Pumpkin: A Superfood For Your Pets
You can carve them. You can smash them. You can mash them to a pulp and put them in a pie. But can you really feed pumpkin to your pets? Absolutely! This versatile member of the squash family has so much to offer, it’s a shame most people only think of them during the holidays. The truth is, pumpkin isn’t just any old vegetable (or fruit, as some would argue)…it’s actually considered a superfood!
What’s All the Hype About Pumpkin?
The upsurge in appreciation for pumpkin-flavored everything reminds us of happy family holidays and crisp Fall weather. Pumpkin has been enjoying a spike in popularity over the past few years with it seemingly being added to everything from coffee to breakfast cereal and even to pet food! But most people are still unaware of the many health benefits of pumpkin itself, especially for pets. And the great news is that it offers super nutritious value for both cats and dogs alike.
Vital Vitamins & Minerals in Pumpkin Can Protect Your Pet’s Health
Pumpkins may be kind of hollow on the inside, but the flesh is packed with important vitamins and nutrients that have a positive impact on your pet’s overall health. These include:
Vitamin A – The orange color of pumpkins is due to the high level of beta-carotene, a carotenoid. When your pet’s body processes beta-carotene, it is converted to Vitamin A. This is a vitamin that supports eye health and vision, especially night vision. Beta-carotene also acts as an antioxidant in your pet’s body, which in turn supports overall health and immunity. All-in-all, Vitamin A is important to promote healthy skin and coat, optimal bone development, healthy reproductive function, and eye health.
Vitamin C – This vitamin supports enzymatic reactions necessary for good health. Like Vitamin A, it also has antioxidant properties to support healthy cellular structure and immune system health. Some studies have also indicated that natural, dietary Vitamin C may be helpful for dogs who’ve experienced physical or emotional stress, and may help promote healthier teeth and gums.
Vitamin E – Another important vitamin for pet health, Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary to support cell functions and the metabolism of fats. Vitamin E levels can impact eye and muscle health, along with reproductive system function.
Calcium – This mineral supports strong, healthy bones and teeth.
Iron – Iron is an important mineral for both cats and dogs. Maintaining proper iron levels helps their little bodies make healthy red blood cells and ward off iron-deficiency anemia.
Lutein – Lutein is another carotenoid that is beneficial for vision and eye health.
Overall Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Pets
As you can see, the vitamin profile that naturally occurs in pumpkin supports your pet’s vision and eye health, immune system function, as well as healthy, supple skin & a shiny, soft coat.
Other health benefits of pumpkin for cats and dogs include digestive regularity from pumpkin’s high soluble fiber content, which helps with bouts of both constipation and diarrhea. It’s a magical superfood!
The high fiber and water content in pumpkin may also help overweight pets get down to a healthier weight. Adding a little pumpkin to a pudgy pet’s diet makes them feel fuller longer, and the low fat and calorie content of pumpkin makes it a perfect natural diet food.
Feeding Pets Pumpkin – Do’s and Don’ts
Your first question may be, “Will my pet actually like the taste of pumpkin?” The good news is, most dogs and cats enjoy the rich, subtle flavor of natural, cooked pumpkin. There’s no need to add spices or anything else to enhance or change the flavor.
In fact, you should only feed your pet plain pumpkin that is thoroughly cooked. So, that means no left-over Jack-O-Lanterns or canned pumpkin pie filling. You may give your pet plain canned pumpkin, as long as there are no additives, sugars, or spices. You can keep leftover canned pumpkin in a tightly sealed BPA-free container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Generally, adding just 1 teaspoon of canned or home-cooked pumpkin per pound of your pet’s body weight to their normal food is the ideal amount.
Other Ways to Add Pumpkin to Your Pet’s Diet
If you’re looking for an easier way to consistently give your dog or cat the benefits of pumpkin in a way they are sure to enjoy, pawTree offers a delicious variety of pet food, treats, and our pawPairings® Superfood Seasonings that contain healthy amounts of pumpkin for your pets.
For pets who are finicky, pawPairings® is a fun and easy way to add the superfood benefits of high-quality, natural nutrient sources like pumpkin to their everyday food.
Developed by veterinarians and nutritionists, these special superfood flavor blends contain concentrated sources of fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes, carrots, cranberries, pomegranates, and blueberries.
They also contain freeze-dried proteins from natural meat, fish or poultry, for a powerful, comprehensive nutritional boost in flavors that get tails wagging. Just a few shakes of flavorful pawPairings® Superfood Seasoning enhances flavor & nutrition while treating your pet to a yummy break from their same daily food.
So, if you’re looking for a healthy way to supplement your pet’s diet with natural nutrients, look no further than the great pumpkin. Even though pumpkin season only comes once a year, there’s no reason to wait for Autumn to add Mother Nature’s superfood to your pet’s daily meals.