Pumpkin and Dogs: Everything You Need To Know

Pumpkin and Dogs: Everything You Need To Know

There are many rewarding and healthy benefits of feeding pumpkin to dogs! Pumpkin is everywhere. Especially during the fall season. It’s delicious, nutritious, and very easy to come by no matter where you live.

But can dogs eat pumpkin, too? Is pumpkin suitable for dogs? Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds? What about pumpkin puree for dogs? What can pumpkin do for dogs?

While you’re sipping on your favorite pumpkin spice latte, can your dog savor their own pumpkin treat? Turns out, the fall staple is not only a great treat for people (minus the sugar and pastries, perhaps), but it makes an excellent treat and supplement for a dog or cat!

is pumpkin good for dog

Why Should I Feed My Dog Pumpkin?

One of the main drawbacks of commercial dog foods is that they are often low in B vitamins and fiber. This nutritional deficiency is why most commercial foods are considered to be poor in nutrition. Even if the formula may claim to provide B vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other health benefits of pumpkin, it will usually not contain enough to help alleviate constipation or other digestion problems dogs experience.

That’s why many vets and professionals recommend enhancing your dog’s regular kibble diet with additional supplements that offer the right amounts of vitamins and other needed nutrients. In particular, regular feeding of diets high in fiber and insoluble fiber has been shown to help ease your dog's constipation. This is where pumpkin becomes helpful in your dog’s diet.

Dogs are subject to several dietary deficiencies, which can cause significant health problems. Some of the most common are inadequate protein, iron, copper, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E. All of these can lead to reduced immunity, cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

Feeding dogs foods with high amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K are essential for maintaining good health, mainly protecting against heart disease, cancer and dogs with a genetic predisposition to these diseases. Raw pumpkin is a perfect example of one of these foods.

Though dogs cannot eat only fruits and vegetables, feeding them as a special treat or mixing them in with their protein source is a wonderful way to ensure they’re getting enough nutrients. This is where adding pumpkin works great! Even baked pumpkin seeds provide an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E with fiber to help maintain proper bowel elimination. Pumpkin seeds offer reasonable amounts of antioxidants and B vitamins.

dog pumpkin

Health Benefits of Pumpkins for Dogs

With so many nutrients packed into one ingredient, pumpkin has a ton of different benefits for dogs. Check out how pumpkin can help support your dog's overall health or be a useful tool in treating acute digestive system or skin issues. Take a look at the health benefits of feeding pumpkin to dogs:

1. Pumpkin is Nutrient-Rich

If you look at the nutritional information for one cup of cooked pumpkin (USDA Nutritional Database), you can see that pumpkin is low in calories but rich in a host of essential vitamins and minerals.

Pumpkin, the orange beauty that it is, contains a high concentration of vitamin A (beta-carotene). It also contains a lot of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, improves muscle health, and assists in metabolism.

It also contains smaller amounts of a variety of healthy nutrients, including Vitamin C, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Folate, to name a few. Naturally, canned pumpkin is a great alternative if you do not have fresh pumpkin in stock.

2. Pumpkin Benefits Eyes

Vitamin A is essential for your eye health, and it’s no different when it comes to your dog. Vitamin A promotes eye health and the development of night blindness and other eye degeneration.

Since Vitamin A is fat-soluble, adding pumpkin puree for dogs with a little healthy oil will make the nutrients pack more punch.

Mix your pup’s pumpkin on top of his regular food, or mix in a little flax oil for a healthy, satisfying treat.

3. Pumpkins Boost Immune Health

Vitamin C is integral for immune health all around. When combined with vitamin A (beta-carotene), E, and other antioxidants in pumpkin for dogs, it can possibly help prevent certain cancers from developing.

Antioxidants help destroy free radicals, or “oxidants” in your pet’s system, like yours. While oxidants are a natural part of everyone’s immune system, too many oxidants can contribute to cancers and damage the body.

Boost your pet’s immune system by including fresh sources of antioxidants, such as those found in pumpkin.

4. Pumpkins Encourage Digestive Regularity

But most pet parents know pumpkin for its reputation as a cure-all for digestive issues. Pumpkin is a natural stomach soother for dogs who suffer from occasional bouts of upset stomach, loose stools, or diarrhea — and what pooch doesn’t have a case of “the runs” at some point? A sign of your dog’s good health is whether they are pooping normally. Hard stools or those that are difficult to pass put a strain on your dog’s intestines.

As a pet parent, adding a pumpkin digestive supplement for dogs to their meals can supply the necessary source of fiber to enable your dog to pass stool easily and cure constipation. Pumpkin for a dog’s funny tummy has so many benefits. Adding a little plain pumpkin to your dog’s diet supplies the necessary source of fiber to enable your dog to pass stool easily and cure constipation. Pumpkin for a dog’s upset stomach has so many benefits. 

Did you know dogs can get acid reflux? Yes, they can and you can have them eat pumpkin for acid reflux relief! Adding organic pumpkin puree for dogs through their diet is perfect for controlling constipation and diarrhea. When dogs eat raw pumpkin or canned pumpkin, it's great for more than just the dog's digestive health.

Is pumpkin good for dog diarrhea? Yes! Pumpkin has the unique ability to cure both constipation and diarrhea in your dog. Though it may defy understanding, pumpkins have the unique ability to cure both constipation and diarrhea in your dog.

If your pet’s stool is a little loose, the little benefits of pumpkin for dogs can add bulk and form to your dog’s poop. The key is to understand how much pumpkin you should feed your dog, which we will discuss further. We recommend having some canned pumpkin for a dog’s upset stomach on hand, even if your dog doesn't usually have digestive issues.

