How Pumpkin Aids Your Dog's Digestion & Promotes Good Health

Date: March 19, 2018
Health + Wellness

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When we rescued Penelope a year and a half ago, she was incredibly sick. In the beginning, we assumed it was worms since most puppies coming from bad situations tend to have them, and we were right. It was a bad case of Giardia

isabella-and-penelope-penny-pumpkin.pngHowever, after being treated several times and with the Giardia no longer in her system, Penny was still suffering from terrible diarrhea. It was so bad that she wasn’t gaining weight, my patient husband was taking her out 10 times a night (I’m not even exaggerating), and she was completely exhausted during the day from her rough nights. And her nickname of "stinky Poo" was born (ha!).

After further investigation,  our vet came to the conclusion that she simply has a weak digestive system. We began trying different puppy foods catered to sensitive stomachs. And while we tried three different high-quality foods designed for sensitive puppy tummies, nothing worked.

Three months into having Penny and three months of little to no sleep, we found ourselves up one night desperately looking for some sort of digestive supplement to ease her tummy and give us all some rest. We wanted our baby happy and healthy.

That’s when we stumbled upon the many benefits of pumpkin. We immediately gave it a try and couldn’t have been more happy with the results! Penelope is now a healthy, happy girl and her tummy issues have completely subsided by having pumpkin as a supplement in her organic dog food.

Read on to learn how pumpkin aids in a dog’s digestion, and some of the other added benefits.

1. Pumpkin Promotes Digestive Regularity in Your Dog

pumpkin-isabella-and-penelope.pngPumpkin acts a digestion regulatory supplement for dogs. Pumpkin is high in fiber and water content, slowing digestion, so it’s beneficial whether you are looking to firm up your dog’s stool or aid in relieving constipation.  That’s why it immediately cleared up Penelope’s diarrhea.

Even if your pup isn’t experiencing either of these issues, pumpkin is still a great supplement to add to your dog’s food because it ensures no strain is put on your dog’s intestines. 

2. Pumpkin Naturally Aids in Controlling Parasites

Even if your puppy has been dewormed and your dog is up to date on all his shots, they can still come in contact with parasites. Pumpkin helps to naturally aid in controlling parasites, like tapeworms, that can hurt your dog’s digestive system. 

How? Well, pumpkin contains high amounts of amino acid cucurbitacin, and it’s highly toxic to many common parasites dogs suffer from. Now, if your dog is experiencing symptoms of parasites, you should still take him to the vet for treatment, but pumpkin can also help the situation long-term.

3. Pumpkin Boosts Immune Health & is Rich in Nutrients

isabella-and-penelope-puppy-penny-snow.pngAll around pumpkin is a great supplement to include in your dog’s diet. It contains many vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, and zinc - all of which offer great benefits to your pup. These nutrients are essential for immune health and can possibly prevent certain cancers by destroying harmful bacteria that can damage the body.

For instance, Vitamin A is important for eye health and vision; zinc hydrates and promotes a lush coat; and potassium regulates blood pressure, improves muscle health and assists metabolism. There are no downsides to supplementing with pumpkin.

How to Determine the Amount of Pumpkin to Give Your Pup

So, how much pumpkin and what kind of pumpkin should you be giving your dog? 

Great question. While pumpkin offers many benefits, it’s also a high calorie, fatty supplement so offering too much could cause weight gain. If your dog has suffered from obesity in the past, you should really consult your vet before offering it to your dog to ensure the portion size you’re offering along with kibble is ideal for your dog's specific situation.

If your dog is of a healthy weight, typically one teaspoon of pumpkin for every 10 pounds of body weight per day is a good measurement to go by. We feed Isabella one tablespoon and Penelope half a tablespoon per meal.

In regards to the type of pumpkin, that’s entirely up to you as long as the pumpkin does not contain any added sweeteners or spices. 

pumpkin-puree-isabella-and-penelope.jpgWe buy cans of organic pumpkin puree as it’s the easiest option for our family. If you go this route, you’ll want to make sure it’s the natural organic pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling with additives. We just scoop a tablespoon out and add it to the girls’ food.

That said, the puree is also easily frozen in ice cube trays if you prefer to offer it as a cool treat in the summer months, and this is a great recipe for baking pumpkin dog treats as well.

Have Questions?

Needless to say, I’m a firm believer in offering pumpkin as a dietary supplement for dogs. It’s worked wonders for Isabella and Penelope, and I’ve seen the immediate results of how it’s aided in Penny’s digestion.

If you have any questions about supplementing with pumpkin, we’d love to help! Shoot us a comment below.