Pumpkin: the Unlikely Canine Superfood?

Is pumpkin good for dogs? Most people only think of pumpkins as fun decorations in the fall season…

But did you know: This festive vegetable is a “canine superfood?”

Pumpkins belong to the same botanical family as squash, cucumbers, and melons. They’re naturally filled with healthy fiber, beta carotene, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin E, vitamin K and numerous other vitamins and minerals.

Even the raw, peeled seeds are high in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, which can help support your dog’s healthy joints and skin.

On it’s own, raw pumpkin puree is a versatile food — it can be a healthy snack for your dog or mixed in with your dog’s food to help support their digestion and health.

Here are 3 ways that pumpkin can be good for your dog’s health…

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What Are the Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs?

#1) Pumpkin can support digestive and urinary health

Pumpkin is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help soothe diarrhea or constipation. Small amounts of pumpkin added to your dog’s daily diet can help keep their “#2’s” regular.

The fiber in pumpkin helps with doggy diarrhea by absorbing water from stool. Essentially, this fiber helps your dog’s system do a better job absorbing sodium and gives their cells the energy they need. (1,2)

 

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#2) Pumpkin can support limber joints & healthy skin

Raw pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals. They contain iron and potassium, as well as vitamins A, C, and E. So this “canine superfood” can help support your dog’s healthy joints, healthy skin, and silky coat.

 

#3) Pumpkin can help discourage parasites

Although pumpkin on its own is not a 100% effective way to eliminate worms and other parasites, it contains high amounts of cucurbitacin. Cucurbitan is a biochemical compound is toxic to intestinal parasites — meaning, a little pumpkin in your dog’s diet can help them combat harmful intestinal parasites.

 

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Dog Parents Ask: Is pumpkin a probiotic for dogs?
No, pumpkin is not a probiotic for dogs… but it can be a prebiotic, or a compound found in organic food that supports the good gut bacteria in your dog’s intestines. In other words, the fiber in pumpkin provides a food source to the good bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract. That way, the good bacteria can more easily fight the harmful microbes in your dog’s system, so your dog can have smoother digestion.(3)


 

So, how do I incorporate pumpkin Into my dog’s diet?

Plain, organic, canned 100% pumpkin puree is a healthy and easy way to serve your dog a little pumpkin snack. However, fresh, raw, seedless pumpkin puree is even better.

It’s very important that you speak with your vet to make sure how much pumpkin you should give your dog. The amount will vary according to your dog’s size.

As for pumpkin seeds, serve only raw, shelled, unsalted seeds to your dog. Be sure to discuss the quantity with your vet, who may recommend a certain amount per day based on your dog’s size.

If your dog has any food allergies, if they’re carrying extra weight, or they’ve recently been on a weight loss plan, be sure to check with your veterinarian before adding anything to their regular diet (even a treat as nutritious as fresh pumpkin will add extra calories to your dog’s meals.)

After you’ve talked to your vet, and you know your dog can safely enjoy a pumpkin treat, there are many fun ways to prepare this healthy squash for your furry best friend.

Never feed your dog pumpkin pie filling.

Canned pumpkin pie filling may contain a sweetener ingredient known as “xylitol.” The FDA has approved this compound for humans, but even a small amount of xylitol can be fatal to your dog.(4) Another important thing to remember: Pie mixtures usually include other ingredients, like nutmeg, sugar, and sodium that can make your dog very sick.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Canned pumpkin can spoil rather quickly once you open it. Generally, leftover canned pumpkin lasts about 5 days in the refrigerator before it starts to get moldy, so always check leftover pumpkin carefully before feeding it to your dog.

 

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Here’s a fun recipe to make with canned pumpkin, beef liver treats, and pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin Protein Balls

You’ll need:
½ can organic pumpkin puree
½ cup freeze-dried raw beef liver treats
1 tablespoon of raw, unsalted, peeled pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon of ceylon cinnamon
Blender
Baking sheet or pan
A freezer

Instructions:

  1. Blend your freeze-dried raw beef liver treats, ½ can of organic pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ceylon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Scoop ½ tablespoon-size dollops of the mixture onto your baking sheet.
  3. Freeze until solid, and then serve to your pup (using their recommended serving sizes as your guide.)

These Pumpkin Protein Balls are a healthy snack. They’re full of water soluble fiber, nutrient-dense protein, and delicious flavor. Plus, these pumpkin treats will keep in the freezer for up to 3 weeks (so they won’t spoil too quickly.) After you make this recipe at home, drop a comment below. Let us know how your dog likes these special pumpkin snacks!

 

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What’s the best way for your dog to enjoy the benefits of pumpkin?

The easiest way to give your dog the benefits of pumpkin in their food every day is with Dr. Marty’s Nature’s Blend.

You see, first four ingredients in Nature’s Blend are turkey, beef, salmon, and duck to support your dog’s playful energy and healthy coat…

While the rest of the formula is balanced with antioxidant-rich veggies, fruit, and seeds (including pumpkin seeds) to support their smooth digestion and healthy joints.

Plus, this food contains ZERO harmful ingredients, like artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, dyes, or “food substitutes.”

Nature’s Blend is simply pure, nutrient-rich, REAL food to help keep your little “pumpkin” fit and happy for years to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.merckvetmanual.com/digestive-system/diseases-of-the-stomach-and-intestines-in-small-animals/constipation-and-obstipation-in-small-animals
  2. http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diet-nutrition/does-canned-pumpkin-help-dog-diarrhea
  3. http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/benefits-high-fiber-dog-foods/
  4. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/xylitol-toxicity-in-dogs