From pumpkin spiced lattes to pumpkin bread, pie and beyond, humans love the chance to eat anything pumpkin flavored, especially when fall rolls around. Your pet is no different.
“Dogs have evolved to have an affinity for sweet flavors, so pumpkin is the perfect treat since it’s sweet without added sugar,” says Dr. TB Thompson, a veterinarian in Phoenix, Arizona.
Pumpkin is a fun ingredient to include in homemade dog treats and can be used as a digestive aid to treat ailments like diarrhea and constipation. And unlike some digestive supplements, which your veterinarian may prescribe for the same symptoms, your pup will actually enjoy eating canned pumpkin for dogs.
Is Canned Pumpkin Good for Dogs?
According to veterinarians, plain, canned pumpkin for dogs is good for dogs. It contains a mixture of vitamins, like vitamin A, E and C, as well as iron and potassium.
“Canned pumpkin (or pumpkin puree) can add an extra source of fiber for dogs and can be mixed in with their regular dog food,” says Dr. Anthony Hall, a veterinarian with Private Vet Consulting.
He stresses, however, that it’s important not to mistake canned pumpkin for pumpkin pie filling or mix, which can cause diarrhea in dogs. It’s also important not to give your dog too much canned pumpkin, as excessive fiber can lead to constipation.
Can I Give My Dog Pumpkin Every Day?
Hall doesn’t recommend giving dogs canned pumpkin on a daily basis. While healthy dogs can eat canned pumpkin occasionally without safety concerns, he says canned pumpkin for dogs should only be served as a special treat or as relief for an upset stomach.
“Dogs should be fine with regular dog food and generally do not need any supplementation with a nutritionally balanced commercial diet,” says Hall.
And dogs with particularly sensitive stomachs might need to avoid canned pumpkin entirely if it causes excessive gas or diarrhea. “Check with your vet before giving [canned pumpkin] to diabetic dogs, as it could alter blood glucose control if you feed it to your dog regularly,” Hall says.
Canned Pumpkin Benefits for Dogs
Given appropriately, canned pumpkin may help ease the symptoms of upset stomach in dogs. The fiber in pumpkin will pull moisture from your pup’s body and can help stool soften and pass, says Dr. Evelyn Kass, a veterinarian in Phoenix and founder of Pet Nutrition Doctor. Fiber can also help to support a healthy microbiome in your dog’s gut.
And when it comes to using canned pumpkin for dog constipation, Kass warns that if your dog is constipated because of dehydration, it’s important to rehydrate before giving the pumpkin. “Hydration is always the first therapy for constipation,” she says.
Canned Pumpkin for Dogs: 9 Ways to Use It
Canned pumpkin can be given to your pup in a variety of ways. Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate it into your dog’s diet:
Add it to their food. Plain canned pumpkin for dogs can be used as a food topper or can simply be mixed into your pet’s food.
Incorporate it into a tasty frozen treat. Hall suggests mixing pumpkin with plain yogurt in a 1-to-1 ratio and placing it in the freezer. After 24 hours, take it out and serve it to your pup.
Make pumpkin dog cookies. Mix canned pumpkin with flour and peanut butter (2 cups flour, 1 cup pumpkin, ½ cup peanut butter) and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Just make sure the peanut butter is free of xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
Create a squeezable treat. “Thin a little canned pumpkin with water and put it into a new/clean silicon tube used for carrying travel shampoo,” says Thompson. Let your pup lick the pumpkin out as you squeeze the tube, which can be perfect for training!
Stuff it in a Kong. Mix canned pumpkin with dry kibble and stuff it into a Kong toy. Freeze for a few hours, then let your pup spend some time un-stuffing the Kong.
Bake some fruity dog-friendly snacks. Combine canned pumpkin with flour, eggs and banana (3 cups flour, 2 eggs, 1 cup pumpkin and 1 banana) and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes for a delicious and fiber-filled canine snack.
Make a doggie soup. Mix canned pumpkin with a little warm, low-sodium chicken broth to make a nice “soup” to warm up your dog on a cold day.
Try a pup-kin spice latte. Try this fun recipe which combines 1 cup of coconut milk with 1 cup of canned pumpkin, ground cinnamon and ginger. Blend it all together and top with organic whipped cream (make sure it’s xylitol-free).
Dog Pumpkin Puree Recipe
In addition to the above options, clinical pet nutritionist Johnna Devereaux shares her favorite canned pumpkin dog treat, which also sneaks in some extra veggies:
- 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 1 banana
- 1 egg
- 2 cups coconut flour
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/4 pound cut green beans
- Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix until smooth.
- Grease a baking pan and place green beans across the pan.
- Scoop a blob of mixture on top of the beans, then bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Let cool before serving.
Where to Buy Canned Pumpkin for Dogs
When looking for where to buy the best canned pumpkin for dogs, you can usually head to your local grocery store. Canned pumpkin is typically housed in an aisle with baking supplies like flour, sugar and canned fruit. You can also purchase it in bulk through stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, as well as on Amazon or at your local health food stores.
It’s always good to have plain, canned pumpkin on hand for upset stomach or diarrhea in dogs.
When purchasing canned pumpkin for dogs, it’s important to make sure pumpkin is the only ingredient on the can. “If it contains any other additives or spices, then do not use it,” says Hall.