Pumpkin is one of the most versatile food supplements for dogs. It has many health benefits. You can buy cans of pumpkin puree at the pet store or at the grocery store – just make sure it is not the pie filling variety, which is sweetened! I often buy Rocco jars of baby food pumpkin, which means I don’t have to keep a large open can in my fridge. A cooked, fresh pumpkin works just as well. Recently, I’ve also been giving Rocco a bit of pumpkin butter instead of peanut butter – however, keep in mind that pumpkin is very rich in iron, which can be toxic in large quantities.
- Diarrhea: pumpkin is very rich in fiber and will absorb the excess water from your dog’s stool, bringing relief within hours of consumption.
- Constipation: pumpkin is a real miracle worker for the dog’s digestive system. It also relieves constipation by providing a high volume of fiber and water.
- Weight Loss: putting your dog on a diet can be a real challenge, however, if you substitute a portion of their food with an equivalent amount of pumpkin you will be able to trim some weight off your pooch. Pumpkin is low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium and contains only 49 calories in 8 ounces. However, since it is so rich in fiber, it will keep your dog’s tummy feeling full.
- Weight Gain: if you are trying to bulk up your skinny pup (especially during their growth sprouts or after a sickness) and you don’t want to overfeed them on fat and protein, simply add pumpkin to their meal.
- Vitamins and minerals: pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium. Pumpkin seeds are rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron.
- Treats: pumpkin and pumpkin seeds (unsalted) make for great treats. You can add pumpkin to home-baked treats, or put some puree in an ice-cube and freeze it.
- Toy: pumpkin can also be a fun and safe toy (make sure to remove the leaves and stem). Dog’s can use the rind as a chew or try to open a whole pumpkin.