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- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
As we enter into the Fall, pumpkin is everywhere. We find it in our coffee drinks, favorite treats, and on every doorstep. Most recently, pumpkin is showing up in pet treats and food. We did the research to learn why canned pumpkin has become so popular for dogs and cats, ways to serve it, and how much is too much.
The Health Pros and Cons of Canned Pumpkin
Some Veterinarians recommend serving dogs and cats pure pumpkin when the additional fiber is needed. As Dr. Nancy Kay, DVM, writes, pumpkin may help to combat constipation, diarrhea, and anal gland problems in dogs and cats. However, as Lisa M. Freeman, DVM and veterinary nutritionist explains, dogs in need of a true high fiber therapeutic diet aren’t likely to benefit from pumpkin. Before adding any fiber or supplements to your pet’s diet, always consult with your vet.
Pumpkin is packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, which are helpful to support the immune system. The zinc in pumpkin may help to improve skin and coat. Incorporating pumpkin can provide a healthy boost.
If your dog or cat needs to lose a little weight, canned pumpkin may help. It adds a bit of bulk to your pet’s diet to keep them feeling full, even if their food portions are cut back. Don’t try this without consulting your veterinarian first, however.
Serving Canned Pumpkin to Your Pets
Most cats and dogs prefer canned pumpkin mixed into their meal, while some will happily eat it off the spoon. Cats, in particular, are likely to prefer pumpkin mixed directly into fragrant wet food.
To determine the right amount of pumpkin to give your cat or dog, start by adding one tablespoon of pumpkin to each meal to provide it as a supplement. It is best to start with small amounts when introducing it to your pet.
Remember that too much fiber can cause more harm than help. Be sure to check with your vet before you give pumpkin to your dog or cat, and again, start small.
Best Canned Pumpkin for Pets
It is best to purchase a pure, plain canned pumpkin for your dog or cat. Be sure there are no spices, especially cinnamon, which is commonly found in pumpkin pie spice. Cinnamon is dangerous to dogs.
You can find pure, plain canned pumpkin year-round at most groceries, online, and even in some pet stores. You can be confident that the canned pumpkin sold in pet stores is safe for your cat or dog.
Of course, there is always the option of making canned pumpkin yourself. Purchase a whole, organic pumpkin, cut it in half, remove the seeds and pulp, and bake the pumpkin. Don’t forget to set the seeds aside for some homemade roasted pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin Dog Treat Recipes
Pumpkin is an ideal ingredient in DIY dog treats. At Rover HQ, we’ve created and tested many such recipes for our resident dogs, who love them. Note: these treats are best for dogs (not cats).
Check out some more of our favorite DIY pumpkin dog treat options:
- Dog-friendly pumpkin cupcakes
- Pumpkin pie dog cookies
- Pumpkin spice dog treats
- Coco-nutter pumpkin dog cookies
- Peanut butter and pumpkin dog treats
Pumpkin Safety Concerns to Your Pets
We all love Jack-o-lanterns and dogs and cats are fascinated by these new additions to your doorstep. The problem is that when Jack-o-lanterns sit outside for a long time, they can develop dangerous bacteria that may be harmful to your cat or dog. Be sure to watch that your dog or cat does not start snacking on the Jack-o-lantern.
As mentioned, spices and sugars are not safe for pets. Be sure to keep pies and other pumpkin treats that contain spices and sugars away from your dog or cat. If you are nervous about your dog finding these human pumpkin treats during holiday festivities, consider using Rover doggy daycare so your dog can have fun in a safe place while you celebrate.
Pumpkin is a superfood that offers benefits to cats, dogs, and humans. It is easy to incorporate pure pumpkin into many dog and cat treats and food. Canned pumpkin is a delicious and safe source of fiber and vitamins for pets, just be sure it is pure and plain.
Although pumpkin is a great way to provide your pet with some comfort and ease their symptoms, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t replace the expertise of a veterinarian. When in doubt, consult a veterinarian to see if these symptoms are caused by an underlying issue.