Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?
It's that time of year again: Pumpkin-flavored treats show up in coffee shops and restaurants (pumpkin spice lattes and pies mark the harvest season, after all!). And one of the biggest demographics who enjoy this treat? Dogs. Believe it or not, pups actually like the taste of this squash—and it's good for them, too.
"Pumpkin has a high moisture content and provides extra fiber, which can help treat and prevent diarrhea and constipation," says Dr. Sarah Nold, an on-staff veterinarian at Trupanion, a pet insurance company. "It's beneficial in small amounts, and we recommend it as a special treat." She recommends giving a teaspoon of plain pumpkin to a small dog or up to a tablespoon for a larger dog.
When preparing pumpkin recipes for your canine companion, Dr. Nold recommends avoiding ingredients that are known to be toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, onions, garlic, and to keep the treat low in sugar and fats. "Go over the recipe with your vet," Dr. Nold says. "You want to avoid sugars and fats because a dog's digestive system isn't designed to tolerate those very well."
Sorry, puppy—that means leftover pumpkin pie is a pass. According to Dr. Nold, it can give your dog stomach pain; you should avoid using pumpkin pie filling in your gourd-flavored dog treats for the same reason. The filling typically contains those off-limits ingredients that your pup can't digest. Recipes should start with plain pumpkin, but can also try puréed squash baby food as a substitute in your homemade recipes.