The sight of pumpkins and scent of cinnamon let us know Autumn has arrived! The delicious and nutritious orange squash appears in the form of the iconic seasonal pie and warm coffee beverages as the weather turns cool and colored leaves fall from the trees. Not only a tasty treat for humans, dogs like pumpkin too, even without the sugar and spice, and it provides our canine companions with a number of health benefits.
Peepers! Vitamin A and zeaxanthin, found in pumpkin, keeps eyes healthy.
Urinary & Digestive health – Pumpkin contains antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties. Adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet is soothing to his digestive system, and can help dogs suffering from urinary incontinence while also dislodging kidney stones. The soluble fiber can firm up diarrhea, and can loosen things up if constipation is the problem. Feed 1-4 Tablespoons for a medium-sized dog to resolve digestive issues.
Manages weight – Moisture and fiber are plentiful in pumpkin, so by replacing a few teaspoons of your small dog’s food (or as much as a ½-cup for a large dog) with this vegetable, can help him lose weight.
Parasite control – Pumpkins contain large amounts of cucurbitacin, an amino acid which kills many parasites and has been used to expel tapeworms.
Keeps dogs well-hydrated. Especially for those dogs who eat a kibble-only diet, the high water content of pumpkin can prevent skin from flaking and keep your pet’s coat shiny, shedding less.
Immune system booster – Vitamins A, C and E along with antioxidants found in pumpkin, may prevent certain cancers from developing and keep the immune system strong.
Nutrients – In addition to the vitamins already mentioned, pumpkin contains potassium, iron, phosphorus, copper, magnesium and folate. Eating pumpkin is almost like giving your dog a multi-vitamin!
Serving Pumpkin to Your Pooch
Raw or cooked, canned or fresh, pumpkin is great for dogs. One teaspoon of canned (organic with no added sugar), cooked or pureed pumpkin for every 10 lbs. your dog weighs, is a good rule of thumb when feeding this nutritious food. While raw pumpkin is safe for dogs to consume, it tastes better cooked, so poke a few holes in a pumpkin, bake at 350° for 45 minutes to an hour, then cube or puree, and make into pumpkin treats. Although your jack o’ lantern may be an inviting snack, don’t let pets nibble on your carved masterpiece as it likely is teeming with bacteria!
If pumpkin seeds are what your dog fancies, keep it to a minimum as the seeds are high in fat and too many could lead to pancreatitis. One ground seed per 10 lbs. of dog is ample.
The bark (not the sound your dog makes LOL) of small trees that grow in Brazil, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Egypt, is dried and rolled into quills (cinnamon sticks) and also ground into powder. WondeRUFFully fragrant to your dog’s nose, it can improve his brain function, prevent yeast infections (it’s anti-fungal), slow down food from spoiling (antibacterial, cinnamon prevents the growth of e.Coli), and also has anti-inflammatory properties, like pumpkin, thereby potentially easing arthritis pain. If your dog has diabetes, ask your veterinarian if you can add 1/8 teaspoon per 15 lbs. of body weight to his diet to regulate blood sugar.
A Few Words of Caution
Half a teaspoon at every meal can do a dog good, but never give your dog a cinnamon stick to chew on. Also,
- Limit to 1 teaspoon per day as cinnamon does have a mild anti-clotting effect on the blood.
- Cassia cinnamon (the dark type that is found in grocery stores everywhere) contains coumarin which can cause liver issues in high concentrations.
- Don’t feed cinnamon to pregnant dogs as it may stimulate the uterus.
Pumpkin and cinnamon make a GRRReat combination all year long to help your dog live an even healthier life with you!