Every dog owner will be worried when they see that their dog is suffering from diarrhea. It’s horrible to see your beloved pet in discomfort, and it can be unpleasant for you too!
Dog diarrhea is smelly and can be very difficult to clean. You might have to give your dog extra baths, especially if they have a lot of fluffy fur on their legs.
When you know your dog is struggling with diarrhea, what can you do to help them? There are lots of methods and techniques you can try to help your dog, many of them tried and tested over many years.
One of the more recent methods being adopted by dog owners to ease symptoms of diarrhea is canned pumpkin.
It is becoming quite popular, but does canned pumpkin actually work? What are the benefits of giving your dog canned pumpkin, and are there any risks to consider?
We have looked into this new trend and gathered all of the information, to make it easier for you to decide if you want to try giving canned pumpkin to your dog.
What Causes Diarrhea In Dogs?
As with humans, dog diarrhea can be caused by many different things. It could be a parasite, a virus, a disease, a gut infection, or a reaction to a change in your dog’s environment.
Dogs are quite prone to diarrhea, as they are curious and will put everything in their mouths! They will eat abandoned food, animal feces, and anything that smells interesting to them.
If the Diarrhea has been caused by a change to the dog’s diet, or by increased stress levels, then the symptoms should resolve within a few days. Diarrhea can make your dog dehydrated and tired, so make sure they are drinking plenty of water and resting.
You can aid their recovery by providing a plain diet that is easy to digest, like boiled chicken and rice. Dietary supplements like canned pumpkin can be very useful at this time.
If the diarrhea is persistent and does not resolve within a few days, or it is accompanied by blood then it could be a sign of a serious health condition.
Watch out for additional symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, and extreme lethargy, as these could be a real cause for concern. Your dog will need to be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible if they are displaying these symptoms.
How Does Canned Pumpkin Ease Diarrhea?
So how can canned pumpkin help to ease the symptoms of diarrhea in dogs?
Canned pumpkin is very high in fibre, and is also rich in vitamins and minerals. The fibre will absorb water and help to bulk out your dog’s stool, making it more solid.
The fermentation of the fibre will also produce fatty acids that help to supply cells with energy and lower the PH levels of the large intestines. Fibre is also a prebiotic, which means they stimulate good bacteria in the gut and reduce the production of harmful bacteria.
The vitamins A, C and E, and minerals like potassium and iron will help to replenish vital nutrients lost in diarrhea when your dog hasn’t had the chance to fully process their food and their body is unable to absorb all of the nutrients before the digested food leaves their body.
The vitamins will also help with your dog’s brain and eye development, and provide vital antioxidants which will boost their immune system.
The carotenoids in the pumpkin are great for your dog’s skin and eyes, whilst the potassium will help with muscle development. Pumpkin is also known to help reduce anal gland issues in dogs, by making their stools a better consistency to stop the build up of fluid in the glands.
Whilst pumpkin is high in many nutrients, it is also very low in calories. This makes it an ideal dietary supplement to help with weight management, as it will fill up your dog without overfeeding them.
If you are worried that your dog might be overweight, speak to their vet about cutting back their food and introducing a pumpkin supplement.
What Kind Of Pumpkin Should You Use?
When you think of pumpkin, you probably think of pumpkin pie with delicious spices. But the best type of pumpkin for dogs is plain, unflavoured pumpkin with no added ingredients.
Canned pumpkin is ideal because not only is it conveniently prepared, it has a higher water content and contains more fibre and nutrients than fresh pumpkin.
Avoid any canned pumpkin that is pre-flavoured and ready for pumpkin pie, as it could contain ingredients like xylitol which is poisonous to dogs. They also contain added sugar, which makes this a much less healthy option for your dog and could cause them to gain weight.
However, sugar free canned pumpkin is likely to contain harmful sweeteners, so be sure to avoid this. Naturally occurring sugars are fine in small quantities. If you cannot find plain canned pumpkin then you can use pumpkin powder. You can find pumpkin powder which is designed especially for pets.
If you are feeding your dog fresh pumpkin, then avoid the pulp, the seeds and the skin. These parts can cause indigestion and stomach upset, which is what you are trying to avoid!
Dogs can eat raw pumpkin, but it is harder for them to digest than cooked pumpkin so try them with a very small amount first. It is also very important not to let dogs eat carved pumpkins or Jack O’Lanterns that have been sitting outside, as they will be riddled with bacteria and possibly even mold.
If you have too much pumpkin puree, you can freeze it in portions. Frozen pumpkin puree also makes a great healthy treat for your dog on a hot summer day, especially if you freeze the pumpkin in ice cube trays.
You can also keep pumpkin puree in the refrigerator for several days in a sealed container, if you don’t use it all up.
