Many are celebrating the healthy upgrade a few major coffee shops recently made by adding real pumpkin to their fall-themed drinks. But, us humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a little pumpkin in our diets!
A serving of cooked, fresh or pre-prepared pumpkin can provide a number of nutritional benefits for pets. Unlike a leftover Halloween pumpkin that is often in a state of decay and harboring bacteria or mold. The latter form of pumpkin can cause a toxic effect if ingested by your dog or cat.
Why should you share pumpkin with your pet? Here are 5 reasons:
The sense of fullness promoted by fiber can assist in weight loss for an overweight pet since it reduces the urge to consume larger amounts of food. The increase in stool bulk as a result of increased dietary fiber can also help with feline constipation and colitis (a.k.a. large bowel diarrhea often caused by ingesting something one should not).
One cup of cooked pumpkin can provide more potassium than a banana, which is great for active pets since electrolytes are essential for muscle recovery following activity.
3. Vitamin C
A serving a day may help keep the veterinarian away! This is due to the antioxidant and immune system supporting effects resulting from a diet rich in vitamin C.
Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid that is found to be quite bountiful in a serving of pumpkin. Food-based beta-carotene has been found by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to yield a greater anticancer effect than supplement based forms.
Pumpkin is composed of 90% water, and it can help improve a pet’s hydration levels and reduce heat in the body whether it's added to a meal or supplied as a snack.
If you’re looking for a fun way to incorporate pumpkin into your pet’s diet, try this festive fall snack:
• 1 c. plain pumpkin puree
• 1/2 c. peanut butter
• 2 c. rice flour
• 1 t. cinnamon
• 2 eggs
Combine ingredients into a dough. Roll out onto a flat surface. Use a cookie cutter (a Halloween one if you have it!) to cut out shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes then let cool.
Reminder: Treats such as these should not make up more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake. Also, stomach upset may occur in pets who do not tolerate dietary changes well.