The Halloween season is right around the corner, which means it's almost time for pumpkin everything: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, pumpkin-flavored cookies, pumpkin carvings for our porch — and now, pumpkins for dogs. If you have a dog that gets into everything — and eats everything he can find — inevitably, he'll try eating that jack-o-lantern you've got out on your porch. But before you start worrying about whether dogs can eat pumpkin, rest assured: this could be a good thing.
Okay, so you still shouldn't let your dog eat your Halloween decorations — after all, once you've cut up a pumpkin and left it out, it starts growing bacteria pretty quickly. But the American Kennel Club says fresh and canned pumpkin is a tasty treat that's actually good for your pet's health. It's packed with plenty of nutrients and fiber, and it also has beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A and C — all good things for your pooch. "Veterinarians have long known the benefits of adding a little canned pumpkin to a pet's diet regularly," veterinarian Dr. Carol McConnell told Nationwide pet insurance.
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Fresh pumpkin works, but canned pumpkin is actually better thanks to its lower water content. However, make sure to stay away from canned pumpkin with any added flavoring — like the kind you might use to make a pumpkin pie. Flavored pumpkin may contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which can be toxic for dogs. Even if the flavored pumpkin you find skips the xylitol, any added sugar, spices, or salts could be irritating for your dog's stomach. You can also give your pets pumpkin seeds, which you can roast and grind up over your pet's dinner.
The Merck Veterinary Manual recommends giving your dogs about 1-4 tablespoons per meal. Be careful not to give them much more. Like xylitol, too much Vitamin A can also be harmful to your furry friend.
Pumpkin seeds have the amino-acid cucurbitin, which can paralyze tapeworms and other intestinal parasites. The fiber in pumpkin flesh can help normalize digestion. And that fiber can help your dog feel fuller from their normal dinner, so if you've got a dog that's always sniffing around for seconds, pumpkin may help them feel more satisfied after eating. Vitamin A is good for your dog's vision while Vitamin C can boost your dog's immune system the same way that it boosts yours. Many dog owners also suggest that adding pumpkin to a dog's diet improves their coat and skin, and that the oils in pumpkin seeds and skin can help normalize a dog's urinary health.
Yep. All that fiber can help slow things down for your pooch. And similarly, that same fiber is good for constipated pups, too. However, if your dog's upset tummy continues, there may be other underlying causes. If you're worried, make sure to schedule a visit with your vet to make sure everything's okay.
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