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Unknown to most pet parents, pumpkin can be a great treat for your dog.
The dog will love the sweet taste of pumpkin but more importantly, he will benefit from the numerous health benefits.
Pumpkin is rich in vitamins A, C, and E and it’s also a high-fiber food.
Vitamin A boosts their immunity and improves vision; Vitamin C helps with collagen synthesis and enzyme reactions, and Vitamin E regulates enzyme activity and acts as an antioxidant.
The fiber adds bulk to the dog’s stool which helps deal with diarrhea and constipation. It also inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines.
Because of all these benefits, it is a good idea to add some little pumpkin to all food you serve to your furry friend.
Depending on the size of your dog, you can add 1-4 tablespoons of pumpkin meal (or puree) to their food. But you can also prepare and serve them pumpkin as a meal every once in a while.
Pumpkin is not toxic to pets and that means dogs can eat either raw or cooked.
However, raw pumpkin may not be tasty, so you may want to cook it first.
The best thing about pumpkin recipes for dogs is the fact that they are easy to make and most have a prep time of fewer than 30 minutes.
Additionally, you can make lots of food and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
So, how do you cook pumpkins for dogs? We’ll find out shortly but before then let’s cover a few basics…
Is Raw Or Cooked Pumpkin Better For Dogs?
Dogs can eat both raw and cooked pumpkin though it depends on the taste buds of your dog.
However, if your dog has kidney disease or diabetes, you may want to check with your vet first before feeding them with raw pumpkin.
If introducing pumpkin to your pet, you can try both raw and cooked to see which one your dog likes best.
If the dog seems not to like either, you can try other hacks like sprinkling pumpkin flour on his food, mixing pumpkin puree with his food, or making some delicious treats with pumpkin and other ingredients.
Also, even though raw pumpkin is safe, it might be better to serve cooked pumpkin because the pulp of raw pumpkin is harder to digest.
Besides, cooking enhances the taste and makes your dog appreciate this healthy food even more.
Should You Feed Pumpkin Seeds To Your Dog As Well?
Pumpkin seeds have lots of health benefits, so remember not to discard them when preparing your pumpkin.
Pumpkin seeds can be roasted to be eaten as treats but you can also process the seeds in your food processor and then use the ground seeds as ingredients in other recipes e.g. in muffins.
Eating raw seeds is also safe for your dog, so you can sprinkle some of the ground seeds on his food.
Is pumpkin skin OK for dogs?
Even though it is nontoxic, the skin of the pumpkin is pretty tough and your dog shouldn’t eat it whether raw or cooked.
The pup might not easily digest the pumpkin skin and that can lead to complications like constipation.
When preparing pumpkin, make sure you have removed the peels completely.
Pumpkin Preparation Methods
Here are some of the common pumpkin preparation methods.
Start by halving the pumpkin and removing the seeds and pulp.
You can then peel and cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces and then place them in a steamer.
The pumpkin should be ready after steaming for approximately 50 minutes (or until it gets tender).
Once done, you can blend into a puree which you can then freeze.
To bake a pumpkin, start by dividing it into quarters.
Depending on how much pumpkin you need, you can prepare all of the quarters at a go or you can use one quarter and refrigerate the rest.
Remember to scoop out the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin and then bake it in an oven that has been preheated at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
Once the pumpkin is tender, take it from the oven, remove the peels, and then use a blender or food processor to make a puree.
Halve your pumpkin and then remove the seeds and pulp.
You can then peel and cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces.
The final step is placing them in salted water and boiling for around 25 minutes.
You can then drain the excess water and then use a blender or food processor to make a puree.
How Long To Boil Pumpkin for Dogs
You should boil the pumpkin for around 25 minutes. However, the exact time will depend on several variables.
Just to be sure, check the pumpkin by pressing it gently with a fork or pricking it with a toothpick to see if the pumpkin is nice and tender.
Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Pumpkin for Dogs
- Remember to remove the skin: It is ok to steam/bake or boil the pumpkin with the skin on but remember to remove the skin once done. Eating pumpkin skin can cause digestive problems in your dog.
- Don’t discard the seeds: Always wash and store your pumpkin seeds to process and serve later. They act as a natural de-wormer, have some omega-3 fatty acids, and can even help dislodge kidney stones.
- Serve in moderation: Too much pumpkin can cause digestive distress because of the high fiber content. Don’t be overenthusiastic and serve pumpkin all week.
Related Post: How Much Pumpkin Should You Give a Dog For Constipation?