Can My Dog Eat Pumpkin?
Is it the perfect festive treat? 🎃
One of the best parts of fall is pumpkin-spice-flavored everything — lattes, muffins and even ice cream. And while you’re sipping a pumpkin spice latte, you might want to give your dog a treat too. But can your dog even eat pumpkin?
Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin — but only in certain forms.
The Dodo spoke to Dr. Travis Davison, a veterinarian at Bluffton Veterinary Hospital in South Carolina, to find out everything you need to know about feeding your dog pumpkin safely.
Can my dog eat pumpkin?
In general, it’s totally safe for dogs to eat pumpkin! It can even be healthy for them.
“Pumpkin is good for dogs,” Dr. Davison told The Dodo. “From the veterinary perspective, we sometimes have people add it into pet diets as a fiber supplement. It can be part of a bland diet for dogs with a sensitive GI tract or used to help healthier stools.”
Benefits of pumpkin for dogs
There are lots of different benefits to giving your dog pumpkin — it’s full of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and minerals.
Some of the top benefits of pumpkin include:
- Vitamins A, C and E — These vitamins support your dog’s immune system, vision and cells.
- Beta carotene — Beta carotene supports eye and skin health.
- Fiber — Pumpkin has tons of fiber. Vets often recommend pumpkin to help digestion for dogs who have either constipation or diarrhea.
- Calcium — Calcium helps your dog’s teeth and bones.
- Iron — Iron supports red blood cell production.
- Lutein — Lutein helps your dog’s eyes, skin and coat.
- Potassium — Potassium keeps your dog’s heart and muscles healthy.
- Prebiotics — Prebiotics help your dog’s digestive system.
Dangers of pumpkin for dogs
However, as with any treat, moderation is best. If your dog eats too much pumpkin, he could consume too much fiber or too many vitamins. And while that may sound good, too much of those things can actually be dangerous.
If your dog has too much fiber, it can upset his digestive system and can also prevent him from absorbing other nutrients in his diet.
“Too much fiber could lead to constipation,” Dr. Davison said.
Pumpkin also has a lot of vitamin A, and too much vitamin A is toxic to dogs. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include:
- Lack of appetite
- Peeling skin
According to the Merck Manual of Veterinary Medicine, “The amount of vitamin A needed to cause toxic effects is 10 to 1,000 times the dietary requirements for most species.”
Which means it would take a lot of pumpkin and vitamin A to make your dog sick, but to be safe, feed your dog more of his regular food than pumpkin — you can add the pumpkin as a treat or a supplement.
Can dogs eat pumpkin puree?
Plain, canned pumpkin puree is the best way to feed your dog pumpkin.
“I usually suggest getting canned pumpkin and adding it to their regular food,” Dr. Davison said.
Just make sure the canned pumpkin you’re feeding your dog has no additives, like salt, sugar or other spices.
Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds and guts?
Dogs can eat the inside of a pumpkin (or the guts) and pumpkin seeds, since they’re not toxic.
“Although if they don't get digested well, it certainly could cause GI tract irritation passing through,” Dr. Davison said.
To prepare pumpkin seeds for your pup, you can clean, peel and cook them (they’ll technically be fine for your dog raw, but they’ll taste better for your pup if you prepare them), and don’t add any salt or seasoning. You can also grind the seeds to make them even easier for your dog to digest.
Can dogs eat pumpkin pie?
As cute as it would be to see a dog diving into a pumpkin pie, it’s not something you should feed your dog.
“It would be best not to [feed your dog pumpkin pie] due to the sugar and higher fat content (creme, crust, etc),” Dr. Davison said.
Pumpkin pie is not only unhealthy because of the sugar and fat, but it can be made with ingredients that are harmful to dogs, such as nutmeg. Canned pumpkin pie filling can also contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s highly toxic to dogs.
Can dogs eat raw pumpkin and pumpkin skin?
Your dog probably shouldn’t eat raw pumpkin or pumpkin skin. The stem and leaves have prickly hairs that could hurt your pup, and pumpkin skin and raw pumpkin aren’t super digestible — not to mention they wouldn’t taste very good to your dog.
Can dogs eat pumpkin bread?
You probably shouldn't feed your dog pumpkin bread either. Similar to pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread often contains other ingredients that can be dangerous to dogs, such as nutmeg, cloves, walnuts or chocolate.
How much pumpkin can I give my dog?
If you want to add canned pumpkin to your dog’s diet, you can add about 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin to your dog’s regular food per meal. Start out small, then you can increase the amount so you don’t add too much fiber all at once.
If you’re unsure about how much to give your pup, talk to your vet about what they recommend for your dog.
You can also give your dog pumpkin dog treats that are specifically made for dogs as an addition to his usual diet.
Try these pumpkin treats from Chewy for $6.20.
So the short version is your dog can eat pumpkin, and it can even be really good for him! Just make sure you don’t give him too much and that you give him plain, canned pumpkin with no other ingredients or spices.
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