7 Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
Not only does pumpkin taste delicious, but it also provides numerous health benefits. Pumpkins are nutrient-dense and full of fiber, making them excellent for weight loss or weight maintenance. They also contain beneficial antioxidants.
Pumpkin also has many different benefits for dogs, including better coat appearance and digestion.
Why Is Pumpkin Healthy for Dogs?
Pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat, with many added benefits. Here are seven evidence-based benefits of pumpkins for dogs.1. Protects Against Free Radicals
Pumpkin contains high levels of carotenoids, a type of antioxidant. Because of this, eating pumpkin can help protect your dog's body from free radicals. Free radicals form naturally and are usually acceptable in small doses.
However, when levels get too high, this can result in DNA damage, which leads to accelerated aging and increased risk of cancer. Antioxidants can protect free radicals from causing too much damage (1). Foods rich in antioxidants can work to benefit your furry friend's overall health and well-being.2. Aids in Weight Loss
Pumpkin is high in fiber and overall volume, helping your dog remain fuller for long periods of time. If implementing a weight loss program is needed, adding pumpkin within a varied, balanced diet is an excellent way to shed the pounds naturally. Foods rich in fiber are also useful for weight maintenance.3. Improves Digestion
Fiber also helps keep bowel movements regular since they add "bulk" to your dog's stool. Eating enough fiber can work to loosen or tighten their stool, depending on the need. Giving your dog some pumpkin will contribute to a healthier colon and overall digestion.4. Contributes to Eye Health
The high levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene present in pumpkin can help your dog’s eye health. A 2019 study reported that a combination of antioxidants and vitamins, particularly beta-carotene, impacts the prevention of macular degeneration (2).5. Contains High Levels of Potassium
Pumpkin contains a whopping 340 mg of potassium per 100 grams. Potassium has numerous benefits in dogs, including kidney and heart health, muscle growth, and fluid balance maintenance. Without enough potassium, a dog can suffer from muscle degeneration, cell death, and other conditions (3).6. Helps Boost Immunity
Pumpkin contains high levels of vitamin C, which can improve the immune system (4). Because vitamin C is also an antioxidant, it helps protect your dog against free radicals and DNA damage.
While dogs can synthesize vitamin C, giving them an extra boost from their diets or supplementation can help keep the intake at an optimum level.7. Contributes to Skin Health and a Glossy Coat
The high water content and vitamin A levels present in pumpkin can work wonders for your dog's skin and coat health. It can result in supple and moisturized skin with a glossy coat. Not only does it make your dog look amazing, but this means they will be less likely to want to itch, especially in hot temperatures.
How to Feed Your Dog Pumpkin
Like all types of fruits or vegetables given to your canine friend, moderation is key.
Pumpkin shouldn’t be the base of your dog’s diet and should act as a supplement on top of an already well-balanced meal plan. The amount of pumpkin given depends on the individual constitution of a dog, such as their weight.
Puppies can enjoy pumpkin as well. As a general rule, about one tablespoon of pumpkin a day is the right amount to start. Adjustments can then be made slowly, depending on your dog’s preferences and the reaction to it.
Choose plain, cooked, or raw pumpkin whenever possible. Pumpkin-flavored foods or pumpkin mixes with added spices, sugar, and additives are usually not very high in nutritional benefits and may do more harm than good.
If you are still unsure how much pumpkin you should feed your dog or puppy, always double-check with your vet. This is especially true if your pet has underlying health conditions.
Pumpkin-Based Dog Food
If you want to further ease your dog into eating pumpkin, a good alternative is introducing pumpkin-based dog food into their diet.
The Bottom Line
Pumpkin is safe to eat and provides many benefits for your dog's health and well-being. Not only does pumpkin taste good, but it also works to improve their digestion, organs, and skin health due to the high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber present. All of this results in a healthier dog and a happier dog owner.
Give your four-legged friend a healthy and tasty change in their usual diet with some added pumpkin.