Just because it’s nearly summer doesn’t mean we can’t talk about pumpkin. This wonder-fruit is packed full of nutrients and is more than just a seasonal holiday decoration or tasty treat for humans.
In fact, pumpkin is also a great addition to your dog’s daily diet, providing Fido with countless benefits from immune support to digestive health.
Of course, not all forms of pumpkin are safe for dogs, so it’s important to do a bit of research and speak with an expert on how to incorporate pumpkin into your dog’s diet safely.
And that’s where we come in. Today’s article is all about how you can tickle our dog’s taste buds while also enhancing his health using that delicious orange fruit known as pumpkin!
What You Should Know About Pumpkin Before Your Dog Indulges
Giving your dog whole or raw pumpkin may not always be safe, but providing him with dog-approved pumpkin puree or cooked pumpkin is a great way to keep his digestive system healthy.
Pumpkin is a winter squash that primarily grows between the months of September and October. This is one of the reasons why it’s such a popular treat and decoration during Autumn.
However, pumpkin is so much more than a fruit we carve on Halloween. Did you know that pumpkin is actually native to North America and is considered one of the oldest domesticated plants?
Evidence suggests that pumpkin has been used for centuries for food, medicinal purposes, recreational uses and decoration from as early as 7,500 to 5,000 BC.
Today, pumpkin is popular in a number of recipes from your favorite seasonal Starbucks drink to Thanksgiving’s traditional pumpkin pie.
And when it comes to your health, pumpkin has even more to offer. It’s packed full of vitamins and nutrients both in its stringy pulp and in it’s plethora of seeds.
For both people and pets, pumpkin can play an important role in dietary health, which is why it’s great that you’re here looking into pumpkin for dogs.
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and is loaded with vitamins A, C and E, which help promote skin, coat, eye and joint health for your dog. Pumpkin is also filled with iron and potassium, which are essential for your dog’s brain and heart health.
Still, pumpkin isn’t right for every dog, and sometimes giving pumpkin to dogs should only be done so in moderation.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at which dogs shouldn’t indulge in this tasty treat.
Dogs That Shouldn’t Indulge In Pumpkin Before Speaking To A Vet:
- Dogs with diabetes
- Dogs with chronic kidney disease
- Dogs with severe food sensitivities
The reason you should speak with your vet if your dog is especially sensitive to foods or suffers from diabetes or kidney issues is because pumpkin is rich in natural sugars and is high in calories, which can exacerbate certain health issues in dogs with the above conditions.
For the most part, though, pumpkin for dogs is safe and even beneficial when given in moderation or under supervision.
Still, it’s important to remember that your vet is your best resource for foods that are safe and healthy for your unique dog, especially if your dog suffers from chronic illnesses or food sensitivities.
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all pumpkin combinations are good or safe for your dog. Along with ensuring you get quality pumpkin products for your pup, it’s also wise to know which pumpkin products and recipes to avoid.
Pumpkin For Dogs – Which Kinds Of Pumpkin To Avoid
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Lattes
- Pumpkin Pie Filling
- Pumpkin With Added Sugar
- Large Amounts Of Raw Pumpkin Pulp
- Pumpkin Stem
- Pumpkin Skin
- Rotten or old pumpkin (like a pumpkin that has been sitting on your porch for a few weeks after Halloween)
Which Kind Of Pumpkin For Dogs Is Best?
- Unseasoned Pumpkin
- Cooked Pumpkin
- Organic Pumpkin Puree
- Pumpkin Pulp
- Cooked Pumpkin Seeds
- Moderate Amounts of Cooked or Uncooked Pumpkin Pulp
Remember that any pumpkin for dogs should be free of added sugars, spices or seasonings. And while it’s not essential that your dog eats only organic pumpkin for dogs, most experts agree that organic or natural pumpkin products are going to be less risky when it comes to adding this fruit to your dog’s diet.
Pumpkin Isn’t Just A Tasty Treat – How Pumpkin Helps Sooth Doggy Health Issues
Pumpkin can be delicious, but it can also help ease digestive issues for your dog.
Dogs love pumpkin, which is great news because this delightful snack is more than just a sweet treat you can add into your dog’s daily meals. Pumpkin is also loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients, as we mentioned above.
More importantly, pumpkin can aid in relieving a number of health problems for your dog like digestive issues and immune support.
