It’s that time of year when the pumpkins are out and the carving begins, but what do you do with the seeds and flesh you’ve scraped out and cutaway? There’s only so much pumpkin pie you can eat on your own! But did you know that pumpkin contains many benefits to your pets?
Raw, Cooked, or Canned?
Both raw and cooked pumpkin is safe for dogs. Loaded with fibre, beta-carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A) and Vitamin C, raw or cooked fresh pumpkin and pumpkin seeds have many benefits for dogs and cats. Canned pumpkin is just as good, but make sure it’s organic and doesn’t have added sugar.
Pumpkin is a fabulous source of fibre. Pureed pumpkin can help dogs and cats with both constipation and diarrhoea as the fibre in pumpkin can act as a binding solution through your pet’s digestive tract, absorbing excess water and therefore helping pets with diarrhoea. For constipated pets, the water content in pureed canned pumpkin helps to loosen stools.
Adding a tablespoon or two to your pets meal once a day is known to help keep them regular. It should be in proportion to your pet’s size e.g., couple of teaspoons for a small dog like a chihuahua, 3-4 tablespoons for a larger dogs like a Labrador. It can also help dogs and cats with indigestion or upset stomachs. Cats are usually a little more picky – does your cat like pumpkin? If your dog or cat has diabetes or chronic kidney disease, always ask your vet first.
Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants which are good for overall healthy skin and fur. The oils in pumpkin flesh and seeds are believed to support urinary health. As they are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron, and may even reduce the likelihood that your pet will develop cancer.
Raw, organic pumpkin seeds also work as an effective deworming agent against tapeworms and other intestinal parasites in dogs and humans. Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid called cucurbitin, which paralyses and eliminates the worms from the digestive tract. They can be given whole or ground up in your pets meal. Give a quarter teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight once or twice a day until they are rid of the parasites.
Dogs seem to naturally love pumpkin and it’s low in fat and cholesterol. If you are looking to take a few pounds off of your pooch or kitty, try reducing a portion of their food and replace it with the same portion of pureed pumpkin. Their tummy will feel just as full, and they might even enjoy it more for the additional flavour.
Hairballs in Cats
Canned pumpkin can help hairballs pass all the way through your cat’s system. Mix in one to two tablespoons plain canned pumpkin to your cat’s food each day or a couple times a week. You can add it as is, but for cats with a sensitive stomach, warm up the pumpkin first.
Ready to try out some great pumpkin treats and games for your dog?
Halloween Pumpkin Kong Filler or Lick Mat Spread
2 tbsp Pumpkin Puree
1 tbsp Pumpkin seeds
1/2 of a Banana
1 tbsp Coconut oil
1 tbsp Peanut Butter
1 tbsp Natural Yoghurt
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then either put into a Kong or similar item, freeze overnight. Or spread on a lick mat for hours of yummy fun.
Teddy’s Pumpkin Treats
These treats can be broken into tiny bites which make them great for training. They are quick and easy and your dog will love them!
2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix ingredients together until blended, then spread dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired cookie shapes. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let cool before serving. Store in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 7 days.
Pumpkin Treat Bobbing
Bobbing for apples is one of the most popular Halloween games ever played. Use your pumpkin treats for this. Fill a bucket with water and pop them in for your dog to find.
Why not make it a competition?If you have dogs that don’t have resource guarding issues then you can make it a game. Make sure you have a bowl for each dog taking part and fill it with warm chicken broth. Drop the same number of dog treats in the bowl just before it’s time to play. Place each dog in front of their bowl, then let them bob for treats. First dog to consume all his treats wins.