Did you know that pumpkin is good for your dog and cat? Just in time for pumpkin season–while you fill up on pumpkin spice coffee, donuts, pumpkin soup and pumpkin seeds, you can now feel free to feed your furry friends pumpkin as well.
The lovely bright orange object we think of as a vegetable and love to carve faces into for Halloween is actually a fruit in vine-produced goard family, Curcubita. Pumpkin is full of healthy sounding nutrients like carotenoids, antioxidants, fiber, zinc, iron, vitamin A and potassium.
Because of its high fiber and water content, pumpkin is good for correcting and preventing constipation in pets, and can also help deter diarrhea by “bulking up” the poo! As always, if there is an ongoing problem with constipation or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian to rule out any medical condition that may need attention.
To introduce pumpkin to your pet’s diet, start with one or two tablespoons of pureed pumpkin each day. You can offer it as a frozen treat for dogs by freezing in ice cube trays, or add the softer puree to dog’s food at each meal. Cats, obviously, are usually more finicky and while you may get lucky and have a cat that likes the pumpkin by itself, you will probably have to mix it in with food, starting with very small amounts and working up from there!
Fresh pumpkin Is abundant in the fall and you can cook it and puree for use,, but during the non-pumpkin season months, using canned pumpkin is fine, just make sure to get pure 100% canned pumpkin and NOT the stuff known as pumpkin pie filling, as it will have sugar and other unhealthy ingredients added.
If you decide to do the DIY pumpkin puree route and make it yourself from fresh pumpkins, it is best to use the “pie” pumpkins rather than the giant “jack-o-lantern” ones, as they are easier to handle and have a more consistent texture. While it is awesome to see how big of a pumpkin you can get, as a rule of thumb for any fruit or vegetable, the larger the fruit or vegetable grows, the weirder and “iffier” the product for consumption!
Once you have selected the perfect pumpkins, the easiest way to cook them, in my opinion, is roasting in the oven. Google has a number of websites showing how to do it, but I always enjoy the Pioneer Woman’s banter, so you can find a good “how to” at her site here…..
As she says when you are cleaning out the seeds and guts, DON’T throw the seeds away… you can roast them later for a yummy treat for yourself, and turns out they are also good raw for dogs, cats and other animals for nutrition benefits AND can be helpful to rid the pet of parasites. Check out this article from All Natural Pet Care.com for more info about pumpkin seeds for pets.
Do you feed your pet pumpkin already? If so, we would love to hear of any recipes, suggestions for adding to diet or benefits you have noticed from your experience. Please comment below!