Nothing Spooky Here! How Pumpkin Can Boost Your Pet’s Diet
’Tis the pumpkin season! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bread - it’s hard to avoid this Thanksgiving favourite. But did you ever wonder if your pet was missing out by not getting to join in on this taste of fall? Perhaps surprisingly, pumpkin is an amazing ingredient to include in your dog or cat’s diet, and offers a huge range of benefits to their short and long-term health. Read on for more about what makes pumpkin so perfect!
Let's start with the basics
Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and minerals, and is a great source of Iron, potassium, manganese and copper, all of which play an important part in your pet’s cellular functions (2).
- Essential for the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body.
- Helps keep hemoglobin levels up.
- An important part of several enzymatic functions (8).
Vitamins A, C and E
- Support the immune system, brain function, eyes and skin health (2).
- Helps to maintain your dog’s muscles (1) and promote heart health.
- Boosts the metabolism.
- Promotes stronger bones and a healthy nervous system (9).
- Plays an important role in joint health by helping to build collagen and maintain mobility.
- Activates enzymes which are needed for many important metabolic functions (10).
Improving gut health - plus a boost of antioxidants!
Pumpkin also serves as a fantastic source of fibre and antioxidants for your pet. The high soluble fibre content helps with digestion (4), absorbing water and thereby reducing any issues with diarrhea. It can also help with the opposite problem - improving constipation by loosening stool. Pumpkin also contains prebiotics which help promote the presence of healthy bacteria in the gut and digestive tract (4).
The antioxidants found in pumpkin also help improve pets’ overall health. These antioxidants include plant pigments, known as carotenoids:
- Beta-carotene and Beta-cryptoxanthin: converts to Vitamin A in the body, helping with vision as well as the immune system and coat health (2).
- Zeaxanthin: helps slow the aging process, boosts heart health and reduces inflammation (2)
Don’t forget the seeds!
As well as the pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seeds can also be extremely beneficial and a great addition to your dog or cat’s diet (although it is recommended that they be cleaned, roasted and ground up before doing so ):
- Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (5), with one of the highest magnesium contents of all foods. Magnesium can help promote healthy bones, regulate blood and sugar pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease (7).
- Seeds help remove parasites from the digestive tract. They contain an amino acid called cucurbitin, which paralyzes worms (2), and have been shown to help with some diseases, worms and infections in dogs (6).
- High in Omega-3 fatty acids (help fight conditions such as arthritis in older dogs).
- Source of vitamin E, which protects cells from free radicals and lowers blood pressure (7).
- Source of vitamin K, which helps with bone growth and skin healing (7) .
In summary, if you’re looking to improve your cat or pup’s health, pumpkin is a great addition to their bowl! Commercial dog and cat foods are often lacking in the important nutrients and fibre that your pet needs, so adding nutritionally beneficial ingredients to their diet such as pumpkin can be a great way to boost their diet and their health. But what’s the best way to incorporate this ingredient? While even regular pumpkin puree from a can has great benefits for your dog or cat, we’ve tracked down some additional delicious ways to get more pumpkin in your pet’s diet this Thanksgiving!
- Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats (from AllRecipes)
- Pumpkin Yoghurt Ice Cream (from German Shepherd Shop)
- Frozen Pumpkin Paw Pup Dog Treats (from House that Barks)
- Pumpkin Pupcakes (from Crazy for Crust)
- DIY Pumpkin-Salmon Kitty Bites Recipe (from Petsmont)
And if you’re looking for an even simpler way to get more pumpkin in your dog or cat’s diet, why not check out Smack’s range of raw dehydrated foods? All but one of our products contain pumpkin and are a delicious way to make sure you’re feeding your pet the very best.
As with any food, too much pumpkin can cause issues for your dog. Start with small quantities to avoid adding too much fibre to their bowl, and always consult your veterinarian with any concerns or questions.