Plain canned pumpkin is not only a fun and low-calorie ingredient to use in homemade dog treats but also a good source of fiber and nutrients for most dogs. But not all types of canned pumpkin are safe for dogs to eat so let’s talk about the pros and cons of adding this popular pumpkin treat to your dog’s diet.
I’ve always been a big fan of giving canned pumpkin to my dogs.
It’s an easy way to add some extra goodness to their diet and all of my dogs have always liked it.
One thing that I’m not crazy about when it comes to giving plain canned pumpkin to dogs is the way people use this as a cure so freely to treat dog diarrhea.
Don’t get me wrong, pumpkin is a great and healthy food for dogs and it can benefit some dogs that have occasional bouts with soft store and intestinal upset but it is not a cure for many common and serious GI problems in dogs.
I’m speaking from experience from a dog that suffered from chronic IBD and pancreatitis and pumpkin did not cure nor help his condition.
Pumpkin is great and I give it to my current dogs almost daily but it is definitely not a cure for every dog’s upset stomach.
I, personally (who is not a veterinarian), think that pumpkin given in moderation is a good supplement for dogs that have no serious medical conditions.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get to the good stuff about giving plain pumpkin to dogs!
Is Canned Pumpkin Good For Dogs?
Canned pumpkin has many great health benefits for dogs, including aiding with digestive health, and is safe to be given to most healthy dogs in moderation.
Both fresh pureed pumpkin and plain canned pumpkin are good sources of nutrients and fiber.
Canned pumpkin has high fiber content and is an excellent source of soluble fiber that also contains beta carotene, essential vitamins and minerals.
Specifically, it contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and iron but it is about 90% water.
Unfortunately, not all dogs will like the taste of pumpkin so you might have to get creative if you want them to enjoy the benefits of pumpkin in their diet.
Pumpkin For Dogs With Diarrhea
One of the most common reasons that pumpkin is given to dogs is to help with diarrhea.
The natural fiber content of the pumpkin helps to slow down digestion by adding bulk to the dog’s stool.
When given in appropriate amounts, canned pumpkin might help ease the symptoms of diarrhea and upset stomach in dogs.
The added fiber in pumpkin helps to pull moisture from a dog’s body which could help to soften a dog’s poop making it easier to pass through.
Since there can be so many reasons for diarrhea to occur in dogs it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian instead of relying on pumpkin to be a cure.
Adding too much pumpkin can actually cause diarrhea and no one wants that to happen.
Pumpkin For Dog Constipation
The Merck Veterinary Manual states that adding 1-to-4 tablespoons of pumpkin per meal to the diet of a dog suffering from constipation can help ease mild constipation.
It’s always important to make sure that dogs are well hydrated and have access to plenty of water when you increase the fiber in their food because dehydration can make constipation worse.
How Much Canned Pumpkin To Give A Dog
How much plain canned pumpkin you give your dog will depend on why you’re giving it to them.
You should always consult with your veterinarian to determine the amount of pumpkin your dog should get and for how long.
I give 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin to Odin who is 117 pounds once a day and 2 Teaspoons to Finn who is 30 pounds.
However, I give this on a semi-daily basis and I am not treating them for any specific condition.
There doesn’t seem to be a set “dose” for small dogs or large dogs in regards to adding pumpkin to their diet, you just have to know your dog and watch their stools but the American Kennel Club suggests adding 1-4 tablespoons to your dog’s food.
Whenever you add new food to your dog’s diet, always start out on the lower end and gradually increase over time.
What Kind Of Canned Pumpkin Can You Give To Dogs?
100% pure plain pumpkin is best for dogs.
There are some specific pumpkin products made for dogs that contain other ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, and apples.
You want to stay away from pumpkin pie mix because it contains some ingredients that can be toxic to dogs such as nutmeg.
I always try to use Libby’s 100% Pumpkin because I feel like their consistency is the best especially when adding it to homemade recipes but I’ve used all of the brands pictured above.
Libby’s also has an organic pumpkin puree now too.
Organic canned pumpkin is usually a lighter color and has more moisture.
Other types of canned pumpkin you can give to dogs are:
- Fruitables Pumpkin
- Nutrivet Digestive Supplement (fresh pumpkin + superblend)
- Nummy Tum-Tum Organic Pumpkin
- Wervua Pumpkin Pouches (not worth it for a big dog)
Many grocery stores will also carry their own brand of canned pumpkin just make sure that you’re not buying the pumpkin filling.
You can also make your own homemade pumpkin puree with pie pumpkins.
I’ll be making some for the first time this week and I’ll be sure to share how it goes!
The best brand of canned pumpkin for your dog will be based on your budget and in what way you’re going to add it to your dog’s diet.
Where To Buy Canned Pumpkin For Dogs
You can buy cans of plain pumpkin at most grocery stores and pet stores.
You can also purchase a dog-specific canned pumpkin from most pet stores like Petco and Pet Supplies Plus.
Tractor Supply also carries it in their pet health section. (I checked yesterday.)
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Pie Mix?
Since most pumpkin pie recipes have fillings that contain artificial sweeteners and spices such as nutmeg that can be toxic to a dog, pumpkin pie mix should not be given.
Stick with plain or pureed fresh pumpkin or a pumpkin supplement made specifically for dogs.
Can Dogs Have Too Much Canned Pumpkin?
Dogs can have too much pumpkin which can lead to diarrhea so use it in moderation.
This means that your dog should not be consuming more pumpkin than actual dog food.
The best way dog owners can give their dogs a tasty treat of pumpkin is in small amounts.
How To Store Canned Pumpkin For Dogs
Most varieties of canned pumpkin can be stored in the refrigerator properly covered for up to 7 days.
It can also be stored in the freezer for a few months.
You can store it in the freezer using freezer-safe containers or even ice cubes trays.
Easy Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats
There are a variety of ways that pet parents can give their dog a healthy treat of pumpkin.
- Add it to your dog’s food
- Make it into a frozen treat
- Add it to yummy homemade baked dog treat recipes
- Use it as a filler in a Toppl or Kong
- Spread it on a lick mat
- Make peanut butter and pumpkin ice cream
- No-bake pumpkin meatballs
The list is almost endless when it comes to making delicious treats for dogs with canned or fresh pumpkin.
I like to keep things as simple as possible and will often just freeze some pumpkin in dog-themed molds and top with a frozen green bean but you can also add some plain yogurt, bone broth, cottage cheese, bananas, or peanut butter to ice cube trays, freeze and serve them up to your dog.
*Pumpkin does contain naturally-occurring sugars so dogs with diabetes should only use pumpkin in their diet under the supervision of a veterinarian.
More Pumpkin For Dogs Content
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