As a loving pet owner, you most likely read the ingredients on your dog or cat’s food when you buy it. A time or two, you may have seen the word “Pumpkin.” If you were wondering if you read it right, and whether pumpkin is actually good for your pet, the answers are yes and yes! Pumpkin has various health benefits for your pet, when given in the right proportions and prepared correctly.
Your dog or cat has, without a doubt, sniffed around your displayed pumpkins around Thanksgiving and Halloween. These are not the pumpkins you can give to your pet, as they may be carrying bacteria or decaying. However, canned and cooked organic pumpkin is a healthy and tasty treat to add to your pet’s food. Here are some of the health benefits of pumpkin for your pets:
Pumpkin and Digestive Health
Though you should always keep in mind that there are many digestive symptoms that may require a trip to your veterinarian, there may be times when pets become constipated or develop diarrhea that is simply a result of dietary indiscretion or some other minor cause. When this is the case, pumpkin can be a great option for restoring digestive balance.
Pumpkin is extremely rich in fiber, which is something the digestive system requires to function normally. There are approximately 3 grams of fiber in each 1 cup serving of pumpkin. Because of this high fiber concentration, pet owners typically see very rapid signs of improvement. Please note that pumpkin pie filling contains synthetic flavoring and preservatives that can cause upset in your pet’s digestive tract. Always go for all-natural pure pumpkin.
Pumpkin and Weight Loss
For some pet owners, commercially available “weight loss” diets just don’t do the trick. Even if your pet doesn’t have digestive issues, the fiber in pumpkin can add bulk to his or her food without the added calories. All you need to do is feed your pet the same amount of food, but replace a small portion of it with canned organic pumpkin. This also adds moisture to your dog or cat’s diet, which is helpful if you only use processed dry food.
There is research linking pumpkins and urinary health. Some evidence shows that the antioxidants and fatty acids found in the oil of pumpkin seeds could lead to improved urinary health. These same fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, as well. The National Institute of Health reports that dietary sources of beta-carotene, such as pumpkin, yield better anticancer results than supplements of beta-carotene.
Pumpkin is also extremely rich in potassium, which is an electrolyte necessary for muscle contraction and helpful for your dog or cat’s physical lifestyle. Not only is there a plethora of benefits for your dog or cat eating pumpkin, but it tastes great too! Your pet will undeniably love this “medicine,” and so will you. Next time the Fall season comes around, grab those marked-down cans of pumpkin, as they will surely come in handy throughout the year.