In October, we live by one code: all pumpkin everything. If it doesn’t have pumpkin spice in it, we can barely choke it down this month. That’s why we feel like hypocrites pouring the same old kibble in our dogs’ bowls. Can’t dogs enjoy the wonders and delights of pumpkins with us? The answer is a full-throated “heck yes” (as long as it’s natural pumpkin, not the kind that’s full of sugar and spices). Pumpkin not only is acceptable for dogs to eat; it’s downright good for them. Read on for five reasons why.
CANNED PUMPKIN FOR DOG DIGESTION
Whether your dog has got the splatters worse than Herschell Gordon Lewis or she’s bound up like a straitjacket, pumpkin is the answer to her digestive woes. Canned pumpkin is very high in fiber, which can help bulk up your dog’s loose stools or soften her hard ones. And since dogs tend to love the taste of pumpkin anyway, it should be easy to get your pooch to take this “medicine.”
PUMPKIN FOR ALL-AROUND NUTRITION
Fiber isn’t all that pumpkin has to offer. Pumpkin flesh and seeds are loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, C and E, alpha and beta carotene, lutein, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. Altogether, the nutritional benefits of pumpkin mean healthier skin, healthier eyes, a healthier coat and a healthier immune system for your dog. That’s not too shabby for a treat that your dog probably will think is a delicious indulgence anyway.
PUMPKIN FOR DOG WEIGHT LOSS
Even if your dog isn’t in digestive distress, pumpkin makes a fine addition to his meals, adding bulk and fiber without a lot of extra calories. Many dogs love the taste of pumpkin, so yours may gobble it down not only willingly, but eagerly. You can feed him the same amount of food while replacing some kibble with pumpkin instead, thereby filling his belly and reducing caloric intake, a good strategy if your dog needs to lose a few pounds.
PUMPKIN SEEDS FOR DOG URINARY HEALTH
There is some evidence to suggest that pumpkin seeds are beneficial for urinary-tract health. The oil of pumpkin seeds is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, which may be good for urinary health, among additional nutritional benefits. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in many of the vitamins and minerals described earlier, so even if the connection to urinary health is hooey, pumpkin seeds are still a doggy superfood.
Next: Autumn Foods Dogs Can Eat
PUMPKIN IN HOMEMADE DOG TREATS
The national pastime of the month of October is shoving delicious pumpkin into every baked good under the sun, so for dog owners who prefer to make their own dog treats at home instead of buying the processed, commercial stuff, adding pumpkin to dog biscuits should be a no-brainer, especially at this time of year. Here’s an example recipe from Allrecipes.com:
PEANUT BUTTER AND PUMPKIN DOG TREATS
Makes 25 treats
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes.
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