5. Pumpkin Tastes Great

Like many people, dogs relish the rich, creamy flavor of pumpkin. And anyone who has tried to feed a dog something healthy that does not taste like goodwill appreciates this benefit thoroughly.

Most dogs willingly lap up even plain cooked pumpkin. But go ahead and add a pinch of cinnamon or honey to that pumpkin puree for dogs for a tasty treat.

Canned Pumpkin or Fresh Pumpkin?

Is canned pumpkin good for dogs? Canned pumpkin for dogs is not only very beneficial for your dog’s health but also a delicious meal topper for dogs. If you want to feed your dog the healthiest kind of pumpkin, then you should buy plain canned pumpkin. You would think fresh is better than canned, but that rule doesn’t apply in this case. 

Canned pumpkin contains a lot higher concentration of fiber and nutrients compared to fresh pumpkin. How can that be? It is because fresh pumpkin has more water than canned pumpkin, which results in a diluted concentration of nutrients. 

What’s the best pumpkin that dogs eat? You don’t have to buy something specific for dogs, but it is a good way to make sure that the ingredients are safe for your pooch. For the best canned pumpkin for dogs, try an organic pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin puree for your dog if you choose to feed pumpkin.

Pumpkin products made for humans can be used, but make sure you check the ingredients. Pumpkin baby food for dogs can be a suitable option, so long as they are 100% pumpkin. Avoid sweeteners, lemon juice, or thickening agents or preservatives to be safe.

Always avoid dog pumpkin pie filling or other sweetened or spiced canned pumpkins in a dog's diet. When dogs eat pumpkin pie, they can get very sick. Stick to giving your dog fresh pumpkin or plain canned pumpkin, preferably organic pumpkins for dogs. Pumpkin spice is also a no-go.

How Much Pumpkin Can You Give Your Dog?

While this seasonal treat can be a fantastic addition to your dog’s complete diet, you must feed the correct amount of pumpkin. It’s unlikely that your dog will overdose on any natural nutrient by consuming too much pumpkin.

When researching the question, “Is pumpkin ok for dogs?”  you may discover that squash is actually very safe, nutritious, and yummy when fed in moderation. Still, if your dog overeats pumpkin, it could lead to a nutritional deficiency somewhere else or could mean your dog is getting too few calories. Too much of anything is never good, and the same goes for too much pumpkin. So how much pumpkin for dogs is optimal?

  • Canned Pumpkin:  Generally, 1 tsp of canned (or cooked and pureed) pumpkin per 10 lbs of body weight per day is a good standard to go by. If your dog has a health condition such as diabetes, please talk to your vet before feeding the pumpkin to your dog.

  • Raw Pumpkin:  As a general rule, treats (including fruits and vegetables) should never exceed 10% of your pet’s daily caloric needs. For puppies and very small or underweight dogs, only feed pumpkin in tiny amounts as a treat.

How Do I Serve Pumpkin to My Dog?

Your dog can enjoy pumpkin in a variety of ways:

  • Many pumpkin treats, canned foods for dogs containing pumpkin, and pumpkin supplements can easily be fed to your dog.

  • For their safety, ensure that you provide your dog only supplements and treats designed with dogs in mind. Simple canned pumpkins can also be fed to your dog, but be careful not to feed pumpkin pie filling or any canned pumpkin with added sweeteners or spices.

  • Cans should be good for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator, portion out, and freeze in individual servings for a longer-lasting alternative (ice cube trays work perfectly). Store these properly to avoid freezer burn, which can affect taste and nutrient density.

  • You can also make your dog treats from plain canned pumpkin, but make sure that you include only safe ingredients for dogs in your recipes.

  • You can also feed your dog cooked pumpkin that you make at home. Prick a few holes in a pumpkin and bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes.

  • Cube or puree for a tasty, home-cooked dog treat! While pumpkin is safe for dogs, the flavor and texture improve with cooking.

  • Pumpkin seeds can also be fed to your dog, providing many benefits. Soaking pumpkin seeds makes them more digestible, so the shell and soak your pumpkin seeds overnight. Once dried, pumpkin seeds can be ground and added to your dog's meals or favorite treat recipes. (Read: Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds? Benefits & FAQs)


So, is pumpkin good for dogs? Pumpkin is truly one of the most healthy foods you can feed your dog. When dogs eat pumpkin, it makes a very nutritious treat. With so many benefits, it is unrivaled by just about any other food choice. It is a versatile food for humans and dogs alike, so why not indulge together!

Additionally, dogs tend to love pumpkin, so why not feed them something so nutritious and a treat they love. However, like all things, too much of a good thing isn’t always the best for our pets. To help your dog benefit from delicious, nutritious pumpkin, it’s important to consider its role in your dog’s overall health and diet.

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Paige Chernick is a Social Media and Communications expert living in NYC. For 10 years, she ran her own consulting company called PaigeKnowsFirst where she managed social content & strategy for many brands, finding her niche within the pet industry.

Paige has been a guest contributor for several publications and featured in articles on her successes with pets and social media. Paige’s rescue dog, Charlie, famously known by her social media handle @puppynamedcharlie, has accumulated hundreds of thousands of fans and made her a successful pet influencer early on in the game. Paige is also one of the Founders of The Pet Summit, a conference in the pet industry for creators and marketers, where she used her experience to create programs and classes to help guide and teach others.

In 2022, Paige became the Social Media Director for PRIDE+GROOM. She is now the Senior Vice President of Communications and remains very immersed in the pet industry on both the corporate side and the influencer side.