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A cat and a dog with a pumpkin.
Pet Blog

The Benefits of Pumpkin for Your Dog or Cat

Want to boost your cat or dog's diet with something nutritious? Pumpkin for pets can be a game changer, offering a rich source of nutrition and fiber to promote regular digestion. It's a simple yet effective way to enhance their diet—whether you have a playful pup or a curious cat, adding pumpkin can support their digestive health and add a tasty twist to their daily routine.


The Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin

Interested in the science behind the nutritional benefits of pumpkin for dogs and cats? Then this section is for you! Below, we outline the nutritional components that make pumpkin a fantastic choice for your pet's health—from its fiber-rich goodness to its vitamin-packed flavor. The benefits and nutritious properties that put pumpkin on the pet superfood list are numerous—so read on to find out how this humble gourd can make a big impact on your furry friend's diet.


Vitamin A

Did you know? Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are crucial for maintaining your pet's nerve and muscle health. These nutrients work wonders to keep your pet’s skin and fur in top condition. A little pumpkin in your pet's diet goes a long way in supporting their overall well-being.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C, a key antioxidant in pumpkin, plays a vital role in bolstering your pet's immune system. Adding this to their diet can help fend off sneezes and contribute to their long-term health.


Vitamin E

Vitamin E, another potent antioxidant in pumpkin, is essential for eye, muscle, and reproductive health. It's particularly beneficial for aging pets, aiding in pain and inflammation management.


Minerals

Pumpkin is packed with both vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and copper. Collectively, these essential minerals support everything from bone development and cell health to red blood cell production in pets.


Fiber

The big nutritional headliner of pumpkin is its high fiber content, which is what makes it so good for cat and dog digestive health. Fiber adds bulk to your pet’s digestive tract, helping to reduce diarrhea, constipation, and hairballs. On top of that, fiber acts as a prebiotic; adds valuable fatty acids; improves water absorption; and lowers the pH of the large intestine—all of which mean better digestion for your BFF.


Moisture

Canned pumpkin and especially fresh pumpkin for dogs and cats includes high water content, making it a great source of moisture for pets who could use a little extra hydration (looking at you, feline friends). Bountiful hydration is essential for overall body function and—you guessed it—good digestion.


How to Add Pumpkin to Your Pet’s Diet

If you’re convinced of the benefits of pumpkin, how can you start feeding it to your dog or cat? There are some simple ways to add pumpkin to their diet!

The easiest way is to find an expertly formulated cat food or dog food with pumpkin on the ingredient list! It’s a common ingredient in many natural pet foods made for sensitive stomachs that aid in digestion.

To incorporate this superfood into your pet's meals, simply mix a small amount of pure, unsweetened pumpkin or pumpkin puree in with their regular food. Picky eaters might dodge dollops or chunks of pumpkin, but incorporating it throughout their wet or dry food will help it blend in seamlessly. Better yet, most dogs are fans of the naturally sweet flavor of pumpkin—it might actually make their meals more tempting!

Sourcing Pumpkin for Your Pet

You can buy pumpkin puree for dogs and cats at most grocery stores. Just be sure to look for plain canned pumpkin with no added salt, sugar, or spices. Don’t get pumpkin pie filling by mistake!

You can also find whole, organic pumpkins and make your own pumpkin puree for dogs with no recipe needed. Simply chop up and steam or bake your pumpkin until it’s tender, remove the peel, and blitz in a blender or food processor until it’s a smooth puree. Added bonus: roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious for people and pets and can be a natural de-worming treatment for animals!

A good guideline to follow is that at most 15% of your pet’s daily calories should come from added foods, while at least 85% should come from their staple diet. (Find more details in our guide to adding fresh food to your pet’s meals!)

However you choose to add pumpkin to your pet’s diet, just make sure you’re feeding the right amount. Our top dry dog foods come loaded with everything your pup needs to be happy and healthy-plus all of our natural pet foods follow strict standards set by AAFCO, an independent organization that helps establish rules and guidelines in creating healthy pet food.

Pumpkin makes a great addition to most dog and cat diets—and yours too. We love finding snacks we can share with our pets, and eating pumpkin together with your best friend is a win for both nutrition AND flavor!

 

Updated November 29, 2023