Can dogs eat pumpkin?

Written by Dr Andrew Miller MRCVSDr Andrew Miller MRCVS is an expert veterinary working in the field for over 10 years after graduating from Bristol University. Andy fact checks and writes for Pure Pet Food while also working as a full time veterinarian. Pure Pet FoodPure Pet Food are the experts in healthy dog food and healthy dogs featured in media outlets such as BBC, Good Housekeeping and The Telegraph. Working with high profile veterinary professionals and nutritionists, Pure Pet Food are changing dog food for the better. - Our editorial process

Pumpkins are a member of the squash family alongside other autumnal vegetables like the butternut squash. But while pumpkins and squashes are human superfoods, are they just as su-paw for dogs? These veggies are highly nutritious and delicious, so you might wonder if dogs can eat pumpkin as a healthy treat.

Can dogs eat pumpkin?

Yes, your dog can eat pumpkin. Most dogs tend to enjoy it too because of its sweet, earthy taste. Not only is it tasty, but pumpkin has a lot of great nutrients that will nourish your pooch and make it a healthy treat or a tasty topper for their dinners.

You can feed your dog cooked pumpkin because cooking the pumpkin will soften the flesh so it is easier for your pup to eat and digest. Just make sure you keep the pumpkin plain if it’s destined for your dog’s dinner.

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If you’re going to feed your dog fresh pumpkin, carve out the flesh and cut it into small cubes and boil, steam or roast them until they are tender. You can serve these cubes to your dog or you can blend them with a little bit of water to make a puree for your pooch. If you make a pumpkin puree for your pup, you can use it as a filling for a Kong toy or spread for a licki mat.

If you’ve bought a pumpkin to carve for Halloween, you can keep the flesh and seeds that you scoop out for your dog. Just remove the stringy bits and the seeds before cooking the flesh. You can also peel, roast and grind the seeds and your pooch can enjoy those too.

As with almost any food your dog eats, moderation is key. Although pumpkin is perfectly safe and healthy to eat, they can have too much of a good thing. The high amounts of fibre can give your dog an upset stomach if they eat too much at once. There’s also a lot of beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A, and although your dog needs some vitamin A, too much can actually be toxic.

Can dogs eat raw pumpkin?

Yes and no. Raw pumpkin is safe for a dog to eat, but it is harder to digest and it could make some dogs sick. You might find your pup suffers vomiting or diarrhoea if they eat a lot of raw pumpkin.

Your pooch can probably eat a spoonful of raw pumpkin and be perfectly fine, you just need to be aware that it can cause tummy troubles. If you’d like to feed your dog pumpkin, it’s usually best to cook it lightly first.

You definitely shouldn’t give your dog a whole, raw pumpkin though. The skin is particularly tough and hard to chew and digest. Plus, if they eat large chunks of it, it can pose a risk of choking or intestinal blockage. The same can be said of the tough stem, which your dog can’t safely chew or break down.

Can dogs eat canned pumpkin?

Yes, dogs can eat canned pumpkin and it is typically the easiest way of feeding them some. Your pooch can eat a spoonful of pumpkin straight from the can and it’s perfectly safe.

Because of the consistency of canned pumpkin, you can easily use it to add some enrichment while feeding your dog. Like the puree, you could stuff it into a Kong toy, or spread it on a licki mat to keep your dog entertained for a little while. If you’ve managed to keep a can saved until summer, you could also use it to make a tasty doggy ice lolly recipe.

Other than making sure you feed your dog pumpkin in moderation, there is only one rule to feeding your dog canned pumpkin: check the label!

It’s important you check the label to make sure there are no additional ingredients like sugar, and that you’re only feeding your dog pure pumpkin.

You cannot feed your dog canned pumpkin pie filling (or anything similar) because there are additional ingredients and seasonings that can make your dog sick.

Canned pumpkin pie filling has a lot of refined sugar in, which is bad for dogs. It also often contains nutmeg which is toxic to dogs and cats.

Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds?

Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin seeds but they require a bit of prep work first. If you have fresh seeds leftover from carving up a pumpkin, you will need to peel and roast the seeds and grind them up before you can feed them to your pooch.

