From your front doorstep, to pies, to lattes, pumpkins are everywhere this time of year! While you enjoy your pumpkin for the season, let your pet enjoy it too! Pumpkin has many health benefits for your furry friends, so consider adding it to their food or treat routine. Their bodies will thank you too for this healthy snack!
Here are 13 ways pumpkin can benefit your pet:
1. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Roast the seeds and then grind them up. Do not add salt.
2. Additionally, tapeworms and other intestinal parasites become paralyzed by cucurbitin, an amino acid in pumpkin seeds that acts as a natural de-worming agent.
3. Pumpkin flesh contains soluble fiber, which helps slows digestion, and can help manage diarrhea by absorbing water.
4. Alternatively, 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.