Feeding Canned Pumpkin to Cats or Dogs

by Jo Chester, Demand Media
    Unseasoned canned pumpkin puree can benefit both dogs and cats.

    Unseasoned canned pumpkin puree can benefit both dogs and cats.

    Just like you, pets are sometimes subject to digestive irregularities. Feeding small amounts of canned pumpkin when your cat or dog has constipation or diarrhea can help put her digestive tract back on track. Adding canned pumpkin to her diet may prevent digestive problems from occurring in the first place.

    Canned Pumpkin and Constipation

    Constipation can occur as a side effect of your pet’s aging, as a symptom of other disease, from lack of fiber in her diet or from an obstruction. If your pet’s constipation is due to a lack of fiber or is a result of ingested hair preventing normal bowel movements, canned pumpkin will add moisture and fiber needed to get things moving again. Remember, however, that if your pet is straining to go without any results, if her abdomen is distended or hard to the touch, or if your pet is uninterested in eating, then she needs to see the vet.

    Canned Pumpkin and Diarrhea

    Your pet’s body is attempting to tell you something when she develops diarrhea -- usually that something in her digestive system doesn’t belong there. It may be an allergen, an infection or a worm infestation, but whatever it is, her body is trying to expel it. When you add canned pumpkin to your pet’s food, it adds dietary fiber to her diet, which will solidify your pet’s stools by absorbing excess water and stomach acids. Add only a small amount of pumpkin: A teaspoon or 2 will have the desired effect in cats and small dogs, while as little as a tablespoon of pumpkin will be sufficient for most medium-size and large dogs. Dogs that weigh more than 35 pounds may need up to 5 tablespoons of pumpkin before you see results.

    Canned Pumpkin and Weight Control

    Canned pumpkin consists primarily of fiber, vitamin E and some minerals. Replacing up to a third of your pet’s normal food serving with the same amount of canned pumpkin will significantly reduce the calories she is taking in. Even better, your pet is unlikely to miss that extra food very much -- the fiber content is providing enough bulk to your pet’s meals to leave them feeling full and happy.

    Choosing Canned Pumpkin

    Plain canned pumpkin is available at most grocery stores and supermarkets. Be careful when choosing canned pumpkin for your pet: You want to feed her plain pureed pumpkin, not chunks of pumpkin or pumpkin seasoned for pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling contains sugar and spices that not only are unnecessary for your dog’s diet but may cause the digestive upset you are trying to prevent.

    About the Author

    Jo Chester holds a certificate in pet dog training from Triple Crown Academy for Dog Trainers. She has trained dogs for competition in conformation, Rally and traditional obedience and agility. Chester has two goats, chickens, rabbits, a collie and a pet rat, in addition to several much-loved Toy Fox Terriers.

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