Not only is pumpkin good for you, but the benefits of pumpkin for dogs and cats make the season’s signature squash a yummy year-round treat. Keep reading to learn what pumpkin can do for your pet.
1. Did you know that grinding pumpkin seeds into your pet’s food is a great way to make sure they’re getting enough protein, carbohydrates and fiber? Roast the seeds and then grind them up, but do not add salt.
2. Additionally, one of the benefits of pumpkin seeds is that they contain cucurbitin, an amino acid that acts as a natural de-worming agent by paralyzing tapeworms and other intestinal parasites.
3. The soluble fiber in pumpkin flesh slows digestion and can help manage diarrhea by absorbing water.
4. Pumpkin also helps with constipation due to its high fiber and water content.
5. Pumpkin is great for “bulking up” your animal’s food. The extra fiber will also help a dog or cat feel full, even if they’re eating fewer calories overall. For this reason, pumpkin can aid in a pet’s weight loss program as well. Try substituting a tablespoon of canned pumpkin for a ¼ cup of food.
6. Since pumpkin slows digestion, your pet will feel fuller for longer.
7. Pumpkin flesh contains vitamin A, which is important for vision health.
8. The flesh also contains vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.
9. Dogs with joint problems need more vitamin C than they produce naturally, and pumpkin is a good source.
10. Pumpkin slows the aging process with its bountiful antioxidant beta-carotene.
11. The zinc in pumpkin will help improve skin and coat.
12. Oils found in pumpkin seeds and flesh are believed to support urinary health. Dogs with urinary incontinence, in particular, may benefit from a little pumpkin in their diet.
13. The fiber in pumpkin can help move furballs along through your cat’s digestive tract and into the litter box, rather than hacked up onto the carpet. Regularly including about a teaspoon a day of pumpkin in your cat’s diet will also help prevent the formation of new furballs.
The best way to use pumpkin is to purchase plain canned pumpkin. You don’t want the “ready for a pie” version that has added fats and spices. Many pets like plain pumpkin, so you can just add it to their regular pet food. Talk to your veterinarian about how much pumpkin to safely give your pet since it will vary depending on your pet’s size and current diet.