Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin: Recipe and Vet Q&A

Pumpkins are a healthy snack for us, and yes, an excellent decoration for Halloween. But what about our best friends? Can dogs eat pumpkin?

Well, I’m here to spill the beans (or should I say the pumpkin seeds) and tell you that the short answer is yes.

If you have time, let’s go through some of the most common benefits, and I’ll show you how you can safely feed pumpkin to your pup.

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?

Yes. They’re a great source of:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Potassium
  • Iron

Pumpkins are low in calories, making them an excellent treat for your doggo. 

The Benefits of Pumpkins for Dogs

Now that you know the nutritional side of pumpkins, you might wonder what benefits it can have on your pup. Let’s talk about pumpkin’s common benefits for our four-legged companions:

  • Digestive health: The pumpkin fiber can work wonders for your dog’s digestion. It helps regulate bowel movements, great for pups with diarrhea or constipation issues.
  • Weight management: Thanks to their low-calorie content, pumpkins make a fantastic treat for overweight dogs. You can use them as a healthier alternative to high-calorie snacks.
  • Nutrient boost: Pumpkins contain essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health. Vitamin A, for example, is excellent for your dog’s vision and immune system.
  • Hydration: Pumpkin has a high water content, helping your dog stay hydrated, especially if they’re not the biggest fans of drinking water.
  • Urinary health: Pumpkin may help prevent urinary tract infections in dogs. The extra hydration and nutrients can support a healthy urinary system.
  • Dog constipation: Due to its high fiber content, pumpkin is an excellent way to help your doggo with both low to mild levels of constipation and diarrhea because of its high fiber content.

On the other hand, if your pup is suffering from severe constipation or diarrhea, you should take them to your veterinarian immediately, as these could be signs of a more serious underlying health problem.

  • Dog diarrhea and anal Glands: Besides improving bowel movements, the high-fiber content from pumpkin can also enlarge dogs’ bowels, helping them express their anal glands naturally – this can prevent anal gland issues in the future.

What Type Of Pumpkins Can Dogs Eat?

If you’re considering the health benefits the pumpkin can have on your dog, you should also understand what type of pumpkins you can feed to your dog. Although dogs could consume pumpkin in any form, it’s best to avoid raw pumpkin.

Here are the safest forms of pumpkin to share with your doggo:

  • Cooked
  • Canned
  • Raw
  • As an ingredient in treats
  • As an extra ingredient in dog foods

Cooked Pumpkin

The safest form of pumpkin you can share with your four-legged friend is cooked pumpkin. Here are some important steps to follow when cooking pumpkins for dogs:

  1. Selection: You should choose the fresh, organic pumpkins pumpkins. Non-organic vegetables have a higher chance of carrying pesticides, a chemical dangerous for dogs.
  1. Preparation: Always wash the pumpkin thoroughly to remove any dirt (or other contaminants) that may be there. Slice up the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp.

Pro tip: You can save pumpkin seeds to roast them and use them as a snack.

  1. Cooking method: When cooking it for your pup, you can either steam or bake the pumpkin.

For steaming, chop the pumpkin into tiny, bite-sized pieces and steam until it’s tender.

When baking, cut the pumpkin into smaller chunks, place them on a baking sheet, and roast at 350°F (175°C) until it’s soft enough (about 45 minutes).

  1. Mesh/blend: To avoid choking hazards, once cooked (and cooled), you mesh or blend the pumpkin into a puree.
  1. Serving: Although pumpkin is a nutritious powerhouse and provides several health benefits, it shouldn’t be a replacement for your doggo’s regular meal. The best way to serve pumpkin to your pup is to include it in their regular meal.

Pumpkin in these forms can be an excellent food to improve your four-legged friend’s digestion and help them with diarrhea or constipation. Just remember to feed it in moderation.

Pumpkin: Nutritional Table

Pumpkin3.53 oz/100 g
Total fat0.1 g
Saturated fat0.01 g
Total carbohydrate7 g
Dietary fiber0.5 g
Sugar2.8 g
Protein1 g
Potassium340 mg
Sodium1 mg
Vitamins, minerals, etc.% daily value
Vitamin B65%
Vitamin C14%
Magnesium3%
Iron4%
Calcium2%
Total Calories26

How to Safely Share Pumpkins with Your Pup

Now that we’ve covered the important benefits, let’s talk about how to safely introduce pumpkins into your dog’s diet:

Start Small: When introducing pumpkin (or any new food) to your dog’s diet, start with small amounts and don’t feed it to them too often. Remember, new food should never be a meal, but an extra treat. By starting slowly, you can avoid potential risks and help your pup develop tolerance for new food.

