Best known for its use as Halloween jack-o-lanterns or Thanksgiving pie filling, the pumpkin is a fruit that belongs to the same family as melons and cucumbers.
All parts of the pumpkin have nutritional value, including the leaves and rinds, which contain protein and fiber and are often used medicinally.
Here are 10 ways pumpkin can benefit your pet:
- The seeds are a great source of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Roast the seeds and then grind them up. Do not add salt.
- The flesh contains soluble fiber, which helps slows digestion, and can help manage diarrhea by absorbing water.
- Alternatively, it also helps with constipation due to its high fiber and water content.
- It is great for “bulking up” your animal’s food. Most animals don’t require large quantities of pumpkin, and at only 34 calories per 100 grams, the benefits far outweigh the few extra calories.
- The flesh contains vitamin A, which is important for vision health.
- The flesh also contains vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.
- Dogs with joint problems need more vitamin C than they produce naturally, and pumpkin is a good source.
- Since it slows digestion, it also helps with weight loss, since your pet will feel fuller for longer.
- It slows the aging process with its bountiful antioxidant beta-carotene.
- The zinc in it will help improve skin and coat.
Use either canned unsalted pumpkin or cook your own and freeze it in ice cube trays. Or look for pet foods that include pumpkin as an ingredient!
DIY Pumpkin Treats
½ cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons dry milk
2 and 1/8 cups chickpea flour (high in protein!)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend eggs and pumpkin; add dry milk and flour. Add water as needed to make dough workable – it should be dry and stiff. Roll to ½” thick and cut into shapes. Place 1” apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes on one side, then turn over and bake another 20 minutes.
*Try to use organic and local ingredients whenever possible.