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The Benefits of Adding Pumpkin to Your Pet’s Diet

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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{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Betsey Brenneman October 8, 2013, 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.

  • Audrey Perigo October 8, 2013, 6:20 am

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

  • Louie the Cat October 8, 2013, 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.

    • VetDepot October 29, 2013, 8:26 am

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

  • Anne Thomas October 9, 2013, 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.

  • Jessica Saunders October 14, 2013, 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.

    • marcie November 6, 2014, 8:42 am

      Thanks for the information on making dog food with
      pumpkin. I will try this. I have a shelty that is allergic to about any dog food except salmon. I use Wilderness dry food and Sadie is
      doing well. I also use Salmon and chicken in a can. two Tablespoons with her thryroid meds and the rest of her one cup of dry food. Some pumpkin broth will also work. A can cost $2.49 a can.
      marcie

  • Jessica Saunders October 14, 2013, 3:08 pm

    Pumpkin broth

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

    Can this be used on diabetic dogs /Cushings?

    • VetDepot October 17, 2013, 9:29 am

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

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

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

  • Gail November 9, 2013, 1:19 pm

    So pumpkin is okay for cats too?

    • VetDepot December 17, 2013, 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.

  • Karen September 24, 2014, 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

  • Barry November 6, 2014, 3:18 am

    We’re talking fresh or canned pumpkin. Jack-o-lanterns that have been outside for a week are filled with germs.

  • Dena November 6, 2014, 9:13 am

    I give my diabetic cat canned pumpkin at each meal per my vet’s instructions. I actually mix it up with water to make it more liquid-y. It helps him get extra fluids when he can’t drink enough to keep up with what his body needs due to diabetes.

  • Gail November 7, 2014, 10:49 am

    Another use for the canned pumpkin is in case your dog eats something it shouldn’t. We have a lab who used to be bad about eating almost anything (thank goodness she grew out of that!). We were advised by our vet to give her a large, heaping spoonful of the pumpkin every 2 or 3 hours. He said the pumpkin would bind with the other stuff and help it pass more safely. (She got hold of a catfish carcass at the lake once; we weren’t sure if she actually ingested any bones or not, so used the pumpkin just in case.) Bonus: all of our dogs just love the pumpkin. There are some good recipes on line for making your own dog treats with pumpkin and other ingredients that are healthy and low-fat and sugar.

  • Linda Dean November 9, 2014, 11:29 am

    I have a Silky Terrier and he has allergies to chicken, salmon, etc. He loves chicken so I have been giving him turkey instead. I want to know if there is a website that I can go to and get info on a dogs nutritional needs so that I can go natural with his diet. I have reduced my use of processed foods by 75% to get away from chemicals and other unnatural additives and ingredients in our foods and I feel so much better, so I would like to do the same for my dog. Thank you for your assistance.

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