Can dogs eat pumpkin? Can cats eat pumpkin? Yes, they can! In fact, pumpkin is great for pets and offers several health benefits. It’s one of our favorite pet superfoods. You just need to know how to prepare it properly. Here’s our guide to DIY pumpkin treats for dogs and cats!
The Benefits of Pumpkin for Pets
The first major benefit of pumpkin is that it’s a known stomach-soother. It contains a great deal of soluble fiber that can help absorb excess water in the digestive tract. This in turn reduces or can even totally relieve diarrhea.
Another tummy-related benefit of our favorite pet treat is that it can cure constipation. Fiber is a natural laxative. It also contains moisture. The combination of moisture and and fiber leads to solid and regular bowel movements — a key part of good gastrointestinal health. Regular pooping means your pet is happy and healthy!
You know how this superfood is a laxative? This also aids with furball prevention. The fiber moves fur through your cat’s intestinal tract. That way the fur ends up in your pet’s poop and not in a hairball on your floor!
The fiber in pumpkin also helps with weight control. Fiber contributes to a feeling of fullness, without adding excess calories. This is one reason why humans are encouraged to eat lots of fiber-filled veggies when they’re trying to lose weight. The fiber makes your stomach feel full and satisfies your hunger without packing on the pounds.
Pets can eat this treat, as well as the seeds, provided it’s prepared properly. The seeds contain fatty acids that are good for their skin and fur. And they’re yummy too!
Here are some additional nutrients in pumpkin:
- Vitamin A makes for a good immune system and vision
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps regulate enzyme activity
- Lutein keeps eyes, skin and fur healthy
- Vitamin C also helps with enzyme reactions and collagen synthesis
- Alpha carotene is another antioxidant that helps keep cells healthy
- Calcium keeps bones and teeth nice and strong
- Iron is important for oxidation, cellular respiration and hemoglobin production
How to Prepare Pumpkin Treats for Dogs and Cats
Don’t just feed your pets any ol’ pumpkin you have lying around. Pets can only eat certain parts of a pumpkin and it needs to be prepared properly. Don’t feed your cats and dogs any part of the stem, as it’s rough on digestive tracts. The skin is also difficult to digest. Don’t feed your pets the gooey center of the pumpkin or raw pumpkin either. You also want to avoid old pumpkin and any kind of pumpkin that contains additives, spices, sugar or fillers.
So what kind of pumpkin CAN you feed your pets? Lots! 100% plain canned pumpkin is easy to serve your pets since you don’t have to cook it. Just make sure it’s free of other ingredients. You can also serve fresh pumpkin. Simply remove the seeds and bake it in your oven until it’s soft. And for a crunchy treat, you can feed your pets pumpkin seeds. Clean them first, roast them in your oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees, let them cool and then grind them up in your pet’s food.