Pumpkin is a staple for many people these days, especially those who enjoy pumpkin pie! Since many dog friendly households keep pumpkins in one form or another, it’s no surprise you might want to know if they’re bad for dogs. Can dogs eat pumpkin? Is it bad for them? Should you keep it away from your pooch?
To save those who want to skim read an answer… yes, dogs can eat pumpkin.
Pumpkin contains a range of nutrients beneficial to dogs, but only if it’s fresh or canned without salt, sugar or sweeteners.
Additionally, not all parts of the pumpkin are good for dogs.
In this post I’m going to provide a detailed guide to pumpkin and your dog. By the end of it, you should have a clear idea about the types and parts of the pumpkin dogs can eat and which they can’t.
Table of Contents
- Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?
- Is Pumpkin Good for Dogs?
- What About Raw Pumpkin?
- Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Skin?
- What About Pumpkin Seeds?
- Can Dogs Eat Canned Pumpkin?
- What About Pumpkin Stems?
- How Do You Prepare Pumpkin for Your Dog?
- Related Posts
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?
As stated above, dogs can eat pumpkin but it really does depends how it’s prepared. For the most part, it’s the pumpkin flesh that dogs can eat, and that can be raw or cooked… though cooked is likely easier to digest.
The flesh is packed with nutrients and so pumpkin can be provided to your dog as a healthy and tasty snack.
However, if you’re going to let your dog eat pumpkin, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers.
Firstly, you have to be careful not to allow your dog to eat pumpkin skin. The skin of pumpkins is tough and hard to digest. As a consequence, it can be a choking hazard or cause a digestive blockage.
The stems and leaves of pumpkins have prickly hairs, which can irritate the stomach and cause digestive upset.
Some recipes containing pumpkin, like pumpkin pie for example, will also be high in sugar and salt. Allowing your dog to eat a diet high in sugar and salt is never a good thing given the myriad health risks they pose over the long term.
Finally, You should never let your dog eat commercially prepared foods containing pumpkin unless you’re sure they don’t contain sweeteners dangerous to dogs. Some sweeteners, such as xylitol, are highly toxic to dogs and must be avoided.
One last thing to note is that although dogs can eat pumpkin, it doesn’t mean that you should then make it available whenever you like. Even healthy food can be unhealthy if consumed in excess.
That said, a little pumpkin in your dog’s diet can most certainly deliver a nutritious boost and supplement a healthy diet.
Find out more about the foods dogs can, can’t or shouldn’t eat.
Is Pumpkin Good for Dogs?
The flesh of pumpkin is an extremely healthy food as it’s high in fibre. Fibre is important in a dog’s diet as it helps to create a healthy environment in the digestive system
Fibre is a prebiotic: prebiotics help to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s intestine. Additionally, fibre adds bulk to a dog’s stool, meaning it can poop more easily.
In addition to fibre, pumpkin also contains a number of important vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
But that’s not all…
Pumpkin Nutritional Information
Here is an abridged guide to the nutrients 100g of pumpkin flesh provides, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
|Total lipid (fat)
Is Pumpkin Bad for Dogs?
As I’ve touched upon, Pumpkin can be bad for dogs. Aside from the downsides I’ve referenced, there are other ways in which pumpkin can be bad for dogs.
Pumpkin is high in fibre and we know that fibre is important for a healthy digestive system. But a diet that’s too high in fibre can be bad for dogs.
An excess of fibre can cause gas and constipation. Furthermore, an excess of fibre can inhibit your dog’s ability to absorb protein, vitamins and minerals. This can result in nutrient deficiency.
The majority of your dog’s daily calorific intake should come from a high-quality, balanced dog food that’s high in protein (we feed our Whippet Wellness CORE Ocean Dog Food Dry Grain Free).
Treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake, according to my veterinarian. Letting you dog eat pumpkin in excess of this is a bad precedent to set… one that risks canine obesity.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Pumpkin?
Yes, dogs can eat raw pumpkin flesh or cooked pumpkin. Raw pumpkin flesh is an extremely healthy option to give to your dog as a treat, though it’s probably slightly harder to digest than cooked pumpkin.
However, don’t feed your dog the skin…
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Skin?
No, you should not let your dog eat pumpkin skin as it’s hard to break up properly by chewing and it’s also difficult to digest.
Additionally, pumpkin skin could be either a choking hazard or end up blocking the digestive system.
If you’re going to give your dog pumpkin to eat, make sure your remove the skin first.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds
Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin seeds, though roasted seeds will likely have a better flavour and an appealing crunch.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with energy, fibre and nutrients, with every 100g of roasted seeds containing:
- 53.8g carbohydrate
- 18.6g of protein
- 18.4g of fibre
- 19.4g of fat
Pumpkin seeds also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zing, among other micronutrients.
Do remember though that the seeds are higher in fat than pumpkin flesh, so use them sparingly!
Can Dogs Eat Canned Pumpkin?
This is a maybe.
Dogs can eat canned pumpkin, but only if it’s plain pumpkin and not flavoured with salt, sugar, sweeteners like xylitol, nutmeg or garlic. These flavourings may make your dog unwell.
Do for example, you shouldn’t you let your dog eat canned pumpkin pie filling, since it will be flavoured with ingredients that can be harmful to dogs.
Find out more about foods that are harmful to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Stems & Leaves?
No, dogs shouldn’t eat pumpkin stems or leaves. Pumpkin stems and leaves have small prickle-like hairs that may be harmful if your dog eats them.
Stick to the pumpkin flesh and seeds!
How Do You Prepare Pumpkin for Your Dog?
While most dogs can eat pumpkin, there will be some for whom pumpkin is not suitable. Just like us humans, dogs can be sensitive to some foods. Sensitivity might result in a stomach upset or it could be a full blown allergic reaction.
If you’re going to introduce pumpkin into your dog’s diet, do so gradually. Try feeding your dog small pieces of pumpkin and see if it results in any signs of digestive upset or allergies.
Don’t allow your dog to eat a huge portion of pumpkin if it’s never tried any before, as you don’t know how it’s going to react.
As I’ve mentioned above, dogs can eat raw or cooked pumpkin, but cooked pumpkin will likely be easier for a dog to digest. Just peel the pumpkin skin, scoop out the slimy centre and seeds and cut the flesh into cubes.
Then you can roast the pumpkin cubes as they are… don’t add salt!
You can also include pumpkin in homemade treats… I have a great gluten free and vegan recipe here: Carrot, Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Cake.
Dogs can eat pumpkin, though only the pumpkin flesh and seeds are edible, while the leaves and stem should be avoided.
Some dogs can be more sensitive to certain foods, so it’s always wise to speak with your veterinarian before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet.
Furthermore, if you’re giving your dog pumpkin for the first time, just let it eat a small amount and see how it reacts.
As a dog owner, the most important dietary consideration is to ensure your dog eats a healthy balanced dog food as a staple. Anything else you feed on top should be a supplement to a dog’s diet and not a replacement for it’s main staple.
Additionally, any pumpkin “treat” you give to your dog should not comprise more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie needs. Check with your veterinary centre if you’re unsure about how many calories your dog needs every day.
Does your dog eat pumpkin? How do you prepare it? Please tell me (or ask a question) in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
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