Halloween- a holiday celebrated by many people around the world. The first thing you may associate this holiday with are pumpkins. Carved in different shapes, pumpkins are one of the favorite meals for a lot of people not only on Halloween but on a regular basis. Our paw friends are often really greedy and want to taste the food we are eating. You may wonder if pumpkin is one of the foods you may feed your dog with.
If your doggy is likely to have interest in human food, you may want to read more about pumpkin as food with many benefits for dogs’ health. Why is pumpkin good for dogs, how much is enough and how to prepare it properly- we will answer these questions in today’s article.
Why is Pumpkin Good for Your Dog?
Benefits for the digestive system
Pumpkin is beneficial for the digestive system, as it is high in fiber and contains prebiotics as well. You can give it to your dog when he/she deals with both diarrhea and constipation. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, adding a healthy amount of pumpkin to their meal will help them have regular and solid stools. On the other hand, pumpkin is likely to mitigate the symptoms of constipation.
Benefits for the skin
Pumpkin moisturizes the coat and the skin due to the presence of nutrients including zinc and vitamin A.
Benefits for the eyes
Vitamin A in pumpkin is helpful for maintaining the eye health of your doggy.
Benefits for the urinary tract
Pumpkin seeds contain Omega 3 fatty acids that help the body remove kidney stones and protect it from inflammations. Moreover, powder prepared from pumpkin seeds promotes the ability of dogs to hold urine. In other words it interferes with urinary incontinence.
Benefits for the hemoglobin
Pumpkin seeds increase the hemoglobin levels due to the iron that they contain.
Benefits for the muscles
Pumpkin also contains potassium and iron that are good for the muscles.
Benefits for weight management
If your doggy needs to lose a few pounds, you may implement a healthy amount of pumpkin in his/her diet as it has a high content of fiber and is low in calories.
What Amount of Pumpkin Is Considered Healthy?
First we would like to note that every new food that you would like to implement in your dog’s diet should be introduced gradually. You need to ensure that your canine’s body will react positively to the new food and try with small amounts in the beginning. If your furry friend copes with diarrhea or constipation you may give them 1-4 tablespoons pumpkin powder on a daily basis.
We would recommend that you check with your veterinarian what amount of pumpkin is deemed healthy for your dog. Do not take any risks when it comes to the health of your beloved friend.
What Is Important to Consider When Feeding Them With Pumpkin?
If you decide to add pumpkin to your canine’s regular food, you need to make sure that he/she is hydrated. Drinking a lot of water is recommended when meals high in protein have been added to the regular diet.
Be careful with vitamin A
Over-feeding with vitamin A, contained in pumpkin, can be harmful for your canine.
Feed your dog with plain pumpkin
If you would like to feed your dog with canned pumpkin, you need to ensure that it does not contain xylitol, as it can be very harmful and even cause death. We would recommend that you feed your paw friend with plain pumpkin and avoid any flavorings, spices and syrups. Cinnamon and nutmeg should be avoided as well.
These ingredients can decrease the levels of blood sugar and also lead to high blood pressure and even seizures. Moreover, they are likely to have a negative effect on the liver.
Are All Parts of Pumpkin Safe for Your Dog?
The answer is No. We will list some parts of pumpkin that should be avoided as they can be dangerous for your dog:
These parts are considered unhealthy for your dog’s stomach, and we would recommend that you remove them first.
Are Pumpkin Seeds Safe for Your Dog?
As stated above, seeds are a part of pumpkin high in healthy ingredients like Omega 3 fatty acids, and oils, that improve the condition of the urinary tract and help the body remove kidney stones.
However, despite all the positive effects of pumpkin seeds, they can be dangerous, if given in a row condition. That is why we would recommend that you do not add salt or sugar to the seeds. Also, you may want to clean them first and roast them (50-60 minutes, 350℉) before feeding your dog with them.
After you prepare the seeds, you may want to smash or grind them. This will ease the digestion, and you will not take the risk of your dog being unable to swallow them and choke. Any seeds left can be put in airtight dishes and stored.
Carved Pumpkin- Yes or No?
Since pumpkin is one of the most important Halloween’s element, you may be tempted to let your doggy taste the scary carved pumpkin that you invested time and effort to design and show your creativity.
You need to keep in mind, that bacteria can develop in carved pumpkins that have been out for days. Hence, we would advise you to not feed your doggy with it. The same way that humans avoid stale food, you should avoid giving it to your dog as well.
Easy ways to store pumpkin and keep it safe for your canine. You may ask- since carved pumpkin is not recommended for dogs, how to store it, so it can be edible and safe for him/her?
If there is any fresh and plain pumpkin left, and you consider feeding your doggy with it quickly, you can store it in your refrigerator. Just remember to put it in a sealed bowl.
If you would like to store it for longer periods of time, you can make pumpkin purée and freeze it. Pumpkin purée snacks can be a wonderful surprise for your doggy. You just need to pour the purée into ice cube trays. This is an easy way to prepare delicious treats for your dog, that he/she will be happy to get as a reward for showing good behavior.
What is the best and healthiest way to prepare pumpkin for your canine?
We will give you two easy receipts:
1. Pumpkin Purée
-Wash the pumpkin;
-Cut it into 4 quarters (you will need ¼);
-Cut the quarter into pieces;
-Remove the seeds;
-Put the pieces in the oven (put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper);
-Bake approximately 45 minutes. The pieces should be soft and chewable;
-Remove from the oven;
-Cool the pumpkin for several minutes;
-Remove the baked skin;
-Cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces and blend them;
-Add water gradually until it gets the consistency of a baby purée;
-Freeze in ice cube trays.
2. Pumpkin Treats
-3/5 cup purée of pumpkin;
-2,5 cups oat flour or whole wheat;
-3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter;
You need to mix the ingredients and put them in the oven. Remove them from the oven when they have melt and shape them into a cookie. Place them back in the oven (180℉ for 30 minutes).
Pumpkin is food beneficial for both humans and dogs due to its healthy ingredients. However, you need to remember that one thing can be both healthy and harmful, depending on the amount and the way it has been prepared.