iron, pumpkins have plenty of health benefits for dogs.

You can also find calcium, vitamins A and B-complex, vitamin C, and vitamin E in pumpkins.

As pumpkin is high in soluble fiber, pumpkin can ease constipation and improve intestinal health.

Being low in calories also means that owners can also use it for their dog’s weight management. Pumpkin is highly filling and will keep your pups fuller for longer.

Pumpkin seeds are high in fatty acids and can enhance your dog’s coat health

The seeds also have anti-parasitic properties due to the amino acid cucurbitin found in them.

As it’s a natural dewormer, you don’t have to worry about diarrhea or other side effects that come with veterinary dewormers. 

Dogs with joint problems, urinary incontinence, and poor coat health often see an improvement with a small amount of pumpkin added to their diet.

The high antioxidants in pumpkins can slow the aging process, fight inflammation and boost your dog’s immune system.

Fun Facts About Pumpkins

Although most of us consider them vegetables, pumpkins are technically fruit. They are in the same family as melons and cucumbers.

Each pumpkin contains about 500 seeds! The seeds are high in iron and can be eaten as well.

And pumpkins are 90% water, which makes them relatively low in calories compared to other fruits.

Pumpkins are just packed with so many nutrients; they were used as medicines back in the day. 

There are more than 40 different varieties of pumpkin. And they come in different colors too: white, red, yellow or green. 

What Parts of a Pumpkin Can Dogs Eat?

Dogs can eat the seeds and pumpkin flesh or pulp. But make sure you don’t give pumpkin in excess as it could mitigate the benefits of pumpkin. 

It would be best if your dog isn’t given the stem as it could cause an intestinal blockage. The skin and rind can also be hard to digest, which doesn’t make it very ideal. 

Here’s a table detailing what parts of the pumpkin your dog can eat: 

Pumpkin Part Safe for your dog?
Can dogs eat pumpkin pulp? Yes, it is filling and low in calories
Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds? Yes, in moderate amounts, it’s a natural, non-toxic dewormer
Can dogs eat pumpkin guts? Yes, it is filled with antioxidants
Can dogs eat pumpkin rind? Unrecommended as it isn’t easily digestible and may be a choking hazard
Can dogs eat pumpkin skin? Unrecommended as it isn’t easily digestible

What Type of Pumpkin Is Safe for Your Dog?

a cute Maltese surrounded by pumpkins
Meet Valerie, a Maltese enjoying pumpkin patch – Image source

Your pumpkin lattes might be yummy to you, but when feeding pumpkin to your dogs, avoid pumpkin pie filling or overly processed pumpkins.

Fresh pumpkins can also be added to your dog’s meal. 

The best type of pumpkin is plain canned pumpkin as it has a higher fiber content because fresh pumpkin has higher levels of water content. 

How Can You Prepare Pumpkin Seeds for Your Dogs?

If given directly, pumpkin seeds may sometimes cause dogs to choke. One of the safest ways to give your dog pumpkin seeds is to clean, bake, and grind them into powder.

To use pumpkin seeds for deworming, you can check out this recipe:

Fresh Raw Pumpkin or Cooked/Dried/Steamed/Canned?

Pumpkin is a superfood for dogs, but how should you prep it for your dogs? 

Dogs can safely eat pumpkins raw or cooked pumpkins. Most dogs will eat plain pumpkin, but you can mix it into your dog’s food or feed it as is. 

You can feed them canned pureed pumpkins provided that it is 100% pumpkin puree. You can also freeze-dry pumpkins and use them as jerky treats. 

When Is Pumpkin Bad for Your Dog?

One cup of cooked pumpkin has 14100 IU of vitamin A, 5.1 grams of sugar, 564 mg of potassium, and 2.7 grams of fiber, all at a whopping 49 kcals. 

Dogs need a minimum of 3,333 IU of vitamin A per kg, and anything above 333,300 IU per kg will cause adverse effects ranging from peeling skin, nausea, or weakness to death.

Too much fiber from pumpkin can also cause distress in your pup’s digestive tract and cause diarrhea or nausea. 

If you want to feed pumpkin to your dogs, take care to monitor the amount they are eating not to overdo it. 

How Much Pumpkin Should You Give Your Dog?

