Hard shell, soft core - this saying also applies to the pumpkin. Pumpkins have been a popular food in Europe since the 16th century. We like to use it in soups, cakes or salads and enjoy its colorfulness every year. But can our four-legged friends also enjoy this delicious autumn pumpkin treat? In this article, we answer the question: Can dogs eat pumpkin?
Pumpkin for dogs - ingredients for good health
Pumpkin is a very nutritious fall vegetable, even for dogs. Pumpkins can be harvested well into the winter and contain hardly any fat. Instead, the bright orange spheres provide plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals. Particularly noteworthy is the high potassium content and beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the dog's body and is important for vision and (mucous) skin.
Pumpkin also contains an acceptable amount of vitamin C, which provides natural cell protection, supports wound healing and improves iron absorption. In addition to the vitamins and minerals mentioned, pumpkin also provides dogs with plenty of fiber. Dietary fiber is important for the dog's digestion, it promotes satiety and supports the gastrointestinal tract in its work.
Danger for the dog? Pumpkin on the menu in the fall season
However, pumpkins can also pose a danger to dogs and can even be life-threatening. This is due to the ingredients: cucurbitacins. Cucurbitacins are bitter substances found in pumpkins, cucumbers and other cucurbits such as zucchinis. These bitter substances are very poisonous and can put dogs and humans in life-threatening situations.
Fortunately, you can easily determine whether the pumpkin contains too many of these bitter substances. If the autumn vegetable tastes very bitter and is completely inedible, dogs should not eat pumpkins. But humans can also be poisoned if the cucurbitacin content is too high. We therefore recommend tasting the pumpkin for dogs first before your four-legged friend is allowed to eat it.
If you buy pumpkin for your dog in the supermarket, it should not usually pose a health problem. This is because the bitter substances have already been bred out of commercially available pumpkins. However, if you grow your own pumpkins, they may be bred back so that the bitter substances are contained in the pumpkin again. In this case, dogs are not allowed to eat pumpkins.
Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds and oil as a food supplement?
Pumpkins are also often used to make pumpkin seed oil, which is very popular with our Austrian neighbors. Pumpkin seed oil contains lots of unsaturated fatty acids and is a valuable source of minerals. But can dogs also eat pumpkin seed oil or pumpkin seeds?
Yes, but in moderation. While pumpkin seed oil can simply be mixed into the dog's food and is particularly helpful when barfing, pumpkin seeds should always be crushed before feeding. The BARF-Complete is an extremely vitamin- and nutrient-rich variant, as it contains a large selection of herbs for natural barfing.
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil can have a positive effect on bladder weakness and prostate enlargement. Pumpkin seeds are a popular natural supportive "remedy" for incontinence in dogs. If your dog is prone to bladder weakness or has problems with the prostate, we recommend the bladder formula with pumpkin seed meal, yarrow and bilberry leaves. The combination of natural herbs supports normal bladder function and can be given to dogs with bladder weakness.
Pumpkin seed oil is also suitable for external use on your four-legged friend, for eczema and dry, flaky skin. Apply the oil sparingly to the problem areas.
Linseed oil for dogs and omega-3-rich salmon oil for dogs have proven to be a good alternative to pumpkin seed oil.
Alternatives to pumpkin for dogs
We can definitely answer the question "Can dogs eat pumpkin?" in the affirmative. This garden vegetable is not only tasty, but also very healthy for your pet. However, if you don't want to feed your dog pumpkins, there are plenty of alternatives in the world of fruit and vegetables. Cucumbers for dogs, zucchinis or even strawberries for dogs are tasty alternatives and bring some variety to your dog's daily diet. However, you should only feed fruit in moderation. It should not make up more than 5% of the BARF menu.
Can dogs eat pumpkin - conclusion
- Yes, pumpkin is tasty and healthy for dogs
- Pumpkin contains many valuable nutrients
- The vegetable can also be used as a supplement to BARF
Caution: Do not feed bitter gourds, they contain too many bitter substances that are toxic to dogs