If you're like so many people who love fall and everything that comes with it, you're probably loving your seasonal pumpkin spiced lattes and pumpkin ice cream (when will Molly Moon's start serving theirs?!).
Well while you enjoy your pumpkin flavored indulgences, did you know that there are benefits to mixing it into your pet's food too? First, let me clarify, I'm talking about the canned 100% pure pumpkin. Don't use the pie filling or pumpkin pie mix that has all of the added spices and sugars premixed in. Look at the ingredients on the label. There should only be one listed: pumpkin! And if you're wondering if you can use raw pumpkin, well it seems like there are mixed opinions out there. Consult with your veterinarian to find out if adding pumpkin is a good idea for your pet.
So why use pumpkin? Pumpkin is all natural and high in fiber which helps dogs and cats that are having issues with diarrhea or constipation. It's also super rich in beta-carotene (antioxidant), zinc (helps improve skin and coat), and vitamins A (important for vision health) and C (boosts the immune system).
Pumpkin can also be used as part of a weight loss fix. This is because pumpkin is low in calories while the extra fiber (and yummy mushiness) helps your pet feel full, thus helping them eat fewer calories overall. If using pumpkin for weight loss, try substituing a tablespoon of canned pumpkin for a 1/4 cup of their regular food.
For our furry feline friends, the fiber in pumpkin is said to help furballs move through their digestive tract and into the litter box instead of coming out as the mushy pile on your carpet that you always manage to step in. Gradually working up to adding a teaspoon of pumpkin a day into your cat's diet can also help prevent the formation of new furballs.
So, how much pumpkin should you give your pet? Well, just a little bit will do the trick to reap the benefits. According to veterinarians, depending on your pet's species (dog or cat) and weight you can give a teaspoon (for a cat) or up to half a cup (for a Great Dane) of canned pumpkin mixed into your pet's regular meals. And don't overdo it, vitamin A can accumulate to unhealthy, highly toxic levels. To be safe, less is better!
Note: Before adding canned pumpkin to your pet's diet, it's best to consult with your veterinarian on the amount of pumpkin you can use and how often to use it. Some may recommend you add it in routinely to keep your pet regular, while others may only recommend it be used if your pet is having digestive issues and to stop adding it when the issue has cleared up. And for some animals that are on restrictive diets, pumpkin may not be able to be added at all.
Sources: Morris Animal Inn, Cesar Milan, Pet360
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Have a Waggly Tail Day!