You don’t want to exceed the recommended dose of one teaspoon of pumpkin flesh per 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of body weight daily. 

Pumpkin seeds are high in fat, and it isn’t recommended to go over one pumpkin seed per 10 lbs. 

What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Raw Pumpkin?

A little bit of raw pumpkin is no cause for concern, but you don’t want to give your dog week-old Jack-O-Lanterns that have been sitting out since Halloween.

Pumpkins should always be prepared fresh or from a can with no added ingredients or seasonings. 

Raw pumpkin can be a bit tough for some dogs to chew, but if your dog seems interested in it, there’s no harm in offering them some.

Just make sure you watch out for any signs of adverse reactions such as gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or vomiting.

How Can You Add Pumpkin To Your Dog’s Diet?

When offering your dog new food, you should always introduce it slowly. Start by offering them a taste to see how they react to it. 

You can add some pumpkin puree to toys such as kongs or bake them into treats! 

Can You Give a Homemade Pumpkin Recipe to Your Dog?

Of course! Home-cooked food makes for interesting mealtimes. If you want to avoid raw pumpkin, try roasting it before giving it to your pup. 

Here’s an idea! A yogurt pumpkin dog bowl for a small dog:

Mix 1–2 teaspoons of plain Greek nonfat yogurt with one tablespoon pumpkin puree and serve immediately or use it as a topper on your dog’s kibble.

If you have a large dog, up the amount to 1–3 tablespoons of yogurt and 2–4 tablespoons pumpkin puree.

What Are Some Homemade Pumpkin Treat Ideas for Dogs?

If you are keener on making treats, why not give these easy recipes a try?

Savory Pumpkin Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup coconut or wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp chicken stock

Instructions:

  1. Mix ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Roll the dough until it’s ½ inch thick.
  3. Use your cookie cutter or shape dough into the shape you desire.
  4. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 30 minutes.
  5. Let cool and serve.
  6. To store, keep in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze them.

No-Bake Dog Treats Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup xylitol-free peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Mix ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Create small balls with the batter and place them on a tray lined with parchment
  3. Chill for one hour and serve when hardened.
  4. To store, keep in an airtight container.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A Cockapoo wearing a pumpkin costume in a pumpkin patch
A Cockapoo ready to trick-or-treat with a pumpkin – Image source

Can you give your dog a whole pumpkin?

It would be best if you do not give your dog an entire pumpkin as your dog will overdose on fiber, which will lead to an upset stomach.

Furthermore, too much beta-carotene-rich food can lead to excess vitamin A, which is toxic to dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Spice?

Seeing as pumpkin spice is a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, we’ll have to look at each ingredient carefully.

While ginger can aid nauseous dogs, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice can be toxic to dogs. Cinnamon can be fatal in large amounts. 

With this in mind, it’s better to avoid giving your dog pumpkin spice and reach for actual pumpkin gourds instead.

Can a Dog with Kidney Disease Eat Pumpkin?

a charming Bernese Mountain dog
Meet Toruk, a Bernese Mountain dog kidney disease survivor – Image source

Dogs with kidney disease should avoid eating pumpkins as they are generous in potassium and magnesium, which isn’t healthy for dogs with renal disease.

Some canned pumpkins may also have high sodium levels, negatively impacting dogs with kidney problems.

Does Canned Pumpkin Stop Dogs from Eating Poop?

Interestingly enough, pumpkin makes dogs poop unappealing to dogs and prevents them from scarfing down their waste.

If you have a dog that’s been chowing down on their poo, you can try adding some pumpkin into their diet. 

Pumpkin in Moderation Can Be Good For Your Doggo

a Dachshund wearing an orange sweater while wearing a small pumpkin in its head
Meet Dashi, a Miniature Dachshund with a tiny pumpkin – Image source

From weight loss to improving your dog’s eye health, pumpkin is a wonderful supplement to your dog’s diet!

Tablespoons of pumpkin in your furry bud’s dog food is a great way to incorporate antioxidants to counteract free radicals and keep your pooch’s immunity strong and healthy.

Have you tried pumpkin for dogs? Leave your pumpkin recipes in the comments for other dog owners to try.

Further reading: What other vegetables can dogs eat?

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