5 Good Reasons to Include Pumpkin in Your Pet’s Diet

August 29, 2016


Pumpkin in pet food is good for pets.

Have you noticed how many brands of pet food are including pumpkin as an ingredient?  This is a good idea because pumpkin offers many health benefits to dogs and cats. I find it included in cans of dog and cat food, as well as in dry kibble. I always keep an extra can of processed pumpkin in my pantry in case one of the animals becomes ill. It’s a go-to staple.

Below are ways that pumpkin can help keep your pet healthy:

*Pumpkin is high in fiber. That makes it good for a home remedy for diarrhea in dogs or cats, at least in small amounts.  The pumpkin binds the contents of the digestive tract and absorbs extra water.

*Pumpkin also helps pets with constipation problems. Surprisingly, this food item helps with both health issues. Because pumpkin is so packed with fiber, it can help keep Fluffy and Fido “regular.”

*Pumpkin is packed with moisture.  Cats, especially, don’t drink enough water on their own. Feeding them a little bit of pumpkin as a snack or in their food a couple times a day will help alleviate the problem that not drinking enough water can create.

*Pumpkin is high in vitamins and antioxidants.  It contains as much potassium as bananas and is loaded with magnesium, iron, zinc, beta carotene and Vitamins A and C.

*Pumpkin helps prevent hairballs.  The fiber in the pumpkin keeps the hair that Fluffy ingests moving naturally through the animal’s digestive system.  I’ve used this with my cats for years, and it does seem to help.

The fact that pumpkin is low in fat also benefits your pet’s health. It is important to use canned pumpkin, unless you actually take time to scrape and cook the pulp from a fresh pumpkin. Too many people allow a fresh pumpkin to sit around for days and don’t realize that the vegetable can grow bacteria and mold. The canned product is much easier and you can always have a can on hand when needed.  Be sure it is the pure pumpkin and not pie filling, which includes a lot of ingredients, including sugar, that won’t help Fluffy or Fido.

My cats don’t like anything extra added to their food, so I have learned to give them a dab of pumpkin on my finger a couple of times a day.  They think it’s a treat and look forward to it and the extra attention. My dog will eat anything that isn’t nailed down, so adding a tablespoon or more to her food bowl is easy.

As always, I recommend discussing the addition of pumpkin to your pet’s diet with your veterinary professional.  He or she  knows best.

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