Your dog or cat may be curious about the pumpkins sitting on your front porch. Halloween is coming, and your pumpkin may be beautifully carved, but might also be collecting bacteria. While it’s best they don’t eat that pumpkin, canned natural pumpkin (unsweetened – not pie filling), pumpkin seeds, and cooked fresh pumpkin have many benefits for dogs and cats. There is good reason that pumpkin is often a top ingredient in higher quality kibble. It can help with the following pet ailments:
1) Digestive Health: Pumpkin is a fabulous source of fiber for our furry friends, as well as for us. Pureed pumpkin (with no added sugar or spice) can help dogs and cats with both constipation and diarrhea. Adding a tablespoon or two (in proportion to their size) to their regular meal is known to help keep them regular. I have labs, so anything is edible to them, and I’m sure they would eat it right out of the can if I allowed. Most cats are usually a little more finicky. It can also help dogs and cats with indigestion or upset stomachs.
2) Urinary Health: According to Veterinarians Laci and Jed Schaible, co-founders of VetLive.com, pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants (good for overall healthy skin and fur), and the oils in pumpkins’ flesh and seeds are believed to support urinary health. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron, and may even reduce the likelihood your pet will develop cancer.
3) Weight Loss: I’ve written about the dangers and commonality of pet obesity. Dogs seem to naturally love pumpkin. If you are looking to take a few pounds off of your pooch or kitty, try reducing a portion of their food and replace it with the same portion of canned pumpkin. Their tummy will feel just as full, and they might even thank you for the additional flavor.