Pumpkins and Pets: The Pros and Cons You Should Know

Pumpkin is a typical icon that makes the fall season so unique by adding a warming yellow-orange vibe to every corner. Pumpkins are the favorite ingredients for delicious foods such as pumpkin pies or pumpkin spice latte to some of us. But if you know how to process pumpkins correctly, they are a rich protein source for our pets.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of pumpkins and how we can make full use of them. Also, you should know some cautions of processing pumpkins to avoid unexpected harmful effects on your pet health.

Let’s get started.

Take Advantage of Health Benefits from Pumpkins

Pumpkin is super squash. A long list of nutrients found in pumpkins makes this kind of winter squash delicious and nutritious than most other vegetables.

A variety of valuable nutrients, including vitamin A, C, E, K, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, just to name a few, are contained in pumpkins, making them healthy treats for pets.

  • Mineral and Vitamin:
    • Vitamin A and carotenoid content in pumpkins are crucial for brain and eye development. Also, providing carotenoids to your pets’ meals will support their skin health.
    • The combination of Vitamin C, E, antioxidants, and vitamin A when consuming pumpkin benefits comprehensive pets’ immune systems. Those vitamins are also a potent combo that prevents or reduces the development of certain types of cancer.
    • Vitamin E and potassium promote heart health overall for our pets. They also support dogs’ internal organs perfectly.
dog and pumpkins
  • Probiotic:
    • Probiotics support beneficial or good bacterias, which help the body fight off bad bacteria, boost the immune system, and improve digestive health amazingly. Adding pumpkins to your pet’s meal will provide an essential probiotic amount supporting your dog and cat health in general.
  • High in fiber and low in calories making pumpkin an excellent food that adds vital nutrients for your pets while efficiently controlling their weight

How to Use Pumpkin Correctly

It’d not be an exaggeration when saying we can leverage most parts of a pumpkin, even its seeds. Yes, especially its seeds.

  • Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, often found in a thin layer under the shell, also known as the endosperm layers. They also contain oil and Omega 3 fatty acids, helping your pet’s urinary tract, incontinence, and removing kidney stones effectively.
  • Keep pumpkin plain. Pumpkin itself is delicious and nutritious already. Thus, you don’t need to process it like human treats when feeding it to your pets. Some spices like cinnamons or added sugar often combined with pumpkin in some pet food can actually get your pet sick.
  • Canned pumpkin is better. Compared to the water content in fresh pumpkins, canned ones have less water, which means they contain more nutrients. So a plain canned pumpkin without any ingredients is an excellent choice for your pet.
plain pumpkin and seeds
  • Say no to pumpkin skin and stems. Most but not every part of a pumpkin is edible. Giving pumpkin skin and stems to your pet can cause an upset stomach or indigestion.
  • Feed your pets the right amount of pumpkin. Even though pumpkin can help your dog with diarrhea if adding one to four tablespoons to their daily meals, feeding them with a considerable amount might worsen the diarrhea situation. Too much vitamin A can also cause toxicity for your pets. So make sure your pets drink a lot of water after eating food with added pumpkin.
  • Do not reuse Jack O’ Lantern. After Halloween, most of us may want to let our pets play around with the old pumpkin, and that’s dangerous. Those carved pumpkins that have been sitting outside for a long time can breed mold and bacteria. Letting our precious furry friends eat is a real scary thing on Halloween.
  • Store Pumpkin Properly. Some pumpkins are big, which means we can’t consume them all at once. Hence, you can store it into an ice cube tray and put it in a freezer to make frozen treats for your pets. Or divide them into different portions, put them in zip lock bags, or containers and keep them refrigerated.

Be Aware of Harmful Effects when Feeding Pumpkins to Your Pet

Again the amount of pumpkin added to your pet food will determine its effectiveness or harmfulness.

Consuming too much fiber, which is pretty rich in pumpkin, can cause digestive distress and prevent the absorption of other nutrients in their food. If it happens for a long time, your pet may suffer deficiency due to a lack of necessary proteins and nutrients from other food sources.

To know the right amount of pumpkin you should provide to your pet’s daily meal, reach out to your veterinarian for better advice.

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