I've been adding healthy pumpkin to my dogs' diets for years. Not only do my dogs love the taste of pumpkin, but pumpkin is super healthy for dogs! The health benefits of adding pumpkin to your dog's diet is well worth the tiny bit of extra effort at mealtime.

As soon as pumpkins become available in my area, I buy a few both for Halloween decorations and to cook for my dogs so I can add some fresh, healthy pumpkin to their diet.  I boil chunks of pumpkin and add some of the pure, fresh pumpkin to my dogs food each day.  I like to use it in making pumpkin flavored dog treats as well. There are a million different ways you can make homemade dog treats that include pumpkin.  Add a touch of cinnamon to your pumpkin dog treats for the full effect of Fall flavor!

🎃 Don’t use a carved pumpkin that’s been sitting outside for weeks to feed to your pet.  A carved Halloween pumpkin may have picked up bacteria and fungi while sitting outside with it’s inside exposed to the elements. 🎃

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My dog with a Pumpkin decoration. Health Benefits of Adding Pumpkin To a Dog's Diet 


I initially started giving my dog Phoebe pumpkin because she was often constipated.  She would strain while defecating and scoot on the rug afterwards.  To help her, I looked for a natural source of extra fiber that was safe to feed dogs rather than use a stool softener for pets.  

Pumpkin was the perfect choice because it's high in fiber, has a large water content, and has other health benefits for dogs as well.  Phoebe loved the taste of pumpkin.  Adding pumpkin to her diet helped her constipation tremendously.  My Husky, Icy loves pumpkin too, although she doesn't need the extra fiber as much as Phoebe I still think it's beneficial to overall dogs health. 

Pumpkin Provides These Health Benefits for Dogs:

** Pumpkin is low in fat and cholesterol.

** Pumpkin helps calm a dog's upset stomach, and provide an immune system boost.

** Pumpkin Contains beta-carotene and Vitamin C which are two major antioxidants.  It also contains Vitamin A which is an essential supplement for dogs.

** Pumpkin is made up largely of water and fiber.  

🐶 Don’t feed your dog Pumpkin Pie Mix it usually contains added salt, sugar and spices.  I only give my dogs 100% pure pumpkin with no added ingredients. 🐶


** The oils in both the flesh and seeds of pumpkin can help support urinary health in dogs (and cats too!).

** A great source of fiber, pumpkin can help with digestive regularity.  If your dog is either constipated OR has diarrhea, adding pumpkin to their food can be beneficial.  I add 1 to 2 tablespoons to my dogs food daily, but consult your own Veterinarian about amount and frequency of adding pumpkin to your pet’s diet.

** Canned pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber. If your dog needs to lose weight, replacing a small portion of their food with pumpkin can help your pooch slim down.  I've read that it’s recommended not to replace more than 10% of your dog’s diet with pumpkin. 

** The fiber contained in pumpkin can help move furballs along a cat’s digestive tract. Small amounts of canned pumpkin, about a teaspoon or less per day, given to cats can help prevent furballs from forming as well.

** The antioxidants and essential fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds can help moisturize your dog's skin and fur.

I mix a small amount of pumpkin directly in with my dogs morning meal, a teaspoon for my small dog and a tablespoon for my Husky.  I also like to give it to them stuffed in a Kong toy as a treat.  I mix it with plain Greek yogurt (it's thicker and won’t leak out of the Kong), peanut butter, cooked sweet potato, banana or other fruit.  You can mix it up, place it in treat dispensers and freeze it for later too.  My dogs love frozen treats, even in cold weather! 


Raw pumpkin is not very digestible, so I don’t give my dogs any raw pumpkin.  I always use either canned (100% pure pumpkin) or I give cooked pumpkin to my dog.  ALWAYS consult your Vet before adding any new food, treats, or supplements to your pet’s diet, even foods labeled as "natural" or "organic".


STEP 1:  Cut off the top of a fresh, ripe pumpkin

STEP 2:  Scoop out the seeds inside the pumpkin.  You can dry these out to later crush finely and add to dog food or homemade dog treats.  Pumpkin seeds have health benefits too.

STEP 3:  Cut the pumpkin up into chunks. I start by slicing it into larger wedges, then I cut those into chunks.

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Dog Health Benefits of Pumpkin 

STEP 4:  Boil the chunks of pumpkin on the stove

STEP 5:  After boiling until the chunks are soft, strain the water out. I retain the water and add it to my dogs' kibble.  The water retains some valuable nutrients so I hate to throw it away!  You could also steam or microwave the pumpkin chunks until they're soft if you prefer.

STEP 6:  Once the pumpkin chunks are soft, I remove the rind in order to mash up the pumpkin.  Many people like to retain the softened rind and place it into a blender, as the rind also has nutrients in it.  I don't usually do that myself, mainly because it's more time consuming.

This short video shows how the softened pumpkin enables you to easily remove the pumpkin rind: (there's background music in the video)

STEP 7:  After removing the pumpkin rind, mash up the softened pumpkin chunks, similar to making mashed potatoes.

This short video shows how to easily mash up the softened pumpkin chunks.  You could place the chunks in a blender if you prefer. (there's background music in the video)

In the U.S. there’s an abundance of fresh pumpkins in September and October, and they are often still available in November.  During other times of the year when fresh pumpkins aren’t available, I buy 100% canned pumpkin at the grocery store or pet supply store for my dogs.  

