Offering your dog love and a welcoming home isn’t always enough to keep it happy and healthy throughout its life. You will also have to closely watch its diet and even opt for good digestive enzymes for dogs to prevent digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation. One easy way to do so is to integrate pumpkin in your pup’s daily meal plan as it represents a great source of fibers that will improve its digestive system.
No matter how careful you are with your pet, it’s almost impossible for it not to suffer from diarrhea, constipation or other digestive problems at least once in its life. Bad food choices, a sedentary lifestyle, and other factors will often lead to health issues that will require treatment and constant visits to the vet.
Luckily, there are plenty of easy ways to keep your pup out of problems, and you should start with the proper diet. Try opting for organic dog food formulas with clean proteins as the number one ingredient. You should also avoid ingredients such as starch, corn, soy, beans, wheat, and too many carbs as they can cause allergic reactions and lead to overweight or obesity in the long term.
Whether you’re giving your pet home-cooked food or dry food in the form of kibbles, try keeping the ingredient list as short as possible. Rice, lean meat (fish, turkey, chicken, and even beef and lamb), eggs, and most vegetables should be the main ingredients in your dog’s food. If you opt for home-cooked meals, make sure to grill, steam or bake the ingredients as opposed to frying them.
Out of all the delicious fruits and veggies that can make for a healthy snack in-between meals, pumpkin is known for being beneficial for your pet’s digestive system as well. It is incredibly nutritious, easy to prepare, and doesn’t have side effects when consumed in the right amounts.
Here is everything you need to know about this ingredient, as well as the main reasons why you should introduce your dog to pumpkin-based foods on a regular basis.
Is pumpkin good for your dog’s digestion?
The short answer is yes. However, you should pay close attention to the type of pumpkin you are offering your dog. For instance, the typical Halloween pumpkin that you carve may be full of bacteria and mold, especially when you decide to cook it weeks after the Halloween season is over. Instead, try opting for fresh pumpkins that are a safer choice for your pawed friend.
The good thing about pumpkin is that it can be served both raw and cooked, as long as it’s fresh and properly cleaned from dirt, debris, and bacteria. If you don’t have the time to go to the farmer’s market and choose an organic, fresh pumpkin, the easiest way would be to opt for canned pumpkin.
It contains the same nutrients as fresh pumpkin and, since it is a puree, you can easily mix it into your dog’s daily food instead of cooking and serving a separate dish. However, make sure the pumpkin puree you are opting for is organic and doesn’t contain any added sugars.
Pumpkin seeds are another delicious treat for your dog but you should never serve them raw. Roast them for a few minutes, without adding other spices or herbs.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are known for their anti-inflammatory effects. The seeds can also be used as a natural remedy against parasites like roundworms. If your male dog is over 9 years old, most likely it will suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia and pumpkin seeds are beneficial for this condition. In addition, they will also smooth the urinary tract and dislodge kidney stones.
However, since they are rich in oils, we only recommend giving your dog pumpkin seeds as an occasional treat. They can be crushed and added to your pet’s meals or you can serve them whole, one seed at a time. Keep in mind that fed too much, this ingredient can cause soft stools.
Why should you give your dog pumpkin?
It is rich in nutrients
According to medical research, pumpkin has many benefits for your dog’s health. The ingredient is low in calories but rich in essential vitamins and minerals, which will boost your pet’s immune system, keeping it strong and healthy.
According to the USDA Nutritional Database, one cup of cooked pumpkin contains 2.7 grams of fibers, 5.1 grams of sugars, and only 49 calories, which make it a delicious and low-calorie snack.
Pumpkin contains a high concentration of vitamin A and potassium, as well as vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Together, these nutrients will improve muscle health, regulate blood pressure, and even assist in metabolism, stimulating the digestive system.
It boosts the immune system
Just like humans, dogs can also be sensitive to climate changes, especially in early spring and late fall. These months are usually the best ones to provide a vitamin supplement for your pet to keep it away from cold, anemia, joint pains, and tummy pains.
Since pumpkin contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, it will destroy free radicals and prevent certain seasonal health problems. You can easily boost your pet’s immune system by providing fresh servings of pumpkin regularly. In time, you will see that your dog becomes stronger, healthier, and resilient against the flu.
It improves vision
Vitamin A or beta-carotene is long known for its benefits for the eyes. It promotes eye health and can prevent or postpone certain eye conditions such as glaucoma, night blindness, and cataracts. Keep in mind that vitamin A is fat-soluble, meaning you can mix some pumpkin puree with a few drops of healthy oils and feed it to your dog.
When the season changes, you might want to consider an alternative source of vitamins and minerals apart from the ones your pet can directly take from the foods it eats. Vitamin supplements should be provided to prevent hair fall, flu or colds, and other minor health problems but only after talking to your vet.
Pumpkin seeds prevent urinary incontinence
As we previously mentioned, older male dogs are prone to develop certain urinary tract infections that can not only cause pain and discomfort but also lead to severe infections. Feeding your pet a few roasted pumpkin seeds a couple of times a week will help dislodge kidney stones and prevent urinary incontinence.
The seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties and, since they are also rich in vitamin E, they will keep your pet’s fur soft, smooth, silky, and shiny.
Pumpkin promotes a healthy digestive system
Pumpkin is packed with fibers that prevent both constipation and diarrhea while normalizing the digestive system. Hard stools will add extra pressure to your dog’s intestines but adding a small amount of cooked pumpkin in your pet’s diet will provide the necessary amount of fibers to keep it healthy.
It hydrates and aids weight loss
Another reason why you should add pumpkin to your dog’s diet is that it contains 80% water, helping your pet stay hydrated.
Most pets are usually fed dry dog food in the form of kibbles with low moisture content. In order to make sure your pup stays fully hydrated, especially during the hot summer days, you can introduce some moist foods in its daily diet, apart from providing a clean source of fresh water.
Fruits and veggies like watermelon, cucumbers, and squash don’t only taste delicious but also contain up to 90% water and are low in calories. They represent a great source of water and can aid digestion. Eaten regularly, these foods will soften the stools while also keeping your pet satiated for a few hours.
In addition, pumpkins also contain fibers, which will help your dog lose some weight. The fibers and water will keep your pet full without the unnecessary calories, so make sure to replace about 10% of your dog’s kibbles with canned pumpkin (about 3-4 teaspoons for small dog breeds and half a cup for large dogs). Combined with regular exercising, your pet will lose a couple of pounds without too much effort.