Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin and Do They Like It?

Pumpkin is a signature sign that Fall is in the air. It seems pumpkin has infiltrated all kinds of food products, everything from coffee to pasta – including dog treats. But can dogs safely eat pumpkin? And maybe even more important, do they like it?

Is Pumpkin Safe For Dogs to Eat?

Yes, it is absolutely safe for your dog to eat raw or cooked pumpkins! It’s not just safe for your dog to eat; it actually has multiple health benefits. Let’s explore how pumpkin can improve your dog’s well-being.

Pumpkin is packed full of vitamins and minerals. These include:

  • Vitamin A – supports brain, eye, and immune system functions
  • Vitamin C – can help reduce inflammation and combat cognitive decline
  • Vitamin E – vital for metabolism and cell function
  • Beta-Carotene – antioxidant that can improve eyesight & prevents illness
  • Magnesium – supports muscle and nerve functions

Beyond being packed full of good micronutrients for your dog, pumpkin is also a helpful digestive aid. Pumpkin has a high fiber content which is essential for healthy digestion. It can actually help with both diarrhea and constipation.

For dogs suffering from diarrhea, mixing in small amounts of pumpkin with their food can help firm up their stool and soothe their digestive system. If your dog is struggling with mild constipation, the addition of the pumpkin can help move things along. The high water and soluble fiber content are the active nutrients that help aid digestion.

Pumpkin isn’t just good for your dog, it can also be used to make tasty treats at home for your pup! You may find pumpkin-flavored treats or supplements at your local pet store too. It’s a great way to add in a new flavor along with essential vitamins and minerals. Make sure you are using 100% pumpkin when cooking for your dog. Other varieties of pumpkin can contain not-so-good ingredients and spices for your dog.

Many common spices can actually be dangerous for our dogs. Nutmeg, the main ingredient in pumpkin pie spice, is toxic to dogs. It can cause high blood pressure, disorientation, or even seizures. This is why it’s crucial to use pumpkin only, not pumpkin mixes, when cooking for your pet. In the case of a stolen or accidental bite, that small amount will likely only produce a mild stomach ache. It’s best to keep your dog far away, just in case.

We’ve got a couple of easy, dog-friendly pumpkin recipes to inspire you. These recipes are packed with pumpkin, protein, and whole grains for your pup! Yum!

Two Healthy & Safe Recipes for Dogs

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats

  • 2 Cups whole wheat flour
  • ½-1 C pumpkin puree
  • ½ C natural, unsweetened peanut butter

Mix ingredients together with a spoon. Start with ½ cup of pumpkin; if the mixture is too dry, add more pumpkin. Roll out on a floured surface. The dough should be ¼ inch in thickness. Cut with a cookie cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes. Once they are cooled, share them with your favorite furry friend. Store in an airtight bag.

Savory Pumpkin Harvest Bowl

  • 1 Cup brown rice
  • ½ C pumpkin puree
  • 3 C dog-friendly vegetables (Pick 2: peas, spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots)
  • 3 lb ground turkey (Substitutes: salmon, ground or shredded chicken)

In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey, breaking it into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Cook rice using a stovetop or rice cooker until light and fluffy. Steam the vegetables by filling up a medium pot with a couple of inches of water. Bring to a boil, then add vegetables and cover. Cook until fork tender. If you’re using spinach or kale, heat in a skillet until soft and wilted.

Add rice, turkey, veggies, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.  Once cooled to a warm temperature, serve up a bowlful for your hungry pup. Check with your vet about serving sizes for your specific dog breed. (This recipe yields about 8 cups. Refrigerate leftover servings for up to 3 days or store in the freezer for up to 3 months.)

If you would like more yummy pumpkin recipes for your pups, check these out from the American Kennel Club!

Dogs Love Pumpkin!

Pumpkin is safe for your dog to eat and even healthy for them! It’s a great shelf-stable option to keep in your cupboard in case of intestinal distress. Fall and the cooler weather are the perfect excuses to try your hand at making a pumpkin dish for your favorite pooch.

Happy eating!

Melanie Haynes

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