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The Benefits of Pumpkin for Pets

Have some Halloween fun with your pet: Share some Pumpkin!

                Pumpkin is popular this time of year as we enjoy Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and pumpkin pie. But, did you know pumpkin may be good for our pets as well? 

                Pumpkin is high in fiber and can act as a natural stool softener for cats and dogs with constipation issues.  The high fiber may also make pets feel fuller and can be added to food to reduce calories and help promote a healthy weight in pets.  Pumpkin fiber is sometimes useful in firming up stool which allows anal sacs to empty out naturally.  Pumpkin may also reduce hairball formation in cats.  And, while the soluble fiber in pumpkin can also help control diarrhea in some patients, occasionally, too much pumpkin can cause diarrhea so stop or reduce the amount fed if diarrhea develops.

                Other animals can enjoy pumpkin, too!  Herbivorous reptiles such as iguanas, skinks and bearded dragons can also be fed pumpkin and other squash as part of their diets.  Ferrets and some birds such as parrots can also eat pumpkin as a treat.

                If you want to feed your pet some pumpkin, make sure it is plain canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling as you do not want to feed your pet the sugar and spices in pie filling.  If using fresh pumpkin, don’t feed the skin, stems or raw seeds, only the pumpkin flesh.  And don’t feed pumpkin from old Jack-O-Lanterns as it could become spoiled or moldy.  Also, be sure your pet is eating a balanced diet.  Pumpkin should only be used as an occasional supplement or treat.  Consult your vet for amounts, but generally a teaspoon or two is safe for cats or small pets and a tablespoon or two daily for dogs. 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

This blog brought to you by the Patton Veterinary Hospital serving Red Lion, York and the surrounding communities.