More pumpkin for my dog, please!
I was having one of my all-time favorite desserts a few weeks ago, a pumpkin pie, and was convincing myself that a second slice would be fine since pumpkin has many health benefits for our four-legged friends. It was easy to convince myself to eat that extra piece of dessert using all the positives while leaving out all the negatives. For one, the pumpkin pie I was eating was full of sugar and other ingredients added to increase the flavor that plain pumpkin does not contain. Unsweetened canned pumpkin or pumpkin that is freshly cooked has many great health benefits for our pets, most importantly in the area of digestion and intestinal well-being.
Pumpkin contains a good deal of fiber which helps pets that are constipated and surprisingly, it also helps pets that have diarrhea. In pets with constipation, adding a little plain unsweetened canned pumpkin (not the kind that is used as a dessert or to make pumpkin pie) helps keep most pets from getting or remaining constipated. In order for the fiber in pumpkins to be of benefit in constipation it is essential that the pet drink lots of water. Water must always be available and the pet must be encouraged to drink. All pets benefit from being well hydrated, especially ones that suffer from constipation. Next time you feel that your pet is constipated you may want to consider adding a quarter to a half an ounce of canned pumpkin to their regular food.
A diet that contains pumpkin is also beneficial in pets that have diarrhea. Fiber is usually good for both constipation and diarrhea and improves general intestinal health. Another health benefit of fiber is that it fights pet obesity. Many over-the-counter human diet aids contain fiber because of this benefit. When the fiber goes into the stomach, it makes the pet feel full by adding extra volume by expanding a bit without adding many calories. In order for this to work, however, it is essential that the pumpkin is not added along with the regular quantity of food that you give daily. The only way for this to work is by substituting a small amount of the regular food daily with approximately half an ounce of the pumpkin. This over time will produce great results that you will notice and your pets will actually love. Dogs especially love the taste of pumpkin.
As always, please remember that if your pet is constipated or has diarrhea for more than a few days, or seems to be losing weight extremely fast, please call the veterinarian. Rapid unexplained weight loss or diarrhea for extended periods could be a sign that something is wrong that may require veterinary treatment. Your veterinarian is the only one who is in a position to diagnose your pet’s condition and treat the condition before it becomes a much bigger problem.
If you have any pet medication related questions, please feel free to call your 1800PetMeds pharmacist who will be happy to help answer those for you.