How Much Canned Pumpkin To Give Your Dog
Now that you know that pumpkin can help to ease your dog’s diarrhea symptoms, how much pumpkin could you give your dog? This depends on the size of your dog, as smaller breeds who eat smaller meals will need a smaller amount compared to a larger dog.
As a general guide, add up to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin to your dog’s food if they are a medium to large breed.
If you aren’t sure, then start with a small amount and gradually build up to add more. You can also check with your dog’s veterinarian how much pumpkin they think they should be having.
If you give your dog too much pumpkin, this could cause stomach discomfort and worsen the symptoms you are trying to fix. It is also possible to have too many vitamins, and pumpkin is very high in vitamins.
Canned Pumpkin For Constipation
Canned pumpkin can also help dogs who are suffering from constipation, depending on what is causing their symptoms. You can add 1 to 4 tablespoons of canned pumpkin to your dog’s food, and make sure they have plenty of water to drink. This should ease the symptoms of their mild constipation.
If your dog’s constipation has a more sinister cause, like a foreign body blocking their digestive system or an enlarged prostate, then the pumpkin won’t help and they will need to see a veterinarian.
If issues like this are left untreated it can lead to very serious problems, so it is always better to check with your dog’s veterinarian if you are unsure.
Dog Friendly Pumpkin Cookies
If you want to make a pumpkin treat for your dog that is tasty, but safe for them to eat, then follow these simple steps.
First, you should bake the pumpkin until it is soft. Cut it in half and place it on a tray in the oven at around 350 degrees fahrenheit. Scoop out the filling and remove the pulp and the seeds. Puree the pumpkin until it is nice and smooth. Alternatively, you can use canned pumpkin puree.
To ¾ cup of pumpkin puree, add 2 and a half cups of whole wheat flour or oat flour, 3 tablespoons of melted dog friendly peanut butter or almond butter, and 2 eggs.
Mix all of the ingredients together, then split the mixture into cookie shapes onto a greased or lined baking tray.
Bake them in an oven preheated to 180 degrees fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Allow them to cool before serving them to your dog.
Pumpkin seeds can be beneficial to dogs, but they need to be prepared carefully to avoid causing any issues.
You should also check with your dog’s veterinarian first. Pumpkin seeds can improve the health of your dog’s urinary tract and help with canine incontinence. They also contain omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory qualities which can prevent kidney stones.
If you are going to give your dog pumpkin seeds, they need to be fresh, organic, and not salted. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about an hour to improve their flavour and their shelf life.
This also prevents you from feeding your dog bad seeds, as they can go rancid very quickly. The seeds should be peeled and grinded before you feed them to your dog. Any leftover seeds should be kept in sealed bags or containers.
Other Ways To Ease Diarrhea Symptoms
There are other ways to help ease your dog’s diarrhea symptoms.
Sometimes, it helps if you fast your dog for 24 hours. However, this is not always suitable- you should not fast a puppy or an old dog, and there are certain health conditions which may prevent you from being able to fast your dog. Check with your dog’s veterinarian first if you are unsure.
If you cannot fast your dog, you could try giving them much smaller portions, regularly throughout the day. This keeps their metabolism going, and prevents their digestive system from being overwhelmed.
Try to stick to plain foods whilst your dog is recovering from diarrhea. Boiled chicken, plain rice, or a vet-approved food that is gentle on sensitive stomachs.
Diarrhea can cause dehydration, as your dog will lose a lot of fluid in their stool. Make sure they have plenty of water available and watch to make sure they are drinking it. They might need a little encouragement.
Your dog will need some rest to regain their strength, so try to avoid taking them for long walks or encouraging them to engage in active play. If they want to sleep for longer than usual, then let them.
A probiotic supplement can help to improve your dog’s gut health. You can buy these from your vet or online. Alternatively, you can give your dog a bit of plain yoghurt which contains good bacteria.
Once your dog has recovered, gradually reintroduce their normal food and routine so their system is not overwhelmed
As you can see, there are many benefits to giving your dog pumpkin. It can help to ease the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation, as well as being rich in nutrients.
You can feed your dog canned pumpkin, fresh pumpkin, and even pumpkin seeds if they are prepared properly. You can also bake dog friendly treats using pumpkin puree.
There are other things you can do to help ease your dog’s discomfort, like giving them smaller meals of plain food.
If the diarrhea doesn’t resolve within a few days, then you should get your dog examined by a veterinarian to make sure there is nothing serious going on.
Persistent diarrhea can be a sign of serious health problems, especially when it is accompanied by other symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and lethargy. If you see blood in the stool, then contact the veterinarian straight away.
We hope that this information is useful and helps you to decide whether to try giving your dog canned pumpkin!