5 Health Benefits of Adding Pumpkin to Your Dog’s Diet

Ah, October! Here in the northeast, it is truly one of the most beautiful seasons as trees become emblazoned with leaves changing from bright orange to sunny yellow and apple red!

5 Health Benefits of Adding Pumpkin to Your Dog's Diet

There is a crispness in the air that puts pep not only our steps, but our dog’s as well! Along with the drop in temperatures, the season is ripe for fun with apple and pumpkin picking at area farms! And who hasn’t seen the “pumpkin is the spice of life” on t-shirts and in everything from coffees, teas, and cereals (for humans) to delectable treats for both people and pooches alike.

I know many of us have already heard about how pumpkin is an excellent nutritious food addition for our dogs for so many health reasons, and here at FiveSibes, it is a staple. With one Siberian Husky that has periodic bouts of gastroenteritis, as well as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and another Husky who had gained quite a bit of weight (20 pounds) due to effects of Canine Epilepsy medication, I am quite familiar with the velvety orange miracle food!

First, let me emphasize you want only 100% pure pumpkin. You can either pureé the cooked fresh squash yourself, or buy the canned version. Just be sure you do not have a can of pumpkin pie filling. That is full of sugar and spice and things not nice for a dog. To be absolutely sure, check the label; there should only be one ingredient listed—pumpkin.

To recap pumpkin’s goodness, let’s roll out that jack o’lantern for a closer look-see at its health benefits:

  1. Pure pumpkin is magical at controlling both, constipation and diarrhea in dogs. Whether mixed in with boiled chicken and rice, or given off a spoon, it is full of good stuff! It has potassium, vitamins, and is a good source of soluble fiber, which not only helps to ease angry intestines when a dog is sick with gastrointestinal (GI) issues, it also helps to slow down diarrhea, and alleviate some dehydration after diarrhea. Check with your dog’s veterinarian first to determine the correct amount to give.
  1. Pumpkin is also recommended by some veterinarians to aid in preventing those nasty anal gland flare-ups (you know, when your dog scooches across the floor, and/or you catch a whiff of something skunky coming from his/her derrière). Pumpkin helps to maintain a healthy stool consistency, which in turn helps maintain healthy anal glands.
  1. Pure pumpkin is sodium free. No one wants added salt or sodium in their diet, and we shouldn’t give it to our dogs, either. And if you have an Epi-dog (epileptic dog), it’s especially important to keep an eye on the salt intake as it can interfere with the levels of bromide medications, such as Potassium Bromide, and that interference can trigger seizures.
  1. Pumpkin treats are a healthy and tasty snack for your dog that you can easily whip up at home. A delicious simple recipe is my FiveSibes “Maple Pumpkin Cookies.” (Note: If your dog’s diet needs to be gluten-free, you can substitute other types of flour, such as oat).
  1. Did you know that there is an actual “pumpkin diet” for dogs? Pumpkin is low fat and low in calories, which is excellent for dogs that may need to lose a few pounds, like my one Husky that had gained 20 pounds due to a voracious appetite caused by his meds. By adding some pumpkin in with the dog food, the healthy filler helps to satiate them. Just start off gradually, as too much too soon can send your dog running for the potty! Before starting the diet, always check with your dog’s veterinarian first, and then discuss the correct ratio of pumpkin to food and length of time your dog should be on the plan.

So go enjoy all the tastiness of “pumpkin everything” this autumn, and know that sharing some yummy healthy pumpkin with your dog is certainly no trick, but rather a very welcomed treat! Bon(e) Appetit!

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dorothy wills-rafteryDorothy Wills-Raftery

Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the international FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of “The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.” Named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, Dorothy is a 5-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2016 for her writing. An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home­ with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram (@FiveSibesMom).

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33 Responses to 5 Health Benefits of Adding Pumpkin to Your Dog’s Diet

  1. Mary Nielsen says:

    So much useful info in here! I didn’t know that there is a specific pumpkin diet so to speak. I mean I did know that pumpkin is used to help dogs with their tummy issues but I didn’t know that there is a complete diet about it?

