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The essentials 

  • Pumpkin is a vitamin-rich snack for dogs — It contains vitamins A, C, E, potassium, and beta carotene, which can all benefit a dog’s health.
  • The type of pumpkin matters — Plain 100% pure canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix, with no salt or added ingredients, is the safest option for dogs.
  • Helps soothe upset stomachs — Pumpkin is a common ingredient vets recommend to ease digestive issues, including diarrhea and constipation.

Pumpkin has many health benefits for humans and dogs. In addition to containing vitamins A, C, and E, it contains antioxidants that support the immune system. The high soluble fiber content can also soothe upset stomachs and support digestive health, specifically mild cases of diarrhea or constipation. Here’s what pet owners need to know about how much pumpkin to give their dog.

The benefits of pumpkin for dogs

When fed to a dog in the proper form and amount, pumpkin has many health benefits for dogs:

  • Soothes and aids a dog’s digestive system. Adding pumpkin to your dog’s food can ease constipation and prevent diarrhea due to its high fiber content.
  • Stimulates brain and eye health. The vitamin A and beta-carotene in pumpkin help sharpen a dog’s vision and improve brain performance.
  • Eliminates free radicals. The vitamin E in pumpkin keeps away free radicals and prevents abnormal cell growth.
  • Supports urinary health. Pumpkin flesh and seeds contain oils that may help dogs prone to UTIs.
  • Pumpkin can help your dog’s diarrhea and constipation. Your vet may suggest pumpkin as a natural and healthy way to prevent diarrhea or constipation. The soluble fiber in pumpkin adds to a dog’s stool and helps retain water and slow peristalsis without overtaxing the GI tract.
  • Pumpkin has a prebiotic effect. It stimulates the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which supports a healthy gut microbiome, which is important for overall digestion.

👉If you open up a new can of plain pumpkin, add it to some ice cube trays and freeze it so it doesn’t spoil in the fridge.

The potential risks of feeding your dog pumpkin

While adding pumpkin can increase fiber in your dog’s diet, excessive fiber can be harmful. Overloading your dog with fiber-rich foods can reduce protein absorption and other essential nutrients. Excess fiber can increase stool frequency or cause diarrhea , reducing mineral absorption and leading to nutrient deficiencies.

 “In rare cases, very high amounts of fiber, especially if taken without enough water, could accumulate in the intestines and lead to a blockage. When adding any supplement to your dog’s diet, it’s important to check with your vet and follow their dosing recommendations.” – Dr. Liza Cahn 

Here are some other things to be aware of:

  • Stick to the recommended portion. As we mentioned, too much fiber can lead to nutrient deficiencies, GI upset, and lack of absorption of essential nutrients. Speak with your veterinarian about an appropriate portion size for your dog. 
  • Look for dangerous ingredients. Avoid feeding anything with xylitol (which is deadly to dogs), sugar-free canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling, or other products with harmful additives like cinnamon or nutmeg. These can cause vomiting and dangerously high blood pressure.
  • Only feed baked, pureed, or powdered pumpkin. Avoid giving them the pulp, which is too rich in fiber and can cause gastrointestinal upset. Don’t feed them the stem, leaves, skin, and raw seeds — these can cause digestion issues. Pumpkins can also spoil quickly if left outside.
  • Speak with your vet first. Don’t feed your dog pumpkin without talking to your vet, especially if they have an underlying health condition, like kidney disease.

🚨 Some canned pumpkin brands contain significant amounts of salt, which can be harmful to dogs with heart conditions or kidney disease. It’s crucial to read the label carefully.

How much pumpkin is safe for dogs to consume 

It’s essential that you feed your dog the right amount of pumpkin. The AKC recommends adding 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin to your dog’s meal. It should make up less than 10% of your dog’s daily intake. Before jumping in, start with less and gradually work up to the serving size below. 

Here are the serving sizes that our vets recommend:

Dog size Examples of breeds Serving size per meal
Extra small (2-20 lbs) Yorkshire terrier, Shih-tzu, Rat terrier, Miniature schnauzer 2 to 3 teaspoons
Small (21-30 lbs) Pug, Boston terrier, Corgi, Border terrier 1 to 2 tablespoon
Medium (31-50 lbs) Australian shepherd, Basset hound, English springer spaniel, Basenji 1 to 2 tablespoons
Large (51-90 lbs) Bloodhound, Greyhound, Doberman, Pit bull 2 to 4 tablespoons
Extra large (91+ lbs) Greater Swiss mountain dog, Kangal, Newfoundland, Cane corso 2 to 4 tablespoons

👉Not sure how much food your dog should get? Check out our guide on how much to feed your dog.

How to give your dog pumpkin

Pumpkin is a safe and nutritious human food for dogs, and you can introduce it into your dog’s diet in many ways. Some dogs willingly take plain pumpkin off a spoon or on their food, but there are many other ways to feed it. Here are some fun ways to get pumpkin into your pup’s diet.

DIY pumpkin dog treats

Making homemade dog treats is a healthy alternative to store-bought varieties. You can tailor it to your pet by choosing your own ingredients and the type of treat you want to make. It’s a great way to boost their essential nutrients and introduce pumpkin into their diet. Introduce new ingredients in small amounts to ensure your dog’s stomach can tolerate them.

Frozen pumpkin dog treats

We love this recipe because it requires only a few simple steps. These treats also don’t contain grains, which can hurt some dogs’ stomachs. They are the perfect year-round snacks for your pup, especially in warm weather.


