Autumn is right around the corner, and pumpkin is already finding its way into our coffee cups, dessert selections, and everything else under the sun. Pumpkin has even found its way into some varieties of dog treats and dog food. More than just a seasonal flavoring, pumpkin for pets holds significant nutritional value. Let’s take a look at how feeding your pets pumpkin can benefit their health.
Which Kind of Pumpkin Is the Right One?
First of all, it is important to note that you should never feed your pets pumpkin pie filling. It is full of sugar and spices that will make them sick. In addition to this, you also should avoid simply cutting open a raw pumpkin and feeding your pets the insides. The pumpkin that you feed your dog should be cooked, or canned, with no sugar or spices added. You may also feed your dog a few roasted pumpkin seeds at a time. Just don’t overdo it, as their high-fat content may cause them to have diarrhea if they eat too many.
Feeding Pumpkin to Your Pets
Some pets will let you feed canned pumpkin to them right off of the spoon. Others prefer having it mixed into their kibble or wet food. Adding one tablespoon to your dog or cat’s meal is a good starting point. You can add up to 4 tablespoons per meal to their food if they are responding well to it as a supplement. Now that you know how to do it, let’s talk about why feeding pumpkin to your pets makes sense.
High Fiber Content
In every cup of pumpkin, there are 3 grams of fiber. In addition to keeping your pets more regular, it also helps their stomach to feel full and satisfied. This is particularly useful for overweight dogs, as they will be inclined to eat less when pumpkin is a part of their meal. For both cats and dogs, eating pumpkin can help relieve both constipation and diarrhea as its fiber content helps to encourage proper elimination. The fiber in pumpkin gives cats an extra bonus, as it helps to reduce hairballs as well.
Natural Vitamin and Mineral Boost
Although your pets should be getting most of their vitamins from the nutritious food that you have selected, adding pumpkin to their food can give them a natural boost of vitamins and minerals as well. Pumpkin contains immune-boosting vitamins C and A, which also promotes good vision. It also contains zinc which is beneficial in improving the condition of your pet’s skin and coat. Pumpkin has more potassium than a banana. Potassium is essential for proper muscle contractions and for recovering from muscular activity. Pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote a healthy heart and a longer life.
Get creative when it comes to feeding pumpkin to your pets. Pumpkin dog treat recipes abound that you can safely feed your dog such as this one for Dog-Friendly Pumpkin Cupcakes. If you have a cat to treat as well, try making these Canine & Feline Healthy Pumpkin Balls Recipe.
Remember, if you see your dogs licking or chewing at your Jack ‘O Lantern pumpkin this Halloween season, shoo them away. This is because your outdoor decorative pumpkin can quickly develop dangerous bacteria which can make your pets sick.
Giving your pets a spoon or two of fresh, canned pumpkin is a great way to let them share in the festivities of the holiday season!