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Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Or Is Pumpkin Dangerous To Dogs?

Whenever I sit down to have a piece of pumpkin pie or pumpkin treat, my dog stares up at me with his big beautiful eyes, so I decided to find out if dogs can eat pumpkin or if it’s dangerous for them to consume. Not all pumpkin products are created equal, and there’s a whole boatload of pumpkin products on the market including canned pumpkin, raw pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pie. So exactly what type of pumpkin treats and goodies can dogs consume?

Pumpkin is a seasonal treat and a year-round staple for many dogs, but there some dangers involved with feeding pumpkin to your dog. Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin and it is safe for dogs to eat depending on the type. Patrick Mahaney VMD, CVA, CVJ, told us he recommends dog parents provide fresh pumpkin they cook themselves or canned/pouched pumpkin that does not contain sugar nor artificial sweeteners. Any sugar or sugar substitute could create what Dr. Mahaney calls a “taste deterrent” and potentially cause health problems as well.

Since pumpkin is a very moist fruit, this is a good choice for dogs who aren’t big water drinkers. However, too much pumpkin can cause problems. Like people, each dog’s digestive system is unique, so while some dogs can tolerate a tablespoon of canned pumpkin now and then, others cannot. In this article, I’ll dispel some myths, go inside the great pumpkin, and share a Fi-dose of Reality when it comes to dogs and pumpkin consumption.

The Bewitching Powers and Dangers of Pumpkin for Dogs

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Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?

Dogs can eat pumpkin products, but not all of them. Plain pumpkin packs a whole lot of nutrients and is a filling form of fiber, which is why many dog foods now include pumpkin in their offerings. In most cases, a small offering of canned pumpkin is fine for dogs to consume.

Just because a dog can eat raw pumpkin doesn’t mean he should. Dr. Mahaney says that while pumpkin alone is not a dangerous food, raw pumpkin can be. If your dog nibbles on a pumpkin sitting on someone’s porch or in a field perhaps, he can become very sick from the mold or bacteria it contains. Things like vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, or gastric upset may occur.

If you want your dog to eat pumpkin, there are many ways to serve it. If you happen to be carving a pumpkin and want to share some raw pumpkin pieces with your dog, it should be fine. It needs to be cleaned first and for many dogs, it serves as a low-calorie treat and a great source of fiber. Most dogs will prefer cooked pumpkin better and most likely digest it better. If you cook the raw pumpkin for dogs, bake or boil it without any seasonings or salt added.

Never give a dog the stem or skin of a pumpkin. If your dog has issues with his kidneys, check with your veterinarian first. We’ll discuss our favorite way of giving pumpkin (pumpkin dog treats) in a bit.

We see recipes, articles, and pumpkin everything online and in stores. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, especially for dogs. Pumpkin contains vitamin A, and too much vitamin A can have a very negative effect on dogs.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, “The amount of vitamin A needed to cause toxic effects is 10 to 1,000 times the dietary requirements for most species.” Signs of vitamin A toxicity include nausea, anorexia, general malaise, tremors, convulsions, and yes, a dog can die from it.

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

I am of the ilk that anything a dog can choke on or he can swallow whole is something to avoid. I like pumpkin seeds and share life with a foodie (Cocker Spaniel) who would love to share whatever I eat. Pumpkin seeds will likely come out the back end of a dog the same way they went in. I prefer my pumpkin seeds roasted for human consumption but I don’t share them with my dog because I don’t want him to choke, risk gastric upset, nor allow him to eat salt.

Powers and Dangers of Pumpkin for Dogs

Is Canned Pumpkin Safe For A Dog With Diarrhea?

At some point in a dog’s life he will experience a bout of diarrhea. Perhaps the diarrhea is a side effect of medication, from consuming fatty food, or even a case of a nervous stomach or a bug.

Many dog moms and dads have a can of pumpkin on hand for times when a dog has minimal diarrhea that doesn’t require veterinary visit. Pumpkin is rich in fiber so while it is touted as a quick fix for a dog with diarrhea, it may not actually help due to its fibrous nature. Find out what’s causing your dog’s diarrhea.

I always have a can of Dr. Harvey’s Runs Be Done on hand. Runs Be Done is a blend of pumpkin, slippery elm, apple, pectin, bentonite clay, and other healing herbs that you mix with food based on your dog’s weight. Canned pumpkin tends to go to waste after you use a small amount. I keep Runs Be Done in my kitchen cabinet since it comes in a convenient powder. Get a can of Runs Be Done on Amazon here.

keep older dog young

How Much Pumpkin Can I Feed My Dog?

Most pet parents wish to share pumpkin with their dog as a tasty treat or to increase their fiber intake. Ironically, it would take an inordinately huge amount of pumpkin in your dog’s diet for your pooch to see a benefit.