Here are all the ways pumpkin can help your dog live a happier, healthier life:
- Pumpkin can help ease doggy diarrhea
- Pumpkin can help relieve constipation
- Pumpkin is rich in vital nutrients dogs need to thrive
- Pumpkin helps promote eye health
- Pumpkin can help boost your dog’s immune system
- Pumpkin can serve as a natural form of parasite control and prevention
- Pumpkin seeds, when given in moderation, can help promote urinary health
- In moderation, pumpkin can aid in healthy weightloss in obese dogs
- Pumpkin is a good source of water which can help rehydrate dehydrated dogs
- Pumpkin can help promote a healthy skin and coat
Who knew pumpkin for dogs had so many benefits? And now that we know how much your dog can benefit from eating pumpkin, let’s take a look at some of the best pumpkin products for dogs on the market.
How To Pick The Best Pumpkin For Dogs
Pumpkin is widely available, but it’s important to pick products that are specifically designed for doggy consumption.
There are a few ways you can provide your dog with pumpkin, but the form that works best for your dog will depend on his specific taste and his overall health. Not all dogs are going to want to eat raw pumpkin pulp, while others will prefer it no other way.
Some dogs enjoy pumpkin cooked, while others only like to snack on the seeds. Luckily, there are a few ways you can go about adding pumpkin into your dog’s diet.
Those ways include:
Pumpkin puree is perhaps the most popular form of pumpkin for dogs available. It’s also the easiest to come by, as it’s available in stores year-round. You can find pumpkin puree for dogs specifically at most pet retail stores, but you can also find it in organic and unseasoned forms in the supermarket.
Pumpkin puree is the easiest form of pumpkin for dogs because it comes pre-made in a can. You can simply scoop out the desired amount of pumpkin and add it to your dog’s food dish, or you can look up some recipes (which we’ve listed below) on how to make pumpkin dog treats or snacks at home using unseasoned pumpkin puree as well.
Raw Pumpkin Pulp
If it’s pumpkin season, you can try offering your dog bits of raw pumpkin pulp on the spot. Of course, avoid rotten or old pumpkin, as we discussed above. If you have a fresh pumpkin that you’re using for a holiday decoration, consider scooping out a small amount of the pulp and offering it to your dog.
For the most part, raw pumpkin is perfectly safe for your dog. However, raw pumpkin pulp can be harder for some dogs to digest than pumpkin puree or cooked pumpkin, so it’s best to only offer your dog a very small amount of raw pumpkin pulp in one sitting.
Pumpkin seeds are another source of pumpkin for dogs that is loaded with even more vitamins and nutrients. They are rich in cucurbits, which is an amino acid that can help naturally reduce parasites in your dog’s intestines.
These seeds can also help promote urinary tract health, as we mentioned above, by aiding in incontinence.
You can give your dog pumpkin seeds both raw and cooked, though it’s important to remember that these seeds can be difficult to chew and could be a choking hazard for some dogs.
You can consider grinding pumpkin seeds and adding them to your dog’s food bowl, or cooking them and breaking them apart into smaller pieces to make eating them easier to digest for smaller dogs.
Pre-Made Pumpkin Treats
Along with obtaining the above forms of pumpkin for dogs, you also have the option of buying premade pumpkin treats. These treats come in natural and organic forms, and some include only one ingredient like pure pumpkin while others are made with apples, bananas, and more.
Let’s take a look at some of our favorite products when it comes to pumpkin for dogs below.
Native Pet Organic Pumpkin For Dogs
First on our list is an organic product by the Native Pet Store. This pumpkin for dogs is made with pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. This is a dry powder mix that you can combine with water to make a dog-safe pumpkin puree. You can also add it to your dog’s food or make tasty treats out of it with our pumpkin for dogs recipes below.
Since this product is designed specifically for dogs, it is extra safe for doggy consumption. We also like that it is organic and that the powder form makes for a great meal topper over dried kibble or wet food. Of course, be sure to read the directions and only give your dog the recommended amount.
Nummy Tum Tum Pure Pumpkin
If you would prefer to give your dog pure pumpkin for dogs, we recommend this organic pure pumpkin for dogs by Nummy Tum Tum. Again, because this product is specifically designed for canine consumption, it’s safe for dogs to eat and includes directions on the back for how much you should give your dog based on his weight.
You can give this pumpkin to your dog as is or you can add it to recipes, make treats with it, or use it as a meal topper.
Depending on your dog’s needs and if he is suffering from diarrhea or constipation, you may give your dog more or less based on the instructions.
Fuitables Baked Pumpkin Treats
While we do have a few delightful pumpkin treat recipes below, we understand that not everyone has the time or desire to make their own dog treats. Enter Fruitables Baked Pumpkin Treats for Dogs!
These treats are made with organic pumpkin and bananas and are baked without the use of additives, fillers, wheat or byproducts. The treats are loaded with vitamins and minerals that come not only from the pumpkin for dogs, but also from the bananas and cinnamon added to the treats for flavor and nutrients.
