Health & Wellness
Whether baked into a pie, pureed into a soul-warming soup or transformed into those omnipresent lattes, pumpkin has become a go-to ingredient for seasonal comfort — and humans aren’t the only species who can chow down on the colorful squash.
As long as your pumpkin treat of choice isn’t a pumpkin spice latte, this is one ingredient that’s totally safe for our furry family members (with the proper precautions and preparation, of course).
As long as the pumpkin isn’t saturated with unhealthy additives or ingredients, like sugar or spices (onion and garlic powder is toxic to dogs), pumpkin can make for a nice, tasty treat that’s also healthy. Still, you should always consult your vet before introducing your pup to a new food.
“A little plain pumpkin makes for a nice healthy pet snack, as it’s full of nutrients and fiber,” Dr. Jamie Richardson, head of veterinary medicine at Small Door Veterinary’s New York City location, says. “It can also aid your dog’s digestion in cases of constipation.”
Fiber found in pumpkin can also ensure your pup stays full longer, meaning they can happily enjoy this low-calorie snack without craving something less healthy.
Other nutrients found in pumpkin includes:
Too much of a good thing can have a not-so-good effect. Just as humans should probably restrict pumpkin intake, the same is true for our pumpkin-loving pets.
“Too much pumpkin may cause gastrointestinal upset,” Dr. Richardson says. “Be sure to introduce it slowly to see how your dog reacts.”
And while pumpkin inherently is loaded with healthy fibers and nutrients, it’s the added ingredients in some pumpkin recipes that can take it from safe to harmful really quickly. (Never feed any food that contains the artificial sweetener xylitol to your dog as it’s very toxic.)
“Products such as pumpkin pie aren’t safe (for dogs) — they’re too sweet!” Dr. Richardson says.
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“Before giving pumpkin to your pet, make sure it doesn’t have any spices or seasonings,” Dr. Richardson says. The squash needs to be cooked and chopped into small, easily-digestible pieces, too, especially since raw pumpkin isn’t safe for dogs.
“You should also remove the skin, leaves, stem and seeds, as they can be a choking hazard.”
It’s important to add pumpkin to your pet’s diet slowly. You should introduce the ingredient by taking it slow to see how your pet likes it and how they react. As always, you should consult your vet before adding any new foods to your pup’s diet.
Dr. Richardson suggests starting out by adding a couple of spoons of plain, canned pumpkin or cubes of plain, cooked pumpkin to your dog’s usual food, and see how it goes.
As long as you take the proper precautions (and aren’t getting your pumpkin snacks from a coffee shop), pumpkin is one root veggie that’s totally pup-safe and pup-approved.
We’re confident that pumpkin isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.
The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.