Can Your Dog Eat Pumpkins For Spooky Season?

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on October 31st, 2023

Halloween is upon us! Which means that pumpkins are everywhere, including in our coffee drinks, autumn pies, and in the form of Jack-o-Lanterns. So, you might be wondering: can dogs eat pumpkins?

In this article, we’ll talk about the potential health benefits of pumpkins plus some do’s and don’ts this spooky season!

Can dogs eat pumpkin?
The short answer to whether your dog can eat pumpkin is yes! In fact, many commercial dog foods, including some lines of Purina and Nature’s Variety, include pumpkin as a main ingredient. This is because this ghoulish gourd and similar squashes are easily digestible and full of Vitamins A, C, and E, plus a few minerals such as iron and potassium. They are also low in calories, making them an acceptible treat for overweight doggos.

According to WebMD, pumpkin is a great option for dogs with an upset stomach, as it can help to absorb excess water in their digestive system that may be causing diarrhea. And because of its fiber content, pumpkin can also help dogs with constipation, too!

Finally, pureed pumpkin is a great way to soften your dog’s dry food, which can be helpful if they have sensitive teeth.

Downsides of pumpkin
As with any kind of veggie that you give to your dog, it’s important to understand that too much fiber can be a bad thing. As such, it’s always best to introduce new plant ingredients slowly and with the go-ahead from your vet.

You’ll also want to make sure that your doggo isn’t eating pumpkin that has been carved or painted into a Jack-o-Lantern. These pumpkins are generally considered unsafe to eat because of the risk of bacteria contamination or in the case of pumpkin painting, contamination from non-edible paints. Plus, that hard outer rind and stem can pose a choking hazard.

Given these health risks, you can see that it’s important to properly prepare and ration your dog’s pumpkin portions. 

Finally, while not a health risk, there is the possibility that your dog simply won’t like pumpkin! If possible, offer them a little taste to start or mix it in with their food. That way, you’ll know if it’s worth the time and effort of preparing pumpkin for them!

Do’s and don’ts of feeding your dog pumpkin
Ready to introduce your dog to this magical autumn treat? Here are a few do’s and don’ts for safely giving your dog pumpkin:

Do: Check the label on canned pumpkin

Ideally, you want a canned pumpkin option that does not contain any added salt or sugar. It’s also important to be on the lookout for xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that is toxic for dogs.

Don’t: Give your dog anything pumpkin spiced

Regardless of your personal opinions about the pumpkin spice craze, it’s important to ensure that your doggo doesn’t jump on the trend. That’s because some ingredients in pumpkin spice, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove, can lead to digestive upset or more serious health issues.

Do: Consider preparing the pumpkin yourself

If you’re worried about the ingredients in canned pumpkin or can’t find a version that doesn’t have pumpkin spice, you can prepare pumpkin for your dog yourself! In fact, there are many different varieties of pumpkin available this time of year, all with their own unique flavor profile and nutritional content.

No matter which squash variety you choose, an easy way to prepare pumpkin for your dog is boiled and mashed or cut into bite-sized chunks. Pumpkin can also be cut into wedges or halves (seeds removed) and baked on parchment paper at 400 degrees F for an hour. When the pumpkin is fork-tender, you can scoop it out and puree it. With either cooking option, it’s important not to season or use oils.

Do: Properly store cooked pumpkin

Cooked pumpkin can stay fresh in the fridge for up to three to four days or in the freezer for six months.

Don’t: Give your dog the skin, stem or seeds

These parts of the pumpkin are too difficult to digest for your pup. And, even though your dog may love to chew on the stem, it poses a choking hazard.

Do: Make sure your dog has a well-rounded diet

Nowadays, many loving dog owners are tempted to take their dog’s dietary needs into their own hands. 

But, we always recommend relying on veterinarian-approved diets for dogs! Pumpkin can be a good addition in moderation, but it shouldn’t be considered as a long-term alternative to a balanced dog food. After all, commercial dog foods must undergo a nutritional review that will keep your pupper in good health.

Opting for a dog food that already has pumpkin in it is a great way to make sure that your doggo is benefitting from this healthy, tasty squash! And, you’ll save yourself the hassle of cutting, boiling, and pureeing. 

Don’t: Forgo a vet visit in favor of a DIY pumpkin remedy

While pumpkin may be soothing to your dog’s upset stomach, it won’t solve underlying digestive issues. You should plan on a vet visit if your dog has constipation or diarrhea for more than two days or they are showing additional symptoms, such as lack of energy or vomitting. 

Looking for other ways to celebrate the spooky season with your dog?
Here at BreezeGuard, we love including Fido in all of our favorite holidays! That’s why you’ll find even more Halloween-themed articles on our blog, including 5 Halloween Activities You Can Do With Your Dog and Should You Take Your Dog Trick-or-Treating, and more! 

Enjoy, and remember to keep your furry friend safe this spooky season with BreezeGuard Screens for your car


Comments are closed.