Pumpkin and Your Pets

It's almost that time of year! Pumpkin home decor and treats are a favorite during the fall season for humans. But, pumpkins aren’t just for us! Canned pumpkin and pumpkin pet treats can be a great health benefit and a tasty treat for our furry family members, too! It's also super easy to incorporate in their treats and food. Important note: If you want to try using pumpkin to improve the health of your dog or cat, remember to speak with your trusted veterinarian first. Pumpkin may not be for all pets. Check out all the health benefits and how to incorporate pumpkin in your pets diet below!


Benefits of Pumpkin for Pets


1) Good Source of Fiber


Pumpkin contains lots of fiber which may help resolve:

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Anal gland problems

  • Hairballs (for cats)

2) Lots of Nutrients


Pumpkin is also full of other beneficial nutrients for your pet such as:

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin E

  • Zinc

  • Beta-carotene

  • Iron

  • Potassium

These powerful nutrients may benefit your pets:

  • Immune system

  • Vision

  • Skin

  • Coat

3) Source of Prebiotic's


Optimal digestion requires good gut bacteria. However, those beneficial bugs need to be fed. You can do this by including prebiotic foods, such as pumpkin, in your pets diet. This can be done through pumpkin treats and using plain pumpkin as an addition mixed in with their usual meals.


4) May Aid in Pet Weight Loss


Does your pet need to lose a few pounds? Pumpkin may help! As you decrease your pets portion sizes, the fiber in the pumpkin may help fill up your furry friend, which means they will will eat less and still feel satisfied. If you try this, seek guidance from your veterinarian. Pumpkin may not be for every pet! You also want to make sure all of your pets nutritional needs are being met.


How to Feed Pumpkin to Your Pet


1) Keep It Plain


Whether you buy canned or a whole pumpkin, keep it plain. Adding spices, other ingredients, or using pumpkin pie filling may be dangerous for your pet. You can mix plain, canned pumpkin into their usual meal or give it by itself.


2) Prepare It Yourself


If you are a DIY kind of person, you can buy a whole pumpkin and cook it. Here are two cooking methods to choose from:

  • Roasting – Slice the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and stringy flesh. Place the two halves on a baking sheet, cut side down. After cooking, separate the flesh from the skin.

  • Boiling – Remove the skin, stem, pulp, and seeds. Cut the pumpkin into small chunks and boil it in water until it’s soft.

Puree the cooked pumpkin and store it in the fridge. It will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer. If that all sounds like too much work, don’t worry. You can buy canned pumpkin from the store!


3) Start With Less and Gradually Build Up


Start with a small serving of pumpkin. If your four-legged friend seems to tolerate that amount, give your pet a bit more next time. Keep increasing the amount until you reach a full serving size. How much should you work up to? That depends on your pet’s size, but a full serving could be anywhere from a few teaspoons to several tablespoons. If you need help figuring out your pet’s ideal serving size, ask your veterinarian.


4) Make Pumpkin Treats


Pumpkin treats are so much fun to make! But, they do require additional pet safe ingredients. Keep in mind, not everything that is safe for dogs is okay for cats. When searching for recipes, check that the recipe has been created for your specific type of pet.


Happy Fall Y'all!


Pumpkin offers some pretty awesome health benefits for pets and can be easy to incorporate in their diet. Why not have your pet in on the fall fun and try giving some to your furry family member? Here are some of our favorite pumpkin treat recipes for dogs AND cats you can make right at home with your pet - Happy baking and happy Fall!