Big dogs could eat roasted seeds whole, but for smaller dogs, they can be a choking hazard, which is why you might want to grind the seeds first.

If that sounds like too much hassle, you can always buy a packet of pumpkin seeds from the supermarket instead.

Pumpkin seeds have a lot of nutritional value. Like nuts, they’re packed with protein as well as functional fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 which will help keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy. But because the seeds are quite calorie-dense and fatty, you should only feed a little to your dog once or twice a week at the most.

There’s also a surprising amount of nutrients packed in those little seeds including a lot of fibre, some vitamin K, and minerals like phosphorus, iron, and zinc.

Pumpkin seeds have been found to have a whole host of incredible effects for humans, including the prevention of some cancers and heart disease.

Although there’s no substantial evidence on whether your pooch will also have the same benefits, it’s plausible they might.

Can pumpkin seeds treat parasites in dogs?

One benefit of your dog eating pumpkin seeds is clean and healthy guts. Not only is there a hefty dose of fibre to help to keep their gut healthy and their bowel movements regular, but the seeds also have an “anthelmintic” effect. That means that eating pumpkin seeds can help to get rid of parasitic worms in both humans and dogs.

It hasn’t been studied in great detail, and it won’t protect your pup from every parasite out there, so they will still need regular treatments for creepy crawlies like fleas and ticks.

But it does seem to work, and since pumpkin seeds are so healthy anyway, there’s no reason you and the pooch shouldn’t be snacking on this superfood.

Can I give dogs pumpkin for diarrhoea?

Pumpkin is often used as a healthy home remedy to treat diarrhoea. This is because the vegetable is packed with soluble and insoluble fibre which helps to soak up water in the gut and return your dog’s poo to normal consistency. Pumpkin is also a prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your pooch’s gut.

To use pumpkin to treat a dog’s diarrhoea, just add 1-4 spoonfuls of either canned or cooked and pureed pumpkin to their meals. 1 spoonful for little dogs, more for bigger hounds. Because dog’s digest food quickly, you should hopefully see some improvement by the end of the day.

You should still get a vet to check there is nothing serious causing your dog’s diarrhoea before offering them any home remedies because how you treat their diarrhoea will depend on what is causing it. Your vet might recommend an alternative treatment, such as a highly digestible diet or adding prebiotics or probiotics to their dinner.

Can I give dogs pumpkin for constipation?

Surprisingly, you can also use pumpkin to help treat a dog with constipation. Again, it’s important to let your vet check your dog for any underlying conditions before you try treating them yourself.

Use the same guide as treating diarrhoea and add 1-4 tablespoons of pumpkin to your dog’s dinner to try and treat mild constipation.

How much pumpkin can I give my dog?

The general rule of thumb is to offer your pup no more than 1 tablespoon of pumpkin per 4.5kg of their body weight. So if your pooch only weighs 2kg, they can only have half a tablespoon of pumpkin per day. Meanwhile, a big dog like a mastiff could potentially eat up to 10 tablespoons of pumpkin spread throughout the day.

If you’re feeding your pup any other treats or toppings during the day, the amount of pumpkin they eat should change.

That’s because all complementary foods your pup eats should only make up 10% of their daily calorie intake, and that’s regardless of whether they are doggy treats or healthy snacks like pumpkin or peppers. (Although veggies have fewer calories, so your dog can eat more of them than doggy treats or high-value titbits like cheese.)

Recap: Can dogs eat pumpkin?

Yes, dogs can definitely eat pumpkin. Cooked pumpkin makes a healthy and versatile snack your pooch can enjoy as a treat, topper, or even part of an enrichment activity.

As long as the pumpkin is served plain, your dog can eat it whether it has been boiled, steamed, or roasted. They can even eat the seeds too as long as they are peeled and cooked.

Similar to pumpkins and butternut squash, sweet potato is included in all of our Pure recipes so your dog can reap all the benefits of these orange veggies.

Pure is complete and nutritionally balanced, bursting with goodness and flavour, promising waggy tails and empty bowls.