Pumpkin for pets

The health benefits of pumpkin not only applies to humans but to dogs and cats too.
By Pets Team
Published on Monday, 03 December 2012

Photo source: http://petfoodreport.blogspot.sg/2011/10/tastyand-healthypumpkin-treats.html

A staple at Halloween and Thanksgiving, the humble pumpkin is a fruit that is packed with many health benefits and is safe to be fed to your pet on a regular basis. Most dogs and cats take to the sweet taste of pumpkin well and will readily welcome this fruit into their diet.

Containing nearly three grams of fiber per one cup serving, pumpkin is a rich source of fiber and is very useful in the treatment and maintenance of the digestive health of our pets. Dogs and cats suffering from constipation and diarrhea will benefit from the consumption of pureed pumpkin. Adding a tablespoon or two (in proportion to their size) to their meal can help regulate their bowels. By consuming more fiber, the stool bulk increases and stimulates the colon wall, promoting the contraction of muscles and pushing the stool through the rectum. Fiber also aids in weight reduction or weight management as it gives your pet a feeling of fullness and thus curbs its physiological urge to consume more than the sufficient amount. Canned pumpkin also helps in the removal of hairballs in cats by ensuring the ingested fur passes through the digestive system. Bear in mind to feed it in moderation as excessive intake of pumpkin can lead to flatulence and discomfort.

Most commercial pet food consists of highly processed and dehydrated kibble. Based on traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, the consumption of such moisture-deficient foods leads to the increased secretion of gastric acid and pancreatic enzymes to facilitate digestion, and bring about a dehydrating effect on the body. You can try countering this effect by adding pumpkin to your pet’s meal or feeding it as a snack as this fruit is composed of 90% water.

Keep Fido’s immune system strong with a regular dose of pumpkin, a cheap and good alternative to store-bought Vitamin C supplements.  One cup of the fruit contains at least 11mg of this vitamin and provides your pet with the antioxidants and immune system support it needs to stay healthy. Don’t be quick to discard those pumpkin seeds. They are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids which boast anti-inflammatory effects. Bake the seeds and feed them to Rover as a natural and wholesome treat or crush and add them to its diet. Take note to give it only a few in one setting as the fat content of the seeds can result in soft stools.