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Is pumpkin good for dogs and cats?

Autumn is here! trees are turning into a multitude of red, orange and ochre colours and building stairways, windows and balconies are decorated with beautiful orange pumpkins of all sizes.

In my regular morning walk, I met my neighbor with her two middle age Golden Retrievers, Lola and Bert; two gentle dogs who truly enjoy sniffing every pumpkin they find on their way. Jokingly, I asked my friend what would happen if her four legged companions would ingest pumpkin. I was surprised to hear that she actually feeds Lola small portions of organic pureed pumpkin (not pie filling) once or twice a week-- to keep her “regular”. Bert on the other hand doesn’t need it; but he enjoys eating pumpkin as often as he can get it.

I became curious I asked other dog owners if pumpkin is part of their dog’s diet and surprisingly, most didn’t know that pumpkin is a good and natural option to help cats and dogs be “regular” !

Pumpkin is rich in nutrients and vitamins; it is high in fibre and is beneficial for pets, specially dogs and cats. I researched this colourful vegetable and learned that pumpkin has Vitamin A which helps maintain the immune system and vision; Vitamins C and E. Alpha carotene which is an antioxidant that prevents damage to cells; Calcium, Iron and Lutein which supports the health of the eyes, skin, and coat.

Pumpkin is also endorsed in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM); it is listed amongst the Warming (Yang) Foods that help regulate qi deficiencies; it is also recommended to regulate dogs and cats stool consistency, help blood circulation, and counteract phlegm produced in the lungs and respiratory system.

To feed or not to feed pumpkin to your pet.

Useful recommendations to keep in mind:

  • Always bake the pumpkin before it goes to your pet’s bowl.

  • Do not feed your dog or cat the stem, skin of the pumpkin and seeds;

  • Avoid pie filling, pumpkin with additives, spices, or sugar.

  • During Halloween season, pay attention to the Jack-O-Lantern that has been cut and left out. Mould or bacteria may have grown on these pumpkins, and that will cause illness.

If you are thinking on giving pumpkin to help alleviate your pet’s medical conditions, consider consulting your vet.

DIY: If you wish to make some special treats at home, click here

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only; it is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian.

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