By Janie Smyser
A new year is often the time we look to change our diets to shed a little extra weight. This is also a great time of year to reevaluate your pet’s diet and nutrition plan.
Pumpkin provides many benefits for dogs. Fresh, raw, and cooked pumpkin is safe for them, and canned pumpkin is great too. Make sure if you do opt for canned pumpkin that you avoid pumpkin pie mix, which contains sugar.
Because pumpkin has many benefits, it’s becoming increasingly common to find it as an ingredient in pet food and treats.
Pumpkin can be a great addition to incorporate into your dogs’ regular diet. Here’s more on why it is an excellent source of nutrition.
Improve your dog’s health with pumpkin
Pumpkin is an excellent aid for digestion. Constipation can especially be a problem for older dogs, and diarrhea is a concern among old and young dogs alike. Increasing fiber levels via pumpkin can soothe discomfort caused by an upset stomach and replace important electrolytes like potassium that can be lost when dogs have diarrhea. Even if your dog doesn’t have constipation, a little bit of pumpkin is a good preventative measure.
Oils found in pumpkin flesh and seeds are believed to be great for promoting urinary health. There are even nutritional supplements created for urinary tract support that contain pumpkin seeds.
You may also use pumpkin for weight loss and management. Since pumpkin is low in fat but high in fiber, it can be especially beneficial if your dog is overweight, as fibrous pumpkin helps them feel full.
Finally, if your dog eats food that is moisture-deficient, pumpkin can provide the hydration they might need. Try adding pumpkin during a meal of dry food or giving them a treat to reduce heat stress on their body.
How to determine if your dog’s treats have enough pumpkin
Preparing pumpkin for dogs can be time consuming, which is why many pet owners rely on canned pumpkin, and now pumpkin treats.
Treats are a great, budget-friendly way to give a small amount of pumpkin to your pet and gradually introduce it into their diet. While most dogs enjoy the taste of pumpkin, canned pumpkin may not be the easiest transition for finicky eaters, so pumpkin treats are a good stepping stone.
With more pumpkin treats on the market, it’s crucial to know which treats actually have enough pumpkin to be beneficial. To get the most benefit from pumpkin, look for treats that contain pumpkin as the number one ingredient as a way to avoid unnecessary fillers and added calories.
While pumpkin is a great source of nutrition to incorporate into your dog’s diet, we recommend you consult with your dog’s veterinarian before making any major changes to their diet. Your veterinarian can also recommend how much pumpkin is appropriate based on age and size of your dog.
Janie Smyser is the owner of K9 Granola Factory, a manufacturer of natural pet treats, supplements, and more.