Healthy Additions: Pumpkin

It’s the season for bright orange vegetables! Pumpkins, along with carrots and squash, are coming into the season and bringing plenty of health benefits with them.

Dogs are quite capable of digesting vegetables, especially leafy greens and brightly colored vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, squash, peppers, etc.). Feeding your dog these vegetables can reduce his risk for cancer by 70-90% – definitely a Healthy Addition!

 

Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

Pumpkin is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibers. This blend of fibers will help resolve both constipation and diarrhea. The fiber content also helps reduce the carbohydrate content of pumpkins making them safe additions to your dog’s diet, without the risk of a blood sugar spike.

Pumpkin also supplies vitamins A, E, and C which act as antioxidants and support eye function, immune health, and weight loss. It contains the Vitamin A precursor, beta-carotene, which gives the pumpkin that beautiful orange color. Pumpkin is also a good source of potassium and iron.

Plain pumpkin is an excellent food for dogs with digestive troubles. It is easily digested, gentle on the stomach, and supports proper stool formation.

“Pumpkin can ease digestion in several ways. The soluble fiber content in pumpkin adds bulk to your dog’s stool by absorbing water, and fiber fermentation produces beneficial fatty acids that supply energy to cells, stimulate intestinal sodium and water absorption, and lower the pH level of the large intestines.

Fiber also acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are different from probiotics. They stimulate the growth or activity of these beneficial bacteria in the intestines and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.”

 

The Pumpkin Debate

If you search for it, you will find that there is some controversy over whether pumpkin is a good choice for your dog 100% of the time. There are those that argue that simply treating diarrhea or constipation without looking for the cause is wrong and that diarrhea is the body’s natural way of flushing out harmful toxins.

First, it is essential to make a distinction between a small stomach upset and diarrhea that doesn’t indicate a severe toxin-load, and chronic or recurrent diarrhea that may indicate an infection or irritable bowel syndrome.

As a general guideline, if your dog is not prone to chronic/recurrent diarrhea and hasn’t had any recent dietary changes (including stealing food or trash), then treating the loose stools with pumpkin may be appropriate.

You may opt to refrain from treating diarrhea for one-to-two days to allow the body to flush out toxins. Encourage your dog to drink plenty of fresh water.

If your dog’s diarrhea does not resolve within 3-5 days of treatment (during which it is crucial to monitor all that your dog eats) seek veterinary aid.

If your dog does have chronic/recurrent or severe diarrhea, constipation, especially with any other symptoms of illness, seek out the cause of his gut disturbance and get veterinary aid.

 

 

How to Feed Your Dog Pumpkin

Unless it’s the fall season and you are up to baking fresh pumpkins, you can use plain canned pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling isn’t a good choice because it contains several spices that can be dangerous for dogs in addition to added salt and sweeteners that can irritate your dog’s stomach.

“For a medium size dog, add 1 to 4 tbsp of canned pumpkin to food for a few days until the issue resolves.”

 

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One great use for pumpkin is to make DIY Pill Pockets. Use the measurements in the guide above and roll the pumpkin-gelatin mixture together into bite-size balls. Poke a small hole in the middle to insert a pill and fold the dough around the pill.

These pill pockets are easily digested and are much healthier than many commercial brands. They are also great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

We hope that your dog will enjoy a healthy taste of fall this year with pumpkin!

 

For Satisfied Dogs!

– Cassy Kay

 

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Sources:

Burke, Anna. “Pumpkin for Treating Dog Diarrhea” akc.org. Apr. 12, 2017. Web. Accessed Nov. 15, 2018.https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/can-pumpkin-help-with-dog-diarrhea/

Defarges, Alice. “Constipation and Obstipation in Small Animals” merckvetmanual.com. Web. Accessed Nov. 15, 2018. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/digestive-system/diseases-of-the-stomach-and-intestines-in-small-animals/constipation-and-obstipation-in-small-animals

Kimberly. “Pumpkin Isn’t Always Healthy for Dogs” kepthetailwagging.com. Jun. 24 2014. Web. Accessed Nov. 15, 2018. https://keepthetailwagging.com/pumpkin-isnt-always-healthy-for-dogs/

Peralta, Jessica. “Why Ginger Is So Good For Your Dog!” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed Nov. 15, 2018. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/how-to-give-your-dog-ginger/

Smith, Caitlyn. “5 Benefits of Cinnamon and Pumpkin For Dogs” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed Nov. 15, 2018. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/5-benefits-of-cinnamon-and-pumpkin-for-dogs/

CanIGiveMyDog.com. “Why Pumpkin Makes Sense for Dogs!” canigivemydog.com. Web. Accessed Nov. 16, 2018. https://canigivemydog.com/pumpkin

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