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The essentials 

  • Pumpkin is a vitamin-rich snack for dogs — It contains vitamin A, C, E, potassium, and beta carotene, which can all benefit a dog’s health.
  • The type of pumpkin matters Plain canned pumpkin with no salt is the best option for dogs.
  • Helps soothe upset stomachs Pumpkin is a common ingredient recommended by vets to ease digestion.
  • Some treats and supplements contain pumpkin We’ve selected a few favorite products that can help add pumpkin to your dog’s daily diet.

What’s so great about pumpkin? 

This fruit  has plenty of health benefits for humans as well as their dogs. In addition to containing vitamins A,C, and E, pumpkin has antioxidants that support the immune system — it’s also known to help soothe upset stomachs in dogs.

👉 You should only feed your dog pumpkin if your vet recommends it.

The benefits of pumpkin for dogs 

When fed to a dog in the right form and portion, pumpkin has a vast number of 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 helps 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 who are prone to UTIs.

How pumpkin can help your dog’s diarrhea  

One of the most popular benefits of pumpkin for dogs is its impact on their immune system. Before you consider feeding your dog pumpkin to help ease their diarrhea, you need to know what’s causing your dog’s upset stomach. Don’t self-diagnose your dog’s digestive issues. It’s important to have a vet determine the cause of your pup’s diarrhea so they prescribe the right treatment.

If your dog’s digestive issues aren’t a result of a chronic illness or emergency, the vet may suggest pumpkin as a natural and healthy way to prevent your dog’s diarrhea. The soluble fiber in pumpkin adds to a dog’s stool and helps retain water. Fiber is a crucial element of a dog’s diet. It acts as a prebiotic which allows healthy bacteria to grow in a dog’s intestines.

🚨 Feeding your dog too much fiber can be a bad thing. It can cause adverse effects like increased diarrhea or unusual accidents around the house. Too much fiber can also prevent your dog’s body from absorbing other nutrients.

How much pumpkin is safe for dogs to consume 

It’s very important that you’re feeding your dog the right amount of pumpkin. The AKC recommends that you add 1-4 tablespoons of pumpkin to your dog’s meal. Here are the serving sizes that our vets recommend:

Dog size Serving size per meal
Small or medium dogs 1 - 2 teaspoons
Large dogs 1 tablespoon

It’s important to limit the calorie amount of pumpkin to less than 10% of your dog’s daily intake. Canned pumpkin contains 5 calories per tablespoon.

👉 Here’s a helpful guide from the AKC on how many calories your dog should eat a day.

The different types of pumpkin

You should only feed your pup plain pumpkin — Avoid pumpkin with spices, sugars, and salts that humans often eat. Pumpkin that’s safe for your dog typically 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, and never feed them carved pumpkins, especially if they were sitting outside. These parts of a pumpkin can be both a huge health hazard and cause problems for a dog’s digestive system.
  • Powdered pumpkin. Powdered pumpkin is easy to sprinkle over your dog’s food if you don’t have time to prepare fresh pumpkin. We recommend this pumpkin powder.
  • 100% pure canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin has lots of nutrients and even more than fresh pumpkin because it doesn’t contain as much water.

🚨 Don’t feed your dog sugar-free canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling, or canned products with additives like cinnamon, nutmeg, or xylitol (which is toxic to dogs). These spices can cause dangerous reactions including vomiting and high blood pressure.

The potential risks of feeding your dog pumpkin 

There aren’t many risks involved with feeding your dog pumpkin. However, you should never:

  • Feed your pup more than the recommended portion
  • Use pumpkin with additives (spices, salt, sugars, etc.)
  • Give your dog the wrong part of the pumpkin, like the pulp
  • Feed a dog pumpkin if they have an underlying health condition, like kidney disease, without talking to your vet.

Feeding your dog pumpkin in any of the ways mentioned above can cause problems like excess diarrhea,  indigestion, or toxicity.

🚨 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.

Dog vitamins and supplements containing pumpkin

Dogs can benefit from a daily dose of vitamins and supplements. Many of them contain pumpkin, which goes to show the food’s powerful benefits for dogs.

👉 Always discuss options with your vet before introducing pumpkin or a new supplement 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 with a bit of pumpkin sprinkled over it.