According to Dr. Lisa Freeman, head of veterinary nutrition at Tufts University, “The miniscule amount and type of fiber in pumpkin usually limit its effectiveness as a fiber source. But pumpkin also can contain ingredients that undermine a pet’s health.”

Most people will give anywhere from a ¼-teaspoon a day to 2 tablespoons a day, depending on the dog’s size and weight. Dr. Freeman says, “By adding a lot of fiber from pumpkin you may accidentally decrease how much protein and other nutrients your pet can absorb from their food, putting them at risk for deficiencies.”

Too much of a good thing is never a good thing, so start slow. Most experts say to start slow and see if your dog likes the taste of pumpkin. The typical amount of canned pumpkin as a treat ranges by dog size and weight.

Is Pumpkin Pie Bad For Dogs?

Do not give your dog sugary, spicy pie filling. Pumpkin that is suitable for dogs includes cooked, fresh, or the mashed kind from a fresh real pumpkin that you prepare yourself.

You should never give a dog pumpkin pie filling because it is rich in fat, sugar, and other substances that can cause your dog to become very ill. Dogs cannot process spices and additional flavors intended for human consumption.

Unfortunately, many grocery stores sell plain canned pumpkin right next to pumpkin pie mix, and there is a very big difference between the two. Additionally, pumpkin products may contain Xylitol or artificial sweeteners that are deadly to dogs.

Most pumpkin pie fillings and mixes contain nutmeg which contains a toxin called myristicin. According to Pet Poison Helpline, “If a very large amount of nutmeg is ingested, myristicin toxicity can cause symptoms including hallucinations, disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dry mouth, abdominal pain, and possibly seizures.  Symptoms can last up to 48 hours.  A pet would need to ingest a very large amount of nutmeg, and this is very unlikely to occur if a dog or cat ingests food with nutmeg in it.”

I err on the side of caution and don’t give my dog pumpkin pie, which also contains cinnamon. Again, Pet Poison Helpline says the dose is what makes cinnamon toxic. “Large overdoses of the powder or exposure to the essential oil can lead to low blood sugar, liver disease, vomiting, diarrhea and changes in heart rate.  Some dogs who are ingesting the powdered spice directly can inhale the spice.”

What Are The Best Pumpkin Dog Treats?

One of our favorite DIY pet bloggers is Kol’s Notes. We know she does her research and crafts recipes with safety of dogs in mind. Peruse her 40+ fall flavored dog treats you can make at home.

If you are like me and aren’t so savvy in the culinary department or you prefer to purchase treats for your dog, dispense to your pooch in moderation.

Here are some of my favorite pumpkin dog treats you can purchase online:

Einstein Pets Pumpkin Time Treats: Made with real pumpkin, cinnamon, and chia (a superfood for dogs), I love the crunchy nature of these pumpkin dog treats that are low-calorie as well. Click to buy them on Amazon.

dog pumpkin treats

K9 Granola Factory Pumpkin Pie Soft Bakes: Made from rolled oats with pumpkin and cinnamon with no wheat, corn, or soy, I love the soft nature of these pumpkin dog treats. Click here to buy yours on Amazon.

can dogs eat pumpkin pie

Plato Mini Thinkers Pumpkin and Turkey Sticks: Made with real turkey and limited ingredients, these sticks are great for smaller and medium-sized dogs or to break up for indoor doggy brain games. Click to purchase a bag on Amazon.

is pumpkin safe for dogs

Don’t Stop Now

Here are some more articles to help keep your dog happy and healthy:

Should Dogs Have Vegetables In Their Diet?

How Fish Oil Can Help Your Dog

Bark Back At Us

Do you give your dog anything with pumpkin? Let us know in the comments below.

IS PUMPKIN DANGEROUS TO DOGS

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27 Comments

  1. Thank you so much! I do let them lick the spoon after I am finish added organic all natural pumpkin with no additives. Make with just pumpkin. Thanks for the article. I had no idea. Couple years ago I brought dog treats with pumpkin but they refused to eat it. So glad all of us dog lovers have you to keep us up to date and let us know what is good and bad for ours dogs A great big THANK YOU!

    1. Thanks for stopping by – we are here to educate and serve dogs and their loving dog parents. Nice to have you as a forever pack member, Sharon and crew!

  2. I use in Layla’s food Fruitable Pumpkin which is mixed with fruits, veggies and ginger and made specially for dogs and it works well for her as I cook all her food. I do not buy any kind of human canned pumpkin at all.

  3. I liked what you said about too much of a good thing – it is not only true for our dogs but for humans as well! Moderation and sensibility is the key to most things it seems…
    I also agree wholeheartedly over feeding from natural pumpkin sources vs. processed and “sugared up”.

