Holiday season is fast approaching which means a plethora of squash, both decorative and edible. But did you know that the pumpkins popping up on porches around the county are actually packed full of much needed vitamins and minerals that can be helpful to your dog’s overall health in a number of ways? Both raw, cooked and canned pumpkin is safe and healthy for dogs. (If your dog has chronic kidney disease or diabetes, make sure to check with your vet.) Pumpkins do go rancid very quickly so make sure any pumpkin you feed your dog is free of rot or mold. If you choose to go with canned, make sure it’s organic and doesn’t have added sugar.
- Digestive Health – Canned natural pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber and helps with digestive regularity. If your dog is experiencing constipation or diarrhea, mix a tablespoon of pumpkin straight from the can into their normal food. Not only will they love the taste of pumpkin but it may also ease stomach issues. Pumpkin is a fabulous source of fiber for our furry friends, as well as for us. Pureed pumpkin (with no added sugar or spice) can help dogs and cats with both constipation and diarrhea. Adding a tablespoon or two (in proportion to their size) to their regular meal is known to help keep them regular. It can also help dogs with indigestion or upset stomachs.
- Urinary Tract Health – Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants (good for overall healthy skin and fur), They are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron, and may even reduce the likelihood your pet will develop cancer. Dogs with urinary incontinence, in particular, may benefit from a little pumpkin in their diet. Your dog will thank you for this yummy snack, too!
- Weight Management – Is your dog packing on the pounds this Fall? Well, pumpkin to the rescue! Dogs naturally love squash so if you are looking to take a few pounds off of your pooch or kitty, try reducing a portion of their food and replace it with the same portion of canned pumpkin. Their tummy will feel just as full, and they might even thank you for the additional flavor. Ask your veterinarian if replacing a portion of your dog’s regular diet with canned pumpkin — which is low in calories — will help your pooch trim the waistline.
Pumpkin Seed “Cookies”
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup pumpkin puree (look for sugar free or low sugar)
2 eggs (you can use 3 for moisture if you’d like)
2 cups rice flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir ingredients together until evenly mixed. Spread mixture to about 1/4 inch thin, then cut into desired shapes. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let cool before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.