Here a pumpkin…there a pumpkin…everywhere you look there is a pumpkin…or two…or three…or more, and it is definitely the season for everyone to indulge in pumpkin-flavored sweets, and by everyone, we mean everyone, dogs included. There are many human foods that you should definitely not share with your pooch, but pumpkin has health benefits for both two-legs and four-legs. Loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and alpha and beta carotene, the health benefits of pumpkin can result in a healthier immune system, healthier skin, healthier eyes, and a healthier coat. (Even the seeds are a doggy super food.) Wow! That’s not too shabby for a treat that almost all dogs love. Here are a few health benefits of pumpkin when given in small portions:
- Some health care professionals believe that the oils contained in the seeds and flesh of pumpkins support urinary health in dogs, and anyone whose dog has had bladder or kidney stones, know how much suffering they can cause. Supposedly adding pumpkin to his diet can help avoid this painful condition.
- The antioxidants and essential fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds help moisturize your dog’s skin from the inside out. Spread seeds evenly onto a lightly greased baking sheet, and roast in a 375 degree oven for about l0 minutes, and cool before serving one or two as a special daily treat. (Leftover seeds should be stored in an airtight container). Don’t overdo the portion sizes, since minerals like iron and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A can accumulate to unhealthy, even toxic levels.
- According to Laci Schaible, founder of VetLive.com, pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix with spices and sugar…just plain pumpkin) is great for digestive health. Adding a tablespoon or two (in proportion dog’s size) to their regular meal is known to help keep a dog regular. It can also help dogs with indigestion or upset stomachs. Again remember to not overdo portion sizes.
- Most of our dogs seem to have the same weight problem as most of us humans, and dogs seem to naturally love pumpkin, so if you are looking to take a few pounds off your overweight companion, try reducing the portion of their food and mix it with a small amount of canned pumpkin. The tummy will feel just as full, and she will enjoy the new taste treat.
November seems to be the month of putting delicious pumpkin into every baked food imaginable, so adding pumpkin to dog biscuits should be a no-brainer. Hopefully you will forget about non-healthy commercial dog treats and try this easy-to-make recipe
PEANUT BUTTER – PUMPKIN BITES
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin, not pie mix pumpkin)
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you mix the first four ingredients. Then add the flour. (I knead it with my hands). Dough should be workable…not too sticky, but not dry and stiff. (Add a few drops of water if needed). Pinch off bite sized pieces and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. If they get too brown, it’s okay…they will just be crunchier….if they are still soft, they will be chewier…dogs aren’t fussy…they love them any way they turn out!