This time of year, pumpkins are everywhere. We buy them for decoration, to carve for Halloween, or to make homemade pumpkin pies.
But did you know that pumpkin is actually very good for dogs? There are several health benefits for including pumpkin in your dog's diet. Start be adding a couple tablespoons of pureed pumpkin to your pet's food (plain pumpkin, not pie filling).
The following facts are from Care2 website from their article "Health Benefits of Pumpkins for Dogs"
Pumpkin can be a very effective treatment for the occasional abnormal stool. (If your pet has regular GI issues, consult your veterinarian.) Pumpkins have a high water and fiber content and can act to hydrate the intestines and their contents when dogs are suffering from constipation.
Pumpkin can also be used to treat diarrhea. The soluble fiber in pumpkins actually helps absorb excess water in the bowels that the body didn’t absorb properly, thereby helping to calm diarrhea. Start slowly, and adjust accordingly.
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.
Pumpkin is also recently gaining popularity as a supplement to a dog’s food to aid in weight loss. While it is true that it is a low-cal/low-fat/ filler that is high in fiber and will help keep your pet feeling full longer, you want to make sure that your pet is still getting the required nutrients that he or she needs.
Both raw and cooked pumpkin is safe for dogs. As far as our healthy pooches go, seeds and flesh of fresh raw pumpkins are safe. An easy way to have some handy dog treats around that will last 3-4 weeks is roasting plain seeds in the oven or mixing pumpkin into baked treats.
Here is a recipe for Pumpkin Poppers from Solomon's Royal Barkery (my other site which has recipes for homemade food and treats for dogs).
Pumpkin Poppers2 cups canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 tablespoons honey or molasses
2 cups whole wheat flour (more if needed)
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine pumpkin, eggs and honey . Mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients. Roll out on heavily floured surface and cut into bars or desired shapes. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or to desired crunchiness. The centers will harden as they cool. Brush with egg white before baking for a glossy finish.