FOOD & TREATS

How Much Pumpkin to Give a Dog: The Right Amount Makes it an Effective Cure for Diarrhea

Healthy Homemade Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats
Anna Smith
Written by Anna Smith

No matter how well we take care of our dogs, diarrhea is just one of those things that can creep up on us and catch us unawares from time to time. Maybe your dog dug through the trash and ate some mystery meat or rolled in something they shouldn’t. No one—neither human nor dog—enjoys the experience of diarrhea. Though you sometimes have to allow it to pass naturally, if you know how much pumpkin to give a dog to alleviate the symptoms, you can help end their suffering that much sooner.

Initially, you may be thinking that this doesn’t sound normal, however, pumpkin can really do your dog a lot of good. As a type of fruit that has an impressively high fiber content, if given in the right amount pumpkin makes for a very effective cure for dog diarrhea. It’s also very delicious and most dogs love the taste of it, so you won’t have any trouble feeding them some—maybe even as a treat for a job well done.

Image showing little dog sitting through some pumpkins

In this article, we’re going to tell you in greater depth why you should feed your dog pumpkin, when to do that, and of course, how much pumpkin to give a dog. We will also explain why you don’t want to give them too much. Once you have reached the end of this article, you wouldn’t be able to resist going into the kitchen immediately to make some delicious pumpkin treats for your dog.

Nutrient Contents in Pumpkin

Judging from the nutrient contents, you can even say that pumpkin is almost completely geared towards aiding digestion in many ways. Pumpkin is an extremely fiber-rich vegetable which is also packed with essential vitamins and minerals. You’ll find vitamin A, E, C, potassium, and iron in pumpkin.

The fiber content in pumpkin will assist in absorbing water from your dog’s stool, making it firmer. In the intestines, the fiber goes through a fermentation process which produces essential fatty acids that stimulate water and sodium absorption in the intestines. In addition, it also aids in lowering the pH level within the large intestine.

Artistic image showing three pumpkins

If this is the first time you’re hearing about pumpkin being used to cure diarrhea, then you’re probably curious as to how it helps with dog diarrhea. We’re going to give you a more in-depth view. First, we are going to give you a better understanding about dog diarrhea, such as what the symptoms are.

When Should You Suspect Dog Diarrhea?

Of course, you have the most obvious symptom of diarrhea which is a loose stool. However, there are other symptoms associated with diarrhea that you need to look out for, such as:

  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Fecal accidents
  • Increased amounts of stool
  • Blood or mucus in feces
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression

If your dog is exhibiting such symptoms, you might wonder how it happened.

dog feeling sick laying on the floor

Dog owners always take great care to feed their beloved pet only the healthiest food, so why did diarrhea still happen? There are plenty of reasons for that.

Why Do Dogs Have Diarrhea?

Just like humans, a dog’s digestive system can become irritated. Diarrhea in dogs is caused by four reasons:

Osmotic Imbalances

Osmotic imbalances occur in dogs when the concentration of food molecules in the intestine is high. Water in the intestine is produced in excess to push the molecules of out the body. Thus, diarrhea happened.

Intestinal Exudation

Intestinal exudation is best described as blood fluids that break through intestinal tissues. It can be mild or severe.

A dog not feeling too well

If it is severe, seeking out a vet’s help immediately is advised. Any kind of severe bleeding should be a cause for concern.

Motility Disorders

This refers to the activity of the intestines. Sometimes the intestines can under/over function, which results in bowel movement difficulties. When the intestine over functions, this is when diarrhea happens.

Oversecretion

This occurs when the intestine secretes too much fluid. This usually occurs after the intestine has been exposed to harmful bacteria or toxins. The intestine itself causes diarrhea in order to remove the bacteria/toxins as quickly as possible from the body.

Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of things, such as eating garbage, infection, intestinal blockage, and changes in diet. Of course, your dog could also be experiencing something more severe such as kidney or liver diseases, however, usually, it’s caused by everyday occurrences.

Image showing a dog not feeling good

Monitor your dog’s bowel movements and write them down. In case you need to go to a vet, it’s important that they know the color, texture and times your dog went to the bathroom. This will help them narrow down the causes as to why your dog has diarrhea in the first place.

If your dog is older or a puppy, diarrhea should be taken very seriously as these are both vulnerable ages for dogs. So, we recommend you to take them to a vet immediately. If your dog is a full-grown adult, in most other cases your dog’s diarrhea should settle on its own within a couple of days, especially if you feed them pumpkin.

How Pumpkin Helps Treat Dog Diarrhea

As we have mentioned above, pumpkins are chock full of nutrients that aid digestion. Both humans and dogs, when experiencing diarrhea, need the enforcement of good bacteria in their stomachs and intestines.

Little dog sitting next to two pumpkins

The fiber in pumpkin acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are slightly different than probiotics because they act as a stimulant for the growth of good bacteria in the stomach and intestines while prohibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Also, since the pH level is decreased with the help of fiber, it allows a healthy environment for the good bacteria to flourish.

You may also help by providing your dog probiotics such a yogurt as these are good bacteria that will help settle the stomach and aid digestion. But generally, feeding them pumpkin should be enough to solve the problem as long as you feed them the right amount.