  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt

👉 For dogs that are sensitive to dairy, you can freeze the plain pumpkin puree in an ice cube tray.


  1. Mix the pumpkin and yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Divide into molds or on a tray.
  3. Freeze for 24 hours and feed.

Peanut butter pumpkin treats

Xylitol and artificial sweeteners are often found in peanut butter. Ensure that any peanut butter you use is safe and free from these harmful additives. These can be fatal for dogs.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (Must be 100% pure pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix the pumpkin and dog-safe peanut butter.
  3. Combine the flour with pumpkin and peanut butter.  
  4. Flour your surface and roll out the dough.
  5. Use cookie cutters or roll into balls and press flat.
  6. Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet (½ inch spacing).
  7. Bake for 12 minutes.

👉Looking for more DIY homemade dog treat ideas? Check out our DIY vet-approved frozen dog treats

Dog vitamins and supplements with pumpkin

Some dogs can benefit from a daily dose of pumpkin-containing vitamins and supplements. However, before adding pumpkin or any new supplements to your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian to ensure they are safe and align with your pet’s specific needs.

Native Pet Probiotics

Native Pet Probiotic, formulated by vets, contains ingredients like pumpkin, probiotics, Jerusalem artichoke, and bone broth. These probiotics contain no fillers or additives and offer gut flora and digestive support.

PetHonesty Probiotics

PetHonesty Probiotics offers a blend of probiotics and pumpkin to support healthy digestion and the gut microbiome. This supplement also contains enzymes to help support your dog’s immune system and absorb nutrients. They contain no GMO, wheat, corn, soy, or harsh preservatives.

Zesty Paws Multifunctional 8-in-1 Bites 

Zesty Paws Multifunctional 8-in-1 Bites are loaded with high-quality ingredients. With ingredients like pumpkin, cod liver oil, MSM, and probiotics, this powerhouse promotes physical performance, improves joint and heart function, and supports the immune system, skin, and gut health. 

Raw, cooked, or canned

You should only feed your pup plain 100% pumpkin — avoid pumpkin with spices, sugars, and salts that humans often eat. These can be toxic and dangerous to your dog. Typically, pumpkin that’s safe for your dog comes in one of the following forms:

  • Fresh pumpkin. Remove the seeds and bake a fresh pumpkin before serving it to your pup. Don’t feed your dog the stringy pulp, skin, or stems of a pumpkin. These pumpkin parts can be a huge health hazard and cause problems for a dog’s digestive system. Never feed them a carved pumpkin, especially if it’s been outside.
  • Powdered pumpkin. If you don’t have time to prepare fresh pumpkin, powdered pumpkin is easy to sprinkle over your dog’s food. 

100% pure canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin has a lot of nutrients — even more than fresh pumpkin — because it doesn’t contain as much water.

🚨 Some canned pumpkin brands contain salt, nearly 600 milligram of sodium per cup which would be harmful to a dog that has a heart condition or kidney disease. As per vet recommendation, opt for canned pumpkin that has no salt (or only 12 milligram of sodium per cup).

Our favorite dog-safe pumpkin treat to make at home 

Try creating the following recipe as a fun way to fit pumpkin into your dog’s diet.

Frozen pumpkin dog treats

We love this recipe because you can complete it in only a few simple steps. These treats also don’t contain grains, which can hurt some dogs’ stomachs. These are the perfect year-round snacks for your pup, especially in warm weather! All you need is 1 cup of pumpkin puree and 1 cup of plain yogurt.

Follow these steps:

  1. Mix the pumpkin and yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Divide into molds or on a tray.
  3. Freeze for 24 hours and feed.

👉 For dogs that are sensitive to dairy, you can simply freeze the plain pumpkin puree is an ice cube tray.

🚨 Don’t feed your dog sugar-free canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling, or canned products with additives like cinnamon, nutmeg, or xylitol. These ingredients can cause dangerous reactions, including low blood sugar, vomiting, and high blood pressure.

Pumpkin is a versatile and healthy addition to your dog’s diet due to its nutritional and fiber content. Rich in vitamins, pumpkin enhances immune health and regulates digestion, alleviates constipation and diarrhea, and helps them naturally express their anal glands. Moderation is key when feeding pumpkin to your dog. Too much fiber can cause digestive upset and lead to nutrient deficiencies. Speak with your vet before introducing pumpkin to your dog’s diet.

Frequently asked questions

How long does pumpkin take to work for dogs?

If you start feeding your dog pumpkin in small doses, you might notice improvements to their digestion in a matter of days. Other changes, like benefits to a dog’s vision, may be harder to recognize, but that doesn’t mean the pumpkin isn’t working. Be patient and only feed your dog pumpkin if your vet says to do so.

Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds?

Yes. Pumpkin seeds are a great snack for your pup when roasted. They contain lots of healthy oils and omega-3s. You might not want to give small dogs pumpkin seeds whole because they’re a choking hazard. Grind them over your dog’s food instead. Never feed your dog raw pumpkin seeds.

Do dogs like Pumpkin?

Yes! According to most dog owners, pups love their food even more when a bit of pumpkin is sprinkled over it.

Does pumpkin help dogs with gas?

Pumpkin helps with gas and diarrhea in dogs. Stick to the recommended amount and don’t feed in excess. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

How to cook pumpkin for dogs?

If you want to feed your dog cooked pumpkin, start with a whole pumpkin, remove the seeds, and slice it into chunks. Boil the pumpkin in water for 20 to 30 minutes until it’s soft. Strain it and mix it into a smooth paste. When finished, pop it into the freezer, where it lasts up to 6 months.