The Benefits of Adding Pumpkin to Your Pet’s Diet

by VetDepot on October 7, 2013

Pumpkin blogFor many pets with dietary problems, pumpkin can be a safe, easy and inexpensive solution. The virtues of pumpkin are many, but its main positive attributes are its vitamin A content and its fiber content. Most animals have plenty of vitamin A in their diet, so that is rarely a factor for pumpkin use. However, extra fiber can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.

While it may seem contradictory, fiber can help treat both diarrhea and constipation. For diarrhea, the fiber in pumpkin soaks up extra fluid on its way through the intestinal tract. That helps to firm up stools in a very natural and safe way. It won’t totally stop diarrhea caused by an intestinal infection, but it will help you get a handle on the problem while medications go into effect.

For constipation, the added bulk of extra fiber helps to stimulate bowel movements, encouraging your pet’s intestinal tract to empty. Again, this is a very natural and safe way to help this problem. Some pets that suffer from chronic constipation do well with a daily dose of pumpkin added to their food.

The extra fiber will also help a dog or cat feel full, even if they’re eating fewer calories overall. For this reason, pumpkin can aid in a pet’s weight loss program as well. Substituting a tablespoon of canned pumpkin for a ¼ cup of food will leave your dog still feeling full.

The best way to use pumpkin is to purchase plain canned pumpkin. You don’t want the “ready for a pie” version that has added fats and spices. Many pets like plain pumpkin, so you can just add it to their regular pet food. Talk to your veterinarian about how much pumpkin to safely give your pet since it will vary depending on your pet’s size and current diet.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsey Brenneman October 8, 2013 at 5:51 am

Since the pumpkin comes in a good size can, you can store it more easily by pouring it into an ice cube tray. When the cubes are frozen, pop them out and put in freezer storage bags. When you need them, thaw in refrigerator a day ahead of time (put in small plastic storage container first – it will be a little watery). My vet told me about this and it works like a charm.

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Audrey Perigo October 8, 2013 at 6:20 am

You can take the time to make your own dog biscuits adding pumpkin dogs love them mine does.

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Louie the Cat October 8, 2013 at 6:22 am

I like getting your tips, this one is great as I like pumpkin and usually have some here. I wondered, though, if because Louie is underweight, if I still could give him small amounts as treats. He’s finicky and not easy to get him to eat everything in his dish. I’ve read that some foods will stimulate the appetite and wondered if pumpkin could do this, and not have to worry about him “feeling full”. So I wondered what you thought about small amounts as a treat rather than supplement. Of course there’s a chance he won’t like pumpkin at all so I won’t have to be concerned about it. I’m always looking for something I can give him that is good for him and what he’ll like. Not easy. Thanks.

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VetDepot October 29, 2013 at 8:26 am

Hello. We recommend you speak with a veterinarian regarding your pet’s specific dietary needs. Best of luck.

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Anne Thomas October 9, 2013 at 5:39 am

You can also cook the pumpkin yourself. This would be a good way to use leftover pumpkins after Halloween. Cut up the pumpkin into large pieces, remove the seeds, and cook in either in the microwave or in the oven, in a bowl or pan with some water in it. I usually microwave it; after six minutes, I turn the pieces over and cook them another six minutes. After they’ve cooled enough to handle, remove the flesh from the peels.

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Jessica Saunders October 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm

My vet advised to put Pumpkin in the dogs diet everyday as one was prone to kidney stones. This helped in preventing the formation of stones. Also I make a crock pot of a whole pack of broth, double the quantity with water, a cup of brown rice and one packet of mixed frozen peas & carrots, let it cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours or until it absorbs all of the water, add half a large tin of canned natural pumpkin then let it cool. I substitute this instead of using wet dog food they love it on top of their dried food. 1 tablespoon for a 20lb dog approximately, it also helped with the weight on a couple of my dogs. Make in advance and freeze use when needed.

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Jessica Saunders October 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Pumpkin broth

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Kathy Petrie Faoon October 17, 2013 at 12:53 am

Can this be used on diabetic dogs /Cushings?

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VetDepot October 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

Hi Kathy. We are unable to give any medical advice, please direct this question to your veterinarian. Thank you.

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Broken Arrow Vets November 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

Amazing! I was not aware of how beneficial pumpkin is on pets.

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Gail November 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

So pumpkin is okay for cats too?

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VetDepot December 17, 2013 at 9:28 am

Hi Gail. We apologize for the delay in response. Yes, in general, pumpkin is okay for cats as well as dogs. Always check with a veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s individual dietary needs.

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Karen September 24, 2014 at 7:04 am

My dog loves sweet potatoes! When I’m cutting them up I give him a few raw pieces. Better than dog biscuits

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