Cooked Over Raw: While dogs can eat raw a pumpkin, it’s often better to feed them a cooked one. It’s easier to digest and less likely to upset their stomachs.

Plain and Simple: Avoid feeding your dog pumpkin pie or pumpkin-flavored treats with added sugars and spices. Stick to plain, unsweetened, and unseasoned pumpkin.

Portion Control: Too much pumpkin can lead to tummy pain. Depending on your dog’s size, a tablespoon to a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin per day should suffice.

Watch for Allergies: As with any new food, keep an eye out for allergic reactions. Common signs include itching, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you notice any of these, stop feeding pumpkin immediately and consult your vet.

Homemade Pumpkin Treat Recipe For Dogs

If your dog likes pumpkins and you’re looking for a way to treat your pup for Halloween, I’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick and simple recipe for dog-friendly pumpkin treats to surprise your four-legged friend:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water (add more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup powdered dry milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, and water.
  1. Gradually add in the whole wheat flour and powdered dry milk, mixing until you have a dough that’s easy to work with. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water.
  1. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  1. Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes for your dog’s treats and place them on the baking sheet.
  1. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
  1. Allow the treats to cool completely before sharing them with your four-legged friend.

Pro tip: you can also find some organic pumpkin powder. It can be an easy-to-use ingredient for treats or a healthy addition to meals.

How Much Pumpkin Should a Dog Eat?

Pumpkin can be a tasty and healthy treat for your furry friend, but the amount they can safely eat depends on their size or weight.

Dog size/weightAmount of pumpkin
Extra small dogs(less than 20lbs/9kg)Two to three teaspoons
Small dogs(20lbs/9kg ~ 30lbs/14kg)One to two tablespoons
Average dogs(30lbs/14kg ~ 50lbs/23kg)Two to three tablespoons
Large dogs(50lbs/23kg ~ 90lbs/41kg)Four to five tablespoons
Extra large(more than 90lbs/41k)¼ of cup

Remember: always consult your vet if you’re unsure about the right amount of pumpkin for your doggo, especially if they have any health conditions.

What About Pumpkin Seeds?

Now, you might be wondering about pumpkin seeds. Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds? The answer is yes but with a few precautions to keep in mind:

  • Small Portions: Pumpkin seeds are high in fat and calories, so offer them in moderation.
  • No Salt or Seasoning: Ensure the seeds are plain and free from added salt or seasonings. Too much salt can be harmful to your dog.
  • Crushed or Ground: For smaller dogs, it’s a good idea to crush or grind the seeds to prevent choking hazards.
  • Roasted Seeds: Roasting pumpkin seeds is an option, but make sure they are plain there are no oils, salt, or spices that can be harmful to your furry friend.

Vet Q&A

Is Pumpkin Safe for Dogs To Eat?

Yes, pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat. But since our four-legged friends have different digestive systems, pumpkin can be hard for them to process (especially raw pumpkin, the stem, leaves, and seeds).

If you’re giving pumpkin to your pup, always prepare it properly, and get rid of the seeds, stem, leaves, and skin. Also, consider pumpkin as a treat instead of an actual meal.

Is Pumpkin Good for Constipated Dogs?

Yes, pumpkin is good for dogs who are having digestive problems and irregular bowel movements. But remember—moderation is key.

What if My Dog Eats Too Much Pumpkin?

Although pumpkin is healthy for your dog, too much can cause some diarrhea and stomachache. In this case, if the problem continues, you should visit your vet as soon as possible.

Is Pumpkin Pie Safe for Dogs?

No, the pumpkin pie isn’t safe for dogs. Even though pumpkin is a safe treat for dogs and has several health benefits, pumpkin pies are often filled with sugar, salt, nutmeg, and other unhealthy ingredients that are toxic to our four-legged friends.

Is Any Part of a Pumpkin Toxic to Dogs?

No. But you should note that the stem and the leaves of pumpkins contain prickly hairs on their surface, which are difficult to swallow and digest.

A large piece of pumpkin stem and leaves can also cause intestinal obstruction and lead to more serious health problems. If your dog eats any of these parts and you notice symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, contact your vet immediately.

Can Dogs Lick Raw Pumpkin?

The short answer is no. Although pumpkin itself isn’t toxic to dogs, there’s always a chance your dog might swallow a piece of raw pumpkin, potentially leading to a choking hazard.

Also, raw pumpkin is hard to digest for our furry friends, so you should never give a raw pumpkin to your dog, even if they’re just licking it.