How to Feed Your Dog Pumpkin

Although feeding your dog pumpkin may seem as easy as simply baking them some treat with it or perhaps even allowing your dog to lick it off of a spoon, if you want your dog to receive the full benefits of what pumpkin has to offer, you’ll want to do the feeding right. Here are the things you have to pay attention to:

Consider the Amount

You don’t want to give your dog too much fiber as it can backfire. The amount of pumpkin you give your dog shouldn’t replace their meal. Pumpkin should be treated as a garnish, so you’re only going to be adding between 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin to their meal.

A dog laying down next to a couple of pumpkins

If your dog is rather sensitive, we recommend that you start out with a smaller amount. It’s best to start off with 1 or 2 tablespoons and wait to see their body’s reaction. Many people wonder if pumpkin can aid with constipation also since it works wonders with diarrhea. The answer is yes. If your dog is experiencing constipation, you can also use pumpkin as a method to ease it.

The same way as when you use it to treat diarrhea, add 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin to your dog’s meals. It’ll help relieve the symptoms. Though, you need to make sure you find the source of why your dog’s experiencing constipation.

Healthy-Pumpkin-Dog-Treats

Try to change the food or walk them more. However, if you don’t notice a change, do consult your vet. Constipation isn’t uncommon, however, could also be a sign for enlarged prostate, bones in the colon, or other emergency issues which need to be dealt with immediately.

Consider the Pumpkin Source

There are various types of pumpkin available at your grocery store, but knowing which one to get for your dog can be a challenge. We recommend feeding your dog plain canned pumpkin. You can also do fresh pumpkin meat as well, as both canned and fresh are without sodium and preservatives.

Creamy Paleo Bacon Pumpkin Soup

Canned and fresh pumpkin will provide your dog with an excellent source of vitamins and nutrient. However, canned pumpkin is known to contain more fiber than fresh pumpkin. Why? This is because fresh pumpkin contains a higher amount of water in comparison to canned.

Though when purchasing a canned pumpkin, read the ingredients and make sure it’s not full of sodium, sugar, and other additives. These additives will irritate your dog’s system rather than provide them with the nutrients they need. You should be careful as you don’t want to cause further health issues with your dog.

Consider the Parts You Use

If you use fresh, whole pumpkins instead of canned, you’ll want to pay attention to which parts you use. Though pumpkin is great for your dog, there are certain parts of the pumpkin which your dog cannot eat:

  • Do not let your dog eat raw pumpkin seeds or the innards of a raw pumpkin. They’re not meant for dogs, you should be focusing on feeding your dog the flesh of the pumpkin instead.
  • Do not allow your dog to eat the shell of the pumpkin. If the pumpkin is not grown organically, there may be pesticides on the shell which can harm your dog’s digestive tract. In addition, during the fall season, specifically Halloween, many pumpkins are decorated with glue and glitter. So, you don’t want to get your dog accustomed to eating the shell.
  • Do not allow your dog to eat the stem or leaves of the pumpkin. The stem is covered in prickly hair which can irritate your dog’s digestive tract.

Refrain from feeding your dog other human food since it may interact negatively with the pumpkin. While feeding your dog pumpkin, only give it to them with their daily food. No special sauces or treats, as you want to essentially give them very simple food until their stomach settles down.

Image showing a dog looking at some cookies on the table

Think of the time when you have diarrhea. You eat soup or a bread with light butter. You keep it simple. It’s the same thing with dogs. Make sure your dog has an ample amount of water during this period. Diarrhea can make dogs extremely dehydrated, so you’ll want to make sure their bowl of water is full.

They may not drink too much water in the beginning but you can monitor their improvement as they’ll start to drink more when they feel better. If you don’t see any improvement within the following days, then it’s time to take your dog to the vet. There’s obviously a serious underlying condition which cannot be cured by just using pumpkin.

Wrap Up

Our dogs are like our children. We care for them, feed them, walk them, teach them and all because we love them. Of course, like everyone, sometimes our dogs become sick. When your dog isn’t feeling good, your initial reaction may be to take them to the vet and get them checked out, which is completely normal. However, you don’t need to rush them to the vet right away if they’re only experiencing mild diarrhea.

Of course, you want your dog feeling like their old selves as quickly as possible. Who wouldn’t? However, many of us also know the costs of visiting a vet, which can get extremely pricey quickly. Now, we’re not saying your dog shouldn’t go to the vet, of course, if they’re not looking well, take them. But sometimes these issues can be easily solved at home, such as by feeding them pumpkin.

Image showing some dog treats in a jar and on a plate on the table

With every meal, feed them 1 to 4 tablespoons of canned or fresh pumpkin. It’ll give them the vitamins and minerals they need plus the extra dose of fiber to remove the water from their bowels. If you see an improvement over the next couples of days and they return to their regular selves, then you’ve managed to treat their diarrhea.

Now that you know what diarrhea is, the causes and symptoms, what type of pumpkin to feed your dog and how/when to feed them, you’re well on your way to helping your dog recover from diarrhea.

Is your dog suffering from diarrhea? Did you try the tips we’ve given you above to treat them at home? Or perhaps you have some tips of your own you’d like to share with us? If you’ve used pumpkin before to help cure your dog’s diarrhea let us know in the comment section below!

About the author
Anna Smith
Anna Smith

Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna's passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed.

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