This time of year, pumpkin flavors seem to work their way into everything—from conventional products like muffins and lattes to oddball choices like gum and yes, even pumpkin spice toothpaste. So it might not surprise you to learn that many puppy parents give their canines pumpkin, either as an occasional treat or a routine part of their diet. And in fact, pumpkin does offer evidence-based health benefits for our furry friends.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
Pumpkin is a naturally healthy food that has a high amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber. This makes it ideal for helping dogs with sensitive or upset stomachs. In fact, pumpkin works well for both diarrhea and constipation. Pumpkin can treat an existing case of diarrhea or constipation, as well as reduce the risk of a recurrence. And if your dog is a long-haired breed, you’ll be happy to know that pumpkin can also help mitigate hairballs.
Ideal Amount of Pumpkin
It’s best to ask your veterinarian for guidance, as the needs of every breed and every individual dog are unique. Note that feeding too much pumpkin can backfire, leading to loose stools. In general, small breeds like Chihuahuas might eat a couple of teaspoons once daily, whereas medium to large breeds might eat a couple of tablespoons. Very large breeds, such as Great Danes, may be able to eat as much as a half a cup daily.
Veterinarian Advice for Upset Stomach
If you’re feeding your dog pumpkin because of digestive upset, it’s always a good idea to schedule a vet visit first. While pumpkin works well for mild cases of tummy trouble, it’s possible that your dog’s symptoms are indicative of a more serious condition, such as parasites.
Considerations Before Feeding Pumpkin to Dogs
If you do decide to include pumpkin in your dog’s diet, be careful about the product you select. You can feed canned pumpkin packaged for human consumption, but be sure that it’s 100% pumpkin and does not include any spices, salt, or other ingredients. Alternatively, look for pumpkin packaged specifically for canine or feline consumption.
If you have any questions about your dog’s health or nutrition, you’re always welcome to reach out to the friendly team at Horizon Animal Hospital. Call us in Scottsdale at (480) 614-9500 to request an appointment with a veterinarian.