On the other hand, if your dog isn’t a fan of pumpkin for dogs or pumpkin and banana, these treats also come in other superfood combinations like bacon and apple, pumpkin and apple, pumpkin and blueberry, sweet potato and pecan and more.
Portland Pet Food Company Pumpkin Biscuits
Another fun and simple way to introduce pumpkin into your dog’s diet is to give them to him in the form of doggy biscuits. These biscuits are made with all natural pumpkin and other human-grade ingredients. They are also grain free and gluten free and are shaped like adorable doggy bones.
The ingredients are all natural and they are also free of preservatives. Best of all, these treats are loaded with all the good benefits dogs can get from pumpkin like vitamins A, E and C as well as iron and calcium.
These treats are also ideal for dogs with allergies or food sensitivities.
Pumpkin Slices For Dogs
Lastly we have some pure pumpkin slice treats. When it comes to pumpkin for dogs, it doesn’t get much more simple than this. These dog treats, made by the Wholesome Pride Store, are 100% natural and made with only one ingredient – PUMPKIN!
They contain dried pumpkin slices that can help promote healthy digestion, skin and coat health, eye health, immune health and more.
Best of all, these treats are easy to digest and fun to eat. They are safe for dogs in all life stages, though remember that it’s important to speak with your vet before giving your dog pumpkin if your dog struggles with health issues like diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Also remember that pumpkin can be high in calories, so always give pumpkin treats to dogs in moderation, no matter what form you are providing it.
Homemade Pumpkin For Dogs – Our Favorite Recipes
There are a few fun ways you can incorporate pumpkin into your dog’s diet.
No Bake Frozen Pumpkin Treats Recipe – Perfect For Summer!
You Will Need:
- 1 Cup Of Unseasoned Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
- 1 Ice Tray
- 1 Bowl For Mixing
Combine the pumpkin puree and the yogurt in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Then separate the mixture into the ice tray and freeze them overnight. Once the treats are frozen, you can store them in a baggy in the freezer for a fun, healthy treat on a hot summer day.
Frozen pumpkin treats are also a great doggy treat for puppies who are teething, as the taste will help keep them busy and the frozen pumpkin will help soothe their teeth and gums.
Banana And Pumpkin Dog Treats
You Will Need:
- 2 Eggs
- 3 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Mashed Banana
- 1 Cup of Unseasoned Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Mixing Bowl
- 1 Rolling pin
- 1 Baking Sheet
- An Oven
- A Butter Knife or Cookie Cutter For Shaping
Preheat your oven to 350℉. Then, in your bowl, mix your eggs, pumpkin and mashed banana. Add your flour and combine everything until it is mixed thoroughly and is no longer lumpy.
Dust your clean countertop with extra flour and pour your newly made mixture onto the counter. Roll the dough flat with your rolling pin and then cut treats into any shape desired using a cookie cutter or a knife.
Put your treats on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350℉ for 20 minutes. Be sure to let the treats cool completely before serving them to your dog. Store extra treats in a baggy on the counter at room temperature.
Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats
You Will Need:
- 1 Cup of Unseasoned Pumpkin Puree
- 2 Cups of Flour
- ½ Cup of Dog-Safe Peanut Butter (Free of Xylitol)
- An Oven
- A Large Mixing Bowl
- A Cookie Cutter or Knife For Shaping
- 1 Rolling Pin
- A Baking Sheet
Preheat your oven to 375°F and then go about mixing the peanut butter and pumpkin in your bowl. Add in the flour and stir until the combination is free of lumps. Then dust your clean counter with leftover flour and roll your dough out using your rolling pin.
Use your cookie cutter or a knife to make cute shapes in the dough, and place the shapes on your ungreased baking sheet.
Bake the treats in your oven at 375℉ for about 10 to12 minutes, and then allow them to cool completely before serving them to your dog. Store extra treats in a baggy on your counter at room temperature.
Supplies For Making Pumpkin For Dogs At Home
If you’re looking for some cute additions to your pantry to help make your homemade doggy treats for the festive, you’ll want to check out these fun products below.
Dog Treat Cookie Cutters
Making your dog treats yourself is fun, but it’s even more fun when you can get creative with the shapes and designs. Let’s be honest – your dog doesn’t care if his treats are in the shape of a glob or a bone, so these cute cookie cutters are mostly for us.
Still, that doesn’t make them any less adorable or worth investing in. The above cookie cutters for your homemade pumpkin for dogs doggy treats are made with stainless steel material and come in different sizes and shapes.
Let the fun begin!
Dog Treat Molds
Since one of our dog treat recipes above consists of freezing the pumpkin for dogs, we recommend investing in this silicone dog treat mold.
It’s made of dog-safe material and freezes the doggy treats in just the right shape and size for ideal chewing and snacking. This mold is also easy to clean and simple to store.