I check the label carefully, as canned pumpkin from grocery stores can contain sodium and sugar. Even the “organic” brands can contain up to 10 grams of these ingredients!  My dogs love pumpkin and I want to give them the health benefits associated with pumpkin, but I won’t give them pumpkin with salt or sugar added.

You can find 100% pure canned pumpkin at most grocery stores, Target (although recently they've been out of stock a lot), and PetSmart!  PetSmart carries canned pumpkin made by Authority, which is PetSmart's own brand of pet food.  Target carries 100%  pure canned pumpkin made by their own brand, as well as pure pumpkin made by other brands. 

Whether it's fresh cooked or canned, pets can enjoy the many health benefits of pumpkin!  I recently started using powdered pumpkin supplement by Native Pet, and it's working great! My dogs love it, it's super convenient, and it lasts a long time. 

NOTE I am not a Veterinarian or Vet Tech, nor do I play one online! I am sharing what I have learned on my own and what my own experience has been in adding pumpkin to my dogs' diets.  Always check with your Veterinarian before adding new food, treats, or supplements to your pet’s diet.

For more Dog Health information:

Check out more of my Pet Wellness and safety blog posts.
Follow my Pinterest board on Pet Health and Safety where I share PINs with pet health information & tips from some of the most knowledgeable sources!

Do you give your dog or cat pumpkin?  Tell us about it in the comments!


AmyShojai said...

Terrific idea! I've recommended pumpkin for years to cat owner clients, as kitties love it too and enjoy many of the same benefits.

Hindy Pearson said...

Love this post about the benefits of pumpkin, and have wanted to buy some for Jack for ages. Since I'm not going to buy a whole pumpkin (only on sale here one time of year), I wanted the convenience of canned which is not available here. The funny thing is, after all that I just got the results of Jack's allergy tests and it turns out he's allergic to the stuff!!

Michelle - Pooch Parenting said...

I had some leftover pumpkin after baking muffins recently and mixed it with some other ingredients and stuffed it into a Kong. Both dogs were in heaven.

Chelle said...

Great post! I always try to keep some pumpkin around since it does seem to help when my boys are having tummy troubles.

LaylasWoof said...

I give Layla pumpkin in her food daily and swear by it. My vet told me to since I am cooking for her. As for pumpkin seeds LOL - I love them and bake them and then eat them as a snack - so nothing is wasted :)

Unknown said...

I gave my dog a chunk of flesh of the pumpkin I carved for Halloween - she loved it!

The Daily Pip said...

Ruby does get a little pumpkin in her food sometimes. I have a funny story about how I started feeding pumpkin to my dog. When my daughter was a baby and first started eating real food, she loved pumpkin. Pip are first dog always seemed interested so I would give him a teaspoon in his food (used real pumpkin not baby food). I continued the practice with Ruby. My daughter doesn't like plain pumpkin anymore just pumpkin pie!

M. K. Clinton said...

The boys LOVE pumpkin and it is great for their tummies. Thanks for the "how-to" information.

Jessica @ said...

You know, I've never actually thought about making my own pumpkin for my dogs! I don't give it to them all of the time but I do sometimes for a treat or if, like you said, they are having potty issues. I usually just by the can, take out what I plan to use for the next few days, and freeze the rest for later.

Lola The Rescued Cat said...

I love giving my girls pumpkin, because Lola tends to get constipated and Lexy gets hairballs. I've never made them fresh pumpkin before, though. I'll have to give this a try - especially this time of year!

DawgBlogger said...

Pumpkin offers great nutrients as well as beneficial fiber. Interestingly, didn't agree with Jasmine. No orange vegetables agreed with her.

Talent Hounds said...

I always bake and boil pumpkin and squash and sweet potatoes for the whole family including Kilo the Pug. We all LOVE pumpkin and it has so many benefits. I also buy the pure puree in a can and add it to food and treats. So yummy.

Lindsay Pevny said...

Yum, I wonder if it's too late to buy pumpkins. I like to spoon the puree into silicone molds and freeze it to make treats.

Sweet Purrfections said...

I know pumpkin can be good for cats, too, but my girls don't really like it.

Beth said...

My dogs enjoy canned pumpkin puree, but this looks pretty easy to make! I'll have to try and make them some.

Impurrfectlife said...

Yes. Pumpkin works. I remember when my Dusty was alive and had an issue with constipation I fed her pumpkin. It works! Pumpkin has good benefits.

FiveSibesMom said...

Great (and delicious) post, Cathy! We love pumpkin over here! I have added this yummy healthy food to my FiveSibes for many years and touted it's benefits, including helping my Epi-dog to lose weight! Love how your videos show folks the simplicity to preparing the pumpkin! Awesome job! I'm hungry now! ;-)

jank1961 said...

I absolutely love giving Luke pumpkin. It's even fun to grow my own, but this year our crop didn't do very well. So we often have to buy the canned as well.
Did you know you can just bake the whole pumpkin in the oven, and then take it apart? It comes apart easier that way.
A bonus for us is that the strings and seeds are also very healthy for our chickens! :) If i'm not cooking them for Luke, then we just cut them in half and let the girls peck at them. The pumpkin seeds are a good de-wormer for them.
Oh, and pumpkin is good for cats as well! Our picky Samantha even likes it when I add a little puree to her food.
Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

Point Grey Veterinary Hospital said...

Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic as we also provide services to cure and safety animals. Veterinary Hospital Vancouver

Anonymous said...

Pumpkin is a go to for many health conscioous dog owners, its tasty (even humans like it) and easy to use. As pumpkin is not a huge 'think' here in NZ I did not know you could buy it tinned too!

Marjorie at Dash Kitten

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