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Dogs are some of our most important family members. We want to care for their health as much as possible. Our canine companions are cute, but they don’t always know which foods will upset their stomachs. It’s important that we do our best to know what they can and cannot eat.
Although it’s tempting to give your dog the last bit of food on your plate (I know, they look so cute when they beg!), we must remember that some of our favorite foods are toxic to them. Many fruits are perfectly fine for canine consumption, such as apples (with no core and seeds), apricots, cucumbers, and blueberries.
Others, however, like grapes and raisins, are not so good. Fruits can be a tricky food group for dogs because there are no exact set of rules to determine which types of fruits can and cannot be eaten by our pups.
Dogs are omnivorous, meaning they need a mix between plant and animal material to maintain a balanced diet. Due to the high-quality, nutritionally complete options available for commercial diets, it isn’t necessary to supplement your dog’s diet with fruits. However, when chosen correctly, certain fruits can be a fun addition to your pet’s diet!
While your dog may beg for more, remember that treats, including fruit, should take up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet. If you are giving your pup fruit alongside other dog treats, be sure to adjust the number of treats given so as to not exceed the 10 percent rule.
Pumpkin is actually great for dogs! Pumpkin can be a great way to soothe a dog’s digestive system, enrich brain and eye development, and maintain or reduce their weight, among other benefits. The fiber found in pumpkin can regulate the growth of good bacteria in your pup’s intestines and stimulate more regular stools.
Pumpkin is also rich in vitamin A, which, according to the National Research Council Academy of Sciences, is vital support for healthy eyes and skin, brain development, and immune function. When paired with the other vitamins and antioxidants found in pumpkin, our dogs can benefit from a comprehensive immune support system.
In addition, the vitamin E, potassium, and beta carotene in pumpkin help keep away the free radicals that can trigger abnormal cell growth and premature aging in dogs. They also work to keep your dog’s internal organs and muscles healthy. Lastly, pumpkin can aid in controlling your pup’s weight as it is high in fiber and low in calories.
However, there are some caveats that come with canine pumpkin consumption. Although plain canned pumpkin can provide nutritional value for our dogs, the spices associated with it can be irritating and unhealthy for their diets. It is important to remember to always serve your pumpkin as plain as possible. Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as other additives and sugars, frequently added to pumpkin products can make your dog feel very sick.
Nutmeg can be especially irritating, as it contains the toxin myristicin, which can cause disorientation, high blood pressure, and even seizures in your dog. Another toxin to make sure to avoid is xylitol, which can be deadly for dogs. Xylitol is sometimes found in canned pumpkin puree that is labeled as “sugar-free,” so be conscious when reading ingredient labels.
Keep in mind that not every dog will react the same to pumpkin. If feeding your pooch this snack doesn’t seem to be helping his or her gastrointestinal issues or is causing a poor reaction, make sure to consult your veterinarian before continuing.
Pumpkin is the safest and healthiest for your dog when it is served plain. Canned pumpkin has more nutrients than fresh pumpkin because fresh pumpkin has a higher water content. The best choice for your pet is plain canned pumpkin without added sugars, ingredients or fillers.
Other good options are plain fresh pumpkin and pumpkin flesh. If you choose to feed your dog a fresh pumpkin, know that not every part of a pumpkin is healthy for him or her! Make sure to avoid the pulp, skin, and stems of the pumpkin, as they can cause upset stomach and indigestion.
Refrain from reusing your Jack O’Lanterns as snacks for your pet. Old carved pumpkins can breed bacteria and mold that will make your pet very sick!
If you’re feeding your dog fresh pumpkin, bake it until it’s soft and remove the seeds before serving. If you’re using canned pumpkin puree, it can be served as is.
There’s a good chance you’ll end up with some leftover pumpkin! That’s no problem, as long as you know how to store it. Store any extra by freezing it or putting it in an airtight container and keeping it refrigerated, if you make sure to use it within the next few days.
As with anything, you want to maintain a healthy balance with the amount of pumpkin you’re giving your pet. A little can go a long way.
If you are adding pumpkin to your pup’s diet as a treatment for diarrhea or constipation, start out with just a little bit of pumpkin in their regular dog food and work your way up to 1- 4 tablespoons spread between their daily meals. If you’re not using pumpkin to treat any gastrointestinal issues, small dogs can have a teaspoon or so a day, while bigger dogs can handle up to a tablespoon or two.
Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, but too much of this vitamin can actually be toxic to dogs, so always use caution in the amount you’re feeding your furry friend.
To prevent dehydration frequently caused by fiber-rich ingredients, make sure your dog is consuming plenty of water when incorporating pumpkin into their diet.
If you aren’t sure how much pumpkin your dog can safely eat, consult your vet!
Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we care deeply about your dog’s health. We know how much you cherish their well-being and we want to be with you every step of the way. Pumpkin can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, just as it can be for yours.
For advice on other foods your dog can enjoy, check out Spot Pet Insurance’s webpage. We provide you with plenty of informative materials that help you provide your pet with the best care that they deserve! We also offer personalized pet insurance plans to help keep your dog protected, healthy, and happy.
There is nothing that can come between the bond of you and your beloved pet. We want to make sure that this bond can last for a long, long time.
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