With the autumnal air comes many seasonal ingredients and dishes, so you might be wondering if the pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat. The short answer is yes, dogs can eat pumpkin – both the pulp and the seeds – but only when prepared properly and served plain. Here’s how to serve pumpkin to dogs.
The health benefits of pumpkin for dogs
Pumpkin is a superfoodopens in a new tab and a healthy addition to your dog’s diet. The pulp is low in calories and its blend of soluble and insoluble fibre makes it an effective remedy for both diarrhoea and constipation. The seasonal squash is also low in sodium and exceptionally high in beta-carotene, carotenoids, potassium and vitamin C. Plus, it also contains some calcium and B-complex vitamins.
Pumpkin seeds contain a wide variety of antioxidant phytonutrients and are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium and calcium (which is important for bone formation), too. They’re also a good source of healthy oils and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). When ground up and added to oatmeal and honey, the seeds are a traditional remedy for tapeworm.
How to add pumpkin to your dog’s diet
Pumpkin is very versatile. You can mix it into your dog’s meals, use it as a topper, add it to baked treats (it can be used as a fat substitute) or stuff it into a Kong-style food toy. Steam and mash fresh pumpkin or take the easy way out and buy it pre-prepared.
Pumpkin seeds need to be ground up before feeding them to your dog. As with any new food, start slowly when introducing them to your dog’s meals.
Here’s how to prepare pumpkin seeds:
Put seeds and the stringy pulp that sticks to them in a strainer and rinse, picking off as much of the ‘string’ part as you can.
Dry the seeds, then put them on a sheet pan in a 150C oven for 10–15 minutes.
After they cool, grind the seeds in a food processor, coffee grinder or blender.
Store in a glass jar.
How to make pet-safe pumpkin puree
Making your own pumpkin purée is a straightforward way to prepare pumpkin. Here’s an easy, foolproof method, using a pressure cooker (you can also use a normal pot by allowing three times as long).
Place a small, 1kg pumpkin into your pressure cooker (if the stem is long turn it upside down, facing the bottom).
Add 250ml water.
Cook for 13 minutes on high pressure.
Let the pressure release naturally.
After about 20 minutes, carefully remove the pumpkin using tongs (it can be messy, so have a bowl handy). Cool before handling.
Cut the pumpkin in half; scoop out the seeds, reserving them for other uses; spoon out the pulp; discard the skin.
At this point, the pumpkin is essentially pureed (dogs don’t mind the stringy bits), but you can use a food processor to puree it, if desired.
How to make pet-safe pumpkin soup
The recipe below is adapted from The Natural Nutrition No-Cook Book by Kymythy R Schultze. Place all the ingredients into a food processor to blend into a soup, and heat to serve. It yields about 800ml of soup, which can be stored in the fridge.
500g cooked pumpkin flesh
360ml apple juice
250ml carrot juice
30g raw pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Note: while caution was taken to give safe recommendations and accurate instructions in this article, it is impossible to predict an individual dog’s reaction to any food or ingredient. Readers should consult their vets and use personal judgement when applying this information to their own dogs’ diets.
Claudia Kawczynska was co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Bark for 20 years. She also edited the best-selling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot.
- opens in a new tab
Let Your Dog Lap Up Your Bone Broth
It isn’t just a healthy snack for the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Jenner. And we’ve got a recipe to try
- opens in a new tab
Glucosamine For Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
You may have heard other pup parents praising this supplement. Here’s what a vet has to say
- opens in a new tab
Are Probiotics Actually Something Your Dog Needs?
Time for a (literal) gut check from four experts