Fall is in the air and the crisp scent of pumpkin spice is everywhere! If you haven’t thought about your holiday baking plans yet, we know you’ll be making your ingredients shopping list soon.
Don’t forget to add an extra pumpkin to your cart! Not only are pumpkins easy to come by this time of year, they are nutritious and delicious (for you and your pets).
How to Cook Your Dogs Pumpkin
There are many ways to add pumpkin to your dog's diet. You can cook and puree' it, then add a tablespoon to his meal. You can turn it into a delicious treat (see below for one idea), or you can give it to them raw (not all dogs will like this option).
To puree your pumpkin: just remove the seeds and cut into smaller pieces (the smaller the chunks, the shorter time to cook). Place face down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40-60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Remove skin, place in a food processor or blender and puree. No seasonings are needed! Place into container and store in freezer for up to 5 months.
If you don't already grow your own pumpkin, visit a nearby community farm in your area. Maybe you can even take your dog along in his best holiday costume to choose his own pumpkin.
Tip: Buy organically-grown pumpkin if you plan to eat it or give it to your pets. This helps avoid dangerous pesticides or chemicals.
Pumpkin is good for you and it’s great for your pets - dogs, cats and horses! It can help your pets lose weight, provide digestive support, and even ease both diarrhea and constipation. Here are our top 5 reasons why pumpkin is so impressive for dogs.
1. Pumpkin is a “Superfood”
This means it packs a punch in nutrition without putting on pounds. Raw pumpkin only has 15 calories per 1/2 cup. It's a natural source of iron, zinc and fiber and it's very high in beta carotene.
If you don't feel like chopping, cooking and pureeing a pumpkin, try one of the many canned pumpkin varieties. Most canned varieties of pumpkins offer more bioavailable beta carotene (but try to stick with organic sources).
2. Pumpkin is a Great “Filler”
Obesity is a huge problem for dogs around North America. After all, it's hard to say "no" to a dog who is constantly begging for food. But obesity creates many other health problems.
If you have a chowhound, add a tablespoon of pumpkin to your pet’s regular meal. Since it’s nutrient-dense, it helps them feel fuller without adding calories.
3. Pumpkin is Filled with Vitamins
Pumpkin is chock full of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It's also rich in Vitamin E, potassium, and iron.
These important vitamins help support your pet's vision, improve immune systems, and may even increase cell function. Best of all, it’s great for their skin!
4. Pumpkin is Rich in Fiber
Fiber is key to improving digestive function in us and our pets. There are seven grams of fiber in every cup of canned pumpkin and 3 grams per cooked or raw pumpkin. Super food, indeed!
All of that extra fiber can help your pet if they’re experiencing diarrhea OR constipation. Pretty impressive!
5. Less is More
A caveat - if you give your pet pumpkin solely for nutritional benefit, you would need to give them a LOT of pumpkin and this is NOT recommended. Pumpkin should be considered a low-calorie treat or supplement for pets. This interesting article from the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts tells you more.
If your dog has diabetes or chronic kidney disease, it's best to check with your veterinarian before giving them too much pumpkin on a regular basis - or any supplements, for that matter.
Here is one of our favorite ways to share pumpkin with our pets. They’re simple to make, last a long time and dogs love these treats!