What’s all the hype about pumpkin? Every fall (just around the corner!) we hear about all sorts of pumpkin options from drinks to food items to your holiday favorites. But did you know pumpkin is also a nutrient and fiber-rich food that could benefit your cat and dog’s health?
Most often we find pumpkin in treats, canned food, and even kibble and raw food for our pets. When we hear the word pumpkin we often think of the jack-o-lantern carving tradition and of course pumpkin pie. But did you know that pumpkin is part of the winter squash family with a history dating back to as early as 7000 BC? It is a low carbohydrate, low fat, low calorie, no cholesterol, and low protein squash and every culture seems to have their own way of serving pumpkin as a nourishing meal. Pumpkins are mostly harvested in the fall just like many other squashes. They are easy to store for the long winter months in dry, cool, and dark spaces or cellars.
When ripe, pumpkins are going to be a rich orange color. It is best to bake a pumpkin before use but it can also be served as a raw treat for dogs. Our pets can also consume the rind or skin portion for added nutrients. Oftentimes, we find the skin unappetizing so we only scoop out the fleshy part of the squash for consumption when making tasty treats for the humans in the house. When pumpkins vine-ripen and mature, the meat should be sweet.
Key nutrients in pumpkins include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamins C, B6, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, fiber, and small amounts of lipids and amino acids. It is often used to help the body fight infection, maintain fluid balancing, protect against heart disease, regulate blood pressure, support the digestive system, and decrease diarrhea. Many believe it can also help prevent cancers, cataracts, and arteriosclerosis. With all of that wonderful information about pumpkin, I can understand why people wait for this beautiful squash each fall season.
Pumpkin can be served to both cats and dogs. It is often suggested for digestive upset and can be incorporated into your pet’s diet as a treat or even daily. One tablespoon per 10 lbs. of body weight is the recommended amount but you could add more or less based on your pet’s preference or the reason for use. Stop into a local store like The Pet Beastro to try some of our pumpkin-based favorites along with all of our seasonal offerings for your cats and dogs this harvest season!