Why Are Pumpkins So Good For Our Dogs?

Pumpkins, really? Yes! It turns out, the pumpkin craze isn’t just for Starbucks in the fall. Pumpkins are good for our furry friends, too.

You probably don’t want to just hand your dog a whole pumpkin and hope for the best. However, there are ways to incorporate pumpkin into a dog's diet to help with a variety of health issues.

Nutrition Values of Pumpkin

So, why did we pick pumpkin of all things? Well, they are chalk full of nutrition! Not only that, but they are low in sugar, inexpensive, and easy to find. Have I got your attention now? Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of pumpkins.


C: Every cup of pumpkin has 11 mg of Vitamin C. This powerful vitamin is great for immune support.

A: Pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin A, which helps with vision.


Potassium: If you have an active dog or one that has recently be dehydrated, you know how important potassium is. It helps with muscular recovery.

Zinc: Great for wound healing, immune function, and more.

Iron: To help with healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the lungs.

Other Nutritional Benefits

Fiber: Helps keep things moving in the GI tract at a normal pace.

Beta Carotene: Converts to Vitamin A for immune health and vision health.

Alpha Carotene: A powerful antioxidant that converts into Vitamin A.

Now that we know what nutritional value pumpkin has, how can it affect your dog and his health?

Gastrointestinal Health

If your dog is suffering from diarrhea or constipation, pumpkin can work wonders. It is high in fiber and water content, which will help bulk up feces and move it along. That means stopping diarrhea in its tracks and relieving constipation. Your dog will walk with a bounce in his step once again!

Another way pumpkin can help your dog’s digestive tract is if he has an upset stomach. Let’s face it, dogs get into some pretty rotten things sometimes. After making sure everything is A-OK through the vet, you may want to try some pumpkin to help with his tummy troubles. He may not want his normal food, but you can bet he won’t turn down a spoon full of delicious pumpkin.

Great For Their Urinary Tract

Not every pup has the best “hold it in” capability. This can be due to medical, training, or just stubborn reasons. However, if it is something more on the medical side, pumpkin can help! This is where the pumpkin seeds come into play.

Pumpkin seeds are high in fatty acids, which help with urinary incontinence. Give your pooch some crunchy pumpkin seeds and see if it does the trick.

Helps Keep Their Weight Down

You could probably see this one coming from the beginning of the article. Due to the high nutrition value, pumpkin is a great way to incorporate weight management with your dog. It’s high in fiber, so your dog will feel full faster.

Incorporating it into their regular meals may help avoid them overeating or trying to steal snacks from elsewhere. I know my dog is guilty of finding something else to eat if he is on a restricted diet. Lord only knows what he gets into when I’m not looking.

How to Prepare Pumpkin for Your Pooch

Say that five times fast! It’s a tongue twister, but do you know what isn’t a tongue twister? Pumpkin, that’s what. Alright, now that we know why pumpkin is good for our dogs, we obviously need to find ways to add it to their diet, but how?

The absolute easiest way to add pumpkin to your dog's diet is to buy organic canned pumpkin puree. If your dog is not super picky, or even if he is, he will probably want to eat it right out of the can. I would suggest a spoon to avoid injury. Just make sure that the puree is sugar-free.

The next easiest way is to just feed them fresh pumpkin flesh and seeds. Now, it’s important to note that pumpkins will mold. So, I would suggest a smaller pumpkin and keep it wrapped up tight in the fridge after you bust out the chainsaw to carve it.

Finally, you can get really creative and incorporate pumpkin into your own homemade dog food or treats. I like this option because it’s something special for your pooch. The look on his face is usually one of ecstatic joy.

The bottom line is to make sure it is fresh, sugar-free, and to start with very small amounts (think a teaspoon). Most dogs will love it, so you won’t have to get too creative. If they don’t, you can always try the treat route. What dog doesn’t love treats?

As you can see, pumpkin is indeed good for your dog. I know it may have come as a shock initially, but you are armed with information now. From gastrointestinal health and weight loss to solving incontinence issues, pumpkin is an excellent supplement.

Like most supplements or foods with dogs, you never want to go full bore from the start. Just a little at a time and you will see a big difference. I have found this to be true with my dogs! Adding pumpkin to Fido’s diet is as easy as, well, pumpkin pie. (Full disclosure: DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG PUMPKIN PIE.)

Mark Hastings loves his dog and cats. Mark shares his advice on how to take better care of your pets at www.yourplayfulpets.com and give them a great night’s sleep on a therapeutic dog bed.


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