Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin in small amounts.
We think about bright and beautiful pumpkin in fall (Lattes! Breads! Pies!) but with its superfood status it’s a vegetable to eat-up year round. But is it safe for you to feed to your dog? Yes, pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat and contains lots of beneficial nutrients that can help with everything from a shinier coat to better eyesight. However, too much of even a good thing isn’t good for your pup. Here’s what you need to know about feeding pumpkin to your dog and the best ways to dish it up.
Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
Pumpkins are a healthy treat, loaded with nutrients, fiber and other good things for dogs too.
- Pumpkin pulp is naturally low in calories and sodium.
- Pumpkin pulp is naturally high in antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein that support eye health and healthy skin and coat as well as potassium and Vitamins C and E. It’s particularly high in Vitamin A. Eating pumpkin pulp can support your dog’s immune system with potential to help fight off some diseases and infections.
- Pumpkin can act as a prebiotic that feeds the friendly bacteria in your dog’s gut, which helps with everything from colon function to the immune system.
- Pumpkin’s blend of soluble and insoluble fiber can be an effective remedy for both diarrhea and constipation.
- Pumpkin pulp’s fibers can help prevent anal gland irritation, which can mean fewer trips to the vet.
If weight loss is an issue, as with human foods, pumpkin pulp makes an excellent fat substitute when making dog treats.
- Adding a little pumpkin to your dog’s diet can also help your dog maintain a healthy weight because the fiber in pumpkin can help your dog feel fuller for longer.
- Pumpkin seeds are rich in Omega-fatty acids and in consultation with your vet might be used to treat parasites, dislodge kidney stones, and help control urinary incontinence.
How to Feed Pumpkin to Your Dog
Here are a few ideas for adding this superfood to your pup’s daily diet. Even a food as healthy as pumpkin should be a treat for your dog served in moderate amounts.
- Canned (unsweetened) cooked or pureed pumpkin can be mixed into your dog’s regular wet or dry food. Chewy’s resident vet, Dr. Katy Nelson recommends serving 1 teaspoon of plain canned pumpkin per day (per 10 lbs. of body weight--so a bit more or less for your particular pooch).
- Offer a teaspoon of cooked pumpkin as a treat after training or stuff into a Kong toy for hours of fun.
- Use as a substitute for butter or other fats when baking homemade dog treats.
- Pumpkin seeds can roasted without additional oils, salt or spices and be served as treats, or ground into a fine powder, sprinkled over your dog’s food.
- High levels of vitamin A can be toxic in dogs and may cause a nutritional imbalance that could result in them not absorbing other nutrients, including protein, effectively lead to deficiencies elsewhere. If you notice your dog isn’t eating, is vomiting, is lethargic or has other signs of discomfort, call your vet.
- And while it can sooth an upset tummy, all of that fiber in pumpkin can lead an upset stomach and even worse, a case of diarrhea. Start with a very small serving of cooked pumpkin, working up to no more than 1 teaspoon (per 10 lbs. of body weight). For small dogs, that max amount might mean ½ teaspoon per day, while large dogs can safely eat 1-4 tablespoons daily.
- If you are making your own pumpkin pulp keep it simple—do not add any spices or additional sodium. If buying canned pumpkin be sure it’s plain pumpkin and not pie filling which is usually full of additives, spices, sugars and sometimes Xylitol, which can be deadly to dogs.
- While raw pumpkin is not dangerous, it can cause digestive upset. All outer skin and peel, stems and leaves should be removed.
- For puppies and very small or underweight dogs, only feed pumpkin in very small amounts as a treat.
- Off the menu for all dogs? Pies, pastries, cookies and lattes which are high in sugar, spices such as nutmeg and calories.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:How much pumpkin can I give my dog?
A:Start with a very small serving of cooked pumpkin, working up to no more than 1 teaspoon (per 10 lbs. of body weight). For small dogs, that max amount might mean ½ teaspoon per day, while large dogs can safely eat 1-4 tablespoons daily.
Q:Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds?
A:Yes, but only if roasted without oils and added spices or salt and in moderation. Rich in Omega-fatty acids pumpkin seeds might be used to treat parasites, dislodge kidney stones, and help control urinary incontinence. Consult your vet before feeding.
Q:Can dogs eat canned pumpkin?
A:Yes, plain canned pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat at the recommended daily amount. Do not ever serve your dog pumpkin pie filling or other canned pumpkins with additional spice.
Q:Can dogs eat raw pumpkin?
A:While raw pumpkin is not dangerous, it can cause digestive upset. Best to stick to steamed, roasted, or baked pumpkin meat. All outer skin and peel, stems and leaves should be removed.
Q:Can dogs eat pumpkin pie?
A:No, sorry pumpkin pie (even organic or “natural”) is off the menu as it is likely made with additional spices and the crust is probably made with butter or other fats.
Best Pumpkin Treats for Dogs
Before serving any new foods, even healthy ones such as pumpkin to your dog, consult with your veterinarian for appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)
Dog-Safe Pumpkin Recipes