How Much Pumpkin Can I Give My Dog A Day?
It’s important to only give your dog pumpkin in moderation, as too much pumpkin can cause digestive upset and other issues.
In moderation, pumpkin for dogs is not only safe but it can be highly beneficial. However, too much pumpkin in your dog’s diet can have adverse effects and even cause serious health issues.
Avoid letting your dog overindulge in pumpkin to reduce potential health issues like digestive problems. While your veterinarian is your best source of information when it comes to how much pumpkin for dogs is safe, we do have some basic information as to how much pumpkin dogs can consume based on the type of pumpkin you’re offering and your dog’s body weight.
When Giving Your Dog Pumpkin Seeds
Remember that while pumpkin seeds can promote a natural form of pest control and prevention and may help aid in urinary tract health for your dog, they can also cause problems if eaten in large doses.
For best results when feeding your dog pumpkin seeds, we recommend giving them raw or grinding them down.
Provide your dog with no more than one-quarter of a teaspoon a day per ten pounds of weight.
If your dog currently has parasites, you can provide your dog with the same dose above twice a day daily until the parasites have cleared, according to East Side Animal Hospital.
That said, pumpkin seeds should not be used to replace traditional parasite control and prevention and your vet should be your first resource for how to keep your dog safe from parasites.
When Giving Your Dog Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin puree can be given to your dog daily to provide a number of health benefits. If you’re planning on giving a healthy dog pumpkin puree daily, experts recommend offering just one teaspoon per every 10 pounds of body weight of canned or cooked pumpkin puree to your dog’s food a day.
If you’re using pumpkin puree to aid in digestive issues like diarrhea, the American Kennel Club recommends providing your dog with 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin a day, but they implore you to begin small, especially if your dog is smaller.
The same dosage goes for dogs suffering from constipation as well. As we mentioned, start small and monitor your dog to ensure he is digesting the pumpkin for dogs properly.
Again, if your dog has chronic illnesses like diabetes or kidney disease, refrain from giving your dog pumpkin before consulting your veterinarian.
When Giving Your Dog Raw Pumpkin Pulp
Sources vary on their idea of how much raw pumpkin for dogs is safe. For the most part, the consensus seems to be that cooked or pureed pumpkin is best when it comes to Fido’s health.
However, your dog can consume small amounts of raw pumpkin safely, so long as he does not overindulge. We recommend only offering your dog no more than a teaspoon of raw pumpkin, and then perhaps cooking the rest before offering him more.
Pumpkin For Dogs – Weighing The Pros and Cons
In moderation, pumpkin can be a healthy and tasty treat for a number of dogs. Of course, remember that pumpkin is not right for every dog.
Pumpkin for dogs certainly does have its benefits, but it’s important to remember that, like all things, too much pumpkin can cause problems or even worsen problems you’re trying to fix.
Before you decide if pumpkin for dogs is best for you, it’s important to consider the pros and cons. And, as we’ve mentioned a few times in this article, it’s also important to consult your veterinarian before adding pumpkin to your dog’s daily diet.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of pumpkin for dogs.
Pros Of Pumpkin For Dogs
- Pumpkin is loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients
- It can help aid in parasite control and urinary tract health
- Pumpkin can help relieve constipation and diarrhea
- It can promote skin, coat, bones, heart and brain health
- Pumpkin is tasty and most dogs love it
- Pumpkin is affordable and easy to find
- It is rich in soluble fiber and a great source of water
Cons Of Pumpkin For Dogs
- Overindulgence in pumpkin can exasperate digestive issues due to too much fiber
- Dogs with chronic illnesses could have trouble consuming pumpkin
- Some store-bought canned pumpkin can be high in sodium
- You must be careful to avoid canned pumpkin with seasonings, sugars and additives
- Pumpkin is high in calories and can lead to weight gain and may not be ideal for dogs with obesity
So, Should Your Indulge in Pumpkin For Dogs?
For the most part, both pet parents and experts agree that pumpkin for dogs has more pros than cons. When given in the proper amounts and when provided to your dog for the right reasons, pumpkins for dogs can help aid in their overall health and happiness.
However, not all dogs are ideal candidates for eating pumpkin. It’s important to speak with your vet if you’re not sure about pumpkin for dogs. It’s also just as important to ensure you find quality products that are safe for dogs to consume, like canned pumpkin puree or raw pumpkin that is free of any additives, sweeteners, salts or seasonings.
If you’re ever in doubt about pumpkin for dogs, it’s safest to consult an expert before offering your dog this delightful treat.
So, what do you think about pumpkin for dogs? Do you have other fun recipes or ideas on how to cook pumpkin for dogs that we may have missed? Share your thoughts with us and our readers in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.