5 min read

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?


By Wag! Staff

Published: 03/30/2023, edited: 03/12/2024

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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As you know, dogs aren't fussy eaters and will happily scoff down any scraps from anywhere, anyone, any time. Regardless of what's on our plate, our pups want a taste. Sometimes this can be a very bad idea — they can eat foods that are toxic or poisonous if you’re not careful. 

While they’re sniffing about the place, they might encounter some pumpkin and gobble it down. But — can dogs eat pumpkin? Is pumpkin good for dogs? Or is it bad for dogs?

The answer is yes; dogs can eat pumpkin. In fact, pumpkin is fabulously healthy for dogs when prepared properly. Pumpkin can be a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, both for us and for our pups. 

In this guide we’ll explain everything there is to know about pumpkin for dogs. So, read on to learn about the health benefits of pumpkin and how much pumpkin you should feed your dog.

Do dogs like pumpkin?

Generally, dogs like pumpkin thanks to its slightly sweet taste. That said, you might occasionally come across a fussy pup that doesn't like the taste of this unusual fruit. You could also be living with a dog who happens to have a pumpkin allergy — an allergy that can trigger wheezing, gas, itchy skin, and ear infections. Not good.

Pumpkin doesn’t taste strong, so you can definitely get away with mixing some into your fussy dog's food if you want to incorporate it into their diet. But if your dog doesn't like the taste of pumpkin, don't fret in the slightest — it's not an essential part of their diet. 

Health benefits of pumpkin for dogs

Pumpkin isn’t a food to be scared of; it’s bursting with goodness. Many pet parents add pumpkin to their dog's diet to give them additional nutrients. Here's a look at three health benefits of pumpkins for dogs.

High in fiber

Pumpkins are high in soluble fiber, which adds bulk to your dog's stools, aiding digestion. The fiber in pumpkin is prebiotic, increasing good bacteria levels while lowering bad bacteria levels in your dog's intestines. Due to its high fiber levels, pumpkin can help treat diarrhea and constipation

High in vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for dogs, aiding almost every system in the animal’s body. It helps power their immune system, keep their eyes and coat healthy, promote bone growth, and much more.

High in potassium and iron 

Pumpkin contains many minerals and is high in potassium and iron. Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes for dogs, working with sodium to prevent dehydration. Meanwhile, iron helps supply oxygen to the circulatory system and helps to build red blood cells. 

The nutritional content of pumpkins

As we’ve established, pumpkins provide dogs with lots of nutrients, with their high levels of vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and iron making them a popular ingredient in dog food. Here's a breakdown of the nutritional content of pumpkins per 100g:

  • Energy: 20 kcal
  • Protein: 0.72 g
  • Total fat: 0.07 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.9 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Sugar: 2.08 g
  • Calcium: 15 mg
  • Iron: 0.57 mg
  • Magnesium: 9 mg
  • Phosphorus: 30 mg
  • Potassium: 230 mg
  • Sodium: 1 mg

(Source: FoodData Central)

Husky dog with slice of pumpkin in mouth

How much pumpkin can I give my dog?

You should feed your dog plain canned pumpkin when possible. Canned pumpkin is precooked, and dogs find this easier to digest than raw pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is also more accessible, convenient (as you’ll know if you’ve ever tried to cart one around), and can be found in stores all year round. 

You'll want to feed your dog between one and four tablespoons of pumpkin — four if you’ve got a large breed, and only one if your pup is on the petite side. You could also consider switching to a different dog food that already incorporates pumpkin. Remember, It’s always wise to consult your vet before changing your dog's diet.

Can dogs eat pumpkin spice?

Pumpkin spice is one of the most common and popular fall flavors, but is it safe for dogs? The answer is no; pumpkin spice isn't safe for dogs. Surprisingly, pumpkin spice doesn't even contain pumpkin. 

Pumpkin spice is actually composed of a mixture of spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and ginger. Some of these spices, like nutmeg, are toxic to dogs in large quantities. Cloves and allspice contain eugenol, which is toxic and can cause liver disease

Many pumpkin spice-flavored foods are also unsafe for dogs. Baked goods are too high in sugar and may contain toxic sweeteners like xylitol. Pumpkin-spiced lattes are unsafe for dogs due to their high caffeine and sugar levels.

Can dogs eat pumpkin pie?

We’ve established that dogs can’t eat pumpkin spice, but can dogs eat pumpkin pie? The answer is no — no matter how much they turn on those puppy dog eyes, you shouldn’t let your dog eat pumpkin pie. Just like pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie often contains spices like nutmeg, which are toxic to dogs in high doses. 

Pumpkin pie contains lots of sugar, which is dangerous for your pet. Cloves and allspice — also toxic to dogs — are also sometimes used as flavorings. Enjoy pumpkin pie without your pup if you're baking this festive dessert for Thanksgiving.

Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds?

Similarly, you may have thought to yourself, can dogs eat pumpkin seeds? We tend not to eat them, but what about our canine buddies? Dogs seem to like eating pumpkin seeds, thanks to their crunchy texture and the fact that they resemble dog treats. The answer is yes, your dog can snack on some cooked pumpkin seeds. 

You should, however, only feed your dog a few pumpkin seeds at a time; they can upset your dog's stomach as they're difficult to digest. If you have a small pup, you'll want to avoid feeding it pumpkin seeds, as they can be a choking hazard. 

Pumpkin for dogs is a great idea and we’d recommend it. Pumpkin is a popular ingredient in dog food because dogs like its mild and sweet taste, it's high in fiber, and packed with minerals and vitamins.

Many pet parents find pumpkin especially good at preventing and managing diarrhea. It’s safe to feed your dog pumpkin, but, to be on the safe side, you should consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet. 

Can dogs eat canned pumpkin?

By now, we hope you’re beginning to realize that pumpkin comes in many different formats, but we’re not done yet. There’s another to cover — so, can dogs eat canned pumpkin? It may come as a slight surprise but actually, they can. Canned pumpkin is fine for dogs to eat but it has to be plain. Avoid any canned pumpkin that might have spices or seasoning. Make sure you read the labeled ingredients carefully.

A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.

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