Pumpkin is a staple vegetable, especially over Halloween, when it even becomes a symbol for the season, and we all proudly sport our pumpkin-themed sweaters and show off our pumpkin carving skills. A lot of us get our dogs involved in the festivities too, but not many realize that pumpkin can be included in your dog’s diet.
Pumpkin is also versatile; it can be prepared as a sweet or savory dish, and there are many great ways to prepare it. Your dog will likely love the taste, and better yet, it will reap all its health benefits too.
Before You Start
Before you rush into the kitchen, there are some things to know about preparing and cooking pumpkin for your pal. It will be helpful to know about its health benefits, if it’s better raw or cooked, what parts of the pumpkin are suitable, how much your dog can eat, and some great pumpkin recipes.
It is also important to check if your dog enjoys the taste of pumpkin before you prepare a bunch. If your dog isn’t too keen, you could also try mixing a little puree with its food, sprinkling pumpkin flour over the food, or try baking some delicious and healthy treats.
Benefits of Pumpkin in a Dogs Diet
Pumpkin is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, and E and potassium and iron. Its fiber content is also great for your dog’s digestion. It can bulk up your dog’s stools to minimize diarrhea. Pumpkin is also a source of prebiotics to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.
Is It Better Raw or Cooked?
Dogs can eat pumpkins raw or cooked, but it will depend on your dog’s preference. If you are introducing pumpkin to your dog’s diet, you can offer it a taste of both to see which it likes best. Even though raw pumpkin is safe, the pulp may be hard to digest, so it is preferred to serve it cooked. Raw pumpkin has an increased risk of becoming a choking hazard. Furthermore, cooking it improves the taste, and there is a higher chance that your dog will enjoy and appreciate it.
What About Pumpkin Seeds and Skin?
It may surprise you that pumpkin is considered a fruit rather than a vegetable because of its sweet taste and because it is full of seeds. Raw, organic seeds are safe for your dog, so you can sprinkle some ground-up seeds on top of its food or use them in doggy treats. They can even be roasted and enjoyed on their own as a treat.
The skin of the pumpkin is non-toxic, but it is pretty tough, which makes it hard to digest. In addition, it’s likely your pup won’t enjoy the taste. It’s best to remove the rind and only serve the flesh. The pumpkin’s rind will be a great addition to your compost heap.
How Much Pumpkin Can I Feed My Dog?
As with everything you feed your dog, pumpkin should be served in moderation. Even though it has many health benefits, too much pumpkin can have harmful effects.
Depending on your dog’s size use ½ to 4 teaspoons of pumpkin in each meal. To avoid adding too much fiber, start with a small portion and gradually increase it. Always consult your veterinarian if you are unsure how much pumpkin to add to your dog’s diet.
How to Cook Pumpkin for Dogs
Pumpkin is versatile and can be cooked and prepared in various ways.
Once you have prepared your pumpkin with whichever method you choose, use a fork or toothpick to check that it is soft and tender and allow it to cool down. You can then freeze your pumpkin, blend it, or bake it into a dog-friendly treat.
Pumpkin puree is the easiest recipe to prepare and can be served with your dog’s food, on its own, added to other recipes, or even frozen for later. All you need for this recipe is the Pumpkin! You can prepare it using the previous methods and toss it into a blender with some water.
Pumpkin and Ginger Dog Biscuits
These biscuits are a delicious and nutritious treat for your dog. The prep time will take about 20 minutes, and baking will take around 2 hours. This recipe will make approximately 18 biscuits to keep your dog happy for a long time!
- ½ cup pumpkin
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- 2½ cups of oat flour
- 1 large beaten egg
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- ¼ cup water
Preheat the oven to 275°F
Combine the ginger and oat flour in a bowl
Add pumpkin, egg, and coconut oil to the bowl and mix it until crumbly
Add 1 TBSP of water at a time and slowly mix until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky.
Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to cut out your biscuits, then place them on a baking sheet.
Bake in the oven until the bottoms are brown, and the top starts to show cracks. This could take up to 2 hours.
Allow the cookies to cool and store them in an airtight container.
There are some great health benefits to feeding your dog pumpkin. It is a versatile ingredient that can be steamed, baked, or boiled, added to your dog’s meal, served alone, or baked into some tasty treats. The best method is to prepare a puree to freeze and store for later use. Don’t leave out the seeds either; they also have great benefits. They can easily be roasted and sprinkled over your dog’s food. Feeding your dog a healthy snack has never been this easy!
Featured Image Credit: Gamzova Olga, Shutterstock