We try to ensure our dogs and cats are eating food that is best for them, but if your pets seem more interested in your food than their own, pumpkin is one thing you may be able to share without guilt. Not your pumpkin pie, but many pet experts agree that a small amount of pure pumpkin mixed with your pet’s food can have some real benefits.

Pumpkin is a high fiber food that is rich in nutrients that can be good for your pet without adding significant calories. Although it is not a cure for any condition, veterinarians will frequently recommend it to treat specific issues.

Gastrointestinal and digestion issues

Being a good source of fiber, pumpkin can help with constipation in both cats and dogs. Veterinarians also have found that it can help soothe an upset stomach, especially after your pet has eaten something he or she should not have, by stimulating good gut bacteria.

Diabetes

The high fiber content of pumpkin may work to slow the absorption of sugar from the foods your pet is eating, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes in pets with diabetes.

Weight management

Even a small amount of pumpkin added to your pet’s meal will help him feel full longer, so a dog or cat with a weight problem will tend to eat less and lose those excess pounds.

Rich in nutrients

Just like humans, our pets can benefit from the many nutrients found in pumpkin.

  • Vitamin A and potassium promote a healthy coat, strong muscles and good kidney function.
  • Vitamin C promotes a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamin E is an anti-inflammatory that also promotes a healthy heart.
  • Iron supports hemoglobin production.
  • Carotenoids promote healthy skin and eyes.

Just the added water content in pumpkin will help keep your pet’s skin and coat hydrated and healthy so you may realize less scratching and shedding from your pet.

Talk to your vet

It’s always best to consult your veterinarian before making any change to your pet’s diet, especially if your dog or cat is experiencing a health issue or seems to be in some discomfort. In most cases, the pumpkin will be healthy and beneficial to your dog or cat but following the direction of your vet is best.

If you choose to introduce pumpkin to your pet, start with a small amount – a teaspoon for small dogs and no more than a tablespoon for large dogs – mixed into their food.

Always use pure pumpkin that is cooked and mashed. Canned is fine as long as it is not seasoned or sweetened. Never use pumpkin pie filling and do not use porch pumpkins if you choose to cook your own, as they may have rot or mold.

If you have questions about the benefits of pumpkin for your dog or cat, or your pet’s diet in general, contact the team at Lake Cable Animal Hospital.