  4. SO MUCH wisdom here. People have a tendency to think pumpkin is a miracle cure. While it’s generally safe, too much of a good thing can definitely be bad.

    Nutmeg (like the kind of pumpkin spice) scare the bejeebers out of me. In small dogs even a little can be toxic.

    And THANK YOU for sharing our pumpkin page. It’s definitely one of our favourite ingredients to work with. One of these days, I’m going to get you in the kitchen and baking. I BELIEVE IN YOU. Would you like to be able to make Dex and Dar Christmas cookies?!

  5. KIsmet has been getting a heaping spoonful of canned 100% pumpkin in his kibble twice a day since he was a puppy at the advice of his vet. He is now almost 12 years old and has well formed stools twice a day. The only problem I have is a “pumpkin nose” if I don’t wipe his face after he eats lol!

    1. Thank you for that knowledge. Other posts make it sound like Vitamin A overdose is lurking everywhere but my dogs are thriving on homemade rice, chicken and pumpkin dinners which all 4 picky eaters LOVE!

  6. I’ve always fed my small dogs a little bit of organic pumpkin with their food it keeps them from dragging their butt on the carpet and they like it. It keeps them from getting fat. We are only talking 2t ea sm dog.

  7. My dog eats canned pumpkin, maybe a teaspoon full at a time when needed. No issues with plain canned pumpkin from store, label doesn’t have sugars or other harmful ingredients. Now, if I gave her the pumpkin/oats rolled into ball treats daily, she would get diarrhea, so that’s a no no.

  8. My daughter’s little Chi mix loves pumpkin so much that if you put some on his kibble he overeats and gets chubby. So, it has to be an occasional treat.

  9. As with every dog treat and dog food, be it canned or prepared fresh, we should always proceed with caution. Thank you for letting us know about the potential dangers of pumpkins.

  10. Pumpkin is one of my favorite foods EVER, so I love this article Carol and Dex!! I have about one Tbsp. or so of pumpkin each day as part of a daily regimen to keep me regular, healthy and strong. All my sisters do too and it is SO good! I love giving Pumpkin Kisses to Mommy. In fact, I send out pumpkin kisses to all my friends and fans across the world on a regular basis, haha! Thanks for sharing some important information for everyone to know about it.
    Love you!!
    Pixel Blue Eyes

  11. I sometimes give my dogs pure 100% canned pumpkin or some fresh pumpkin mush I make myself.. I don’t use canned pumpkin that contains salt or Sugar. I read the label on the can.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  12. My neighbor gave me two pumpkins that had been sitting outside in the cold and rain for a month. the pumpkins seemed firm and fine, I baked them, scooped out the meat and put it in the vitamixer. I gave each dog a tablespoon with their meal, which is more than I should have, both dogs threw up after. Now I am afraid to give them any more or should I just try less.

  13. My dog ate quite a bit of my pumpkin vine leaves today about 8 am .Now 1pm He seems okay so far , cross fingers that all is good here. I will keep you posted .

  14. Whenever my Pug has an upset tummy she goes into the yard and nibbles on whatever green thing she can find. This time of year she has been nibbling on the leaves of my squash plants. Are the leaves themselves actually poisonous? My husband built raised beds with chicken wire, but she still manages to sneak her little tongue in there!

  15. Your work in this publication is life saving. Thank you for all your hard work in researching and helping so many dogs and families.

    Eileen

  16. Thank you SO much for this!!
    Our vet told us to feed our dog pumpkin to help his poops.
    We’ve been feeding our dog pumpkin mixed with his food ever since then. It’s been about 3 months. Just recently he’s been throwing up and we couldn’t figure out why!!
    Reading this made us realize that TOO MUCH PUMPKIN CAN HURT!
    We’re going to stop feeding pumpkin and see what happens.
    ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU SO MUCH!
    You might have saved our big boy. <3

    1. OMGoodness let me know how it goes with transitioning him off. Plus some dogs can be genuinely sensitive to pumpkin or maybe too much.

  17. thanks so much for this site! I brought our pumpkin in from the outside and my little terrier Willie never saw one. He immediately started to chew on the stem; I stopped him and found yours site…….No stems for dogs! He is mad that he can’t have it; nope Williie; not gonna happen.
    Thank so much!!!

  18. I reluctantly took the advice of a pet store worker that stated he has “been feeding his dogs canned pumpkin for years for Diarrhea.” I neglected to ask how much. He told me he just gives pumpkin and nothing else until Diarrhea subsides. Instead of researching more I gave Roxy 2 feedings today, each feeding about 6-7 oz! I just read that too much can cause toxicity because of vitamin A!! I’m watching her closely. So far just another loose stool. I just gave her some white rice with chicken broth. Any suggestions as to what else I should do or look out for?
    Thank you.

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