    Anyhow pumpkin is a wonderful addition to a pets diet and you should surprise them while we have pumpkin in our shops during autumn :D

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thank you, Mary! I am glad you found it helpful! The “Pumpkin Diet” along with walking, truly helped my Gibson – he was able to shed 20 pounds (the gain was from his meds) over a 2-year period. :-)

  2. Kamira Gayle says:

    I love this time of year too. Crisp cool air, changing colors of the leaves on the trees and pumpkin spice and everything nice! I’ve heard of pumpkin benefits for constipation relief in pets, however had no idea about the pumpkin diet! Who knew?!

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Isn’t it just the best time of year?! Kamira, I think I could have it be Autumn all year round! :-) I think one of the reasons the pumpkin diet works so well is that it is so tasty and “nice!”

  3. I’ve used pumpkin as a treat in various incarnations (biscuits, cookies, etc.) for my dog Soldier. He loves the slightly sweet taste and I love giving him something healthy. I had no idea it helped with anal gland problems. Good to know, as I’ve had dogs in the past who developed impacted glands. Treating them is NOT fun for anyone involved.

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      I share that love of pumpkin treats with our dogs! Mmmm. Ah, those anal glands. People don’t seem to discuss it much, but when you’ve had dogs with those bottom issues, it’s no fun for anyone. Pumpkin really helps!

  4. Thanks for sharing so many good reasons to give 100% pumpkin to your dog. We give Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe pumpkin as a topper to her food once in a while. I’ll be she’d love pumpkin treats too!

  5. This is our favorite time of year mostly because of apples and pumpkins. Pumpkin has saved my Goldens from many upset tummies. I always make sure to have a can of pure pumpkin in the cabinet for those specific times!

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      We so love this time of year! Do you remember the pumpkin shortage a few years ago due to weather? I was hard pressed to find a can anywhere…it was like orange “gold” to find some. I now buy it in bulk!

  6. Rachel says:

    This is great info on pumpkin for dogs! And interesting, I wasn’t aware that pumpkin helps with gland flare-ups. We do give our dog pumpkin treats and pure pumpkin every once in a while.

  7. Cathy says:

    We (both human and doggy) love pumpkin at our house. And I have a Frenchie granddog with a densitive stomach who has pumpkin almost daily to help him with his tummy issues.

  8. Kate says:

    Pumpkin season is definitely here. Thanks for outlining the benefits of pumpkin. I have used it before to help with constipation in pets with pretty good success. And your maple pumpkin treat sounds great!

  9. Ruth Epstein says:

    Layla eats the freeze dried food which has pumpkin in it so she gets it on a daily basis and I find for her it is great. She is not mad about pumpkin treats LOL but I love pumpkin :) Great Post

  10. Pumpkin is one of my absolute favorites for my dogs. High in fiber, low in fat, it binds their stool and they LOVE the taste. I always recommend it.

  11. Dash Kitten says:

    I know that some of our cat buddies swear by pumpkin and love it. Mum tried it on Dusty. He liked it sometimes, if he felt like it, maybe, on some days * sigh * It DID do him good though!

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Yes, it is good for cats, too. Some pets balk at first (while others lick it right up)…maybe Dusty is like one of my Huskies and when mixed in with favorite food, gobbles it right up?! Now, they all love it! High furry five to Mum!

  12. Beth says:

    My dogs (and cat) enjoy pumpkin! All of them have pretty stable digestive systems, but it is good to know that pumpkin might help offset a minor issue.

  13. Yes! Great post. The boys’ are reviewing a pumpkin product this month, we LOVE pumpkin.

  14. My mom’s dog loves pumpkin! It’s a good thing, because he needs it. Pumpkin isn’t our favorite.

  15. Wow, I didn’t know pumpkin was so healthy and that dogs loved it! I’ll have to look for pumpkin flavored treats or maybe add some to their dog food.

  16. Debbie says:

    Pumpkin is such a miracle food for dog digestion. We have had it come to the rescue so many times, especially with new fosters who came to us with tummy issues after eating crappy shelter food or whatever they could find on the streets. Great article

  17. Jana Rade says:

    Pumpkin is loaded with nutrition and fiber. Interestingly, Jasmine didn’t do well with it; she didn’t do well with any orange vegetables. So we were using other vegetables and psyllium husk when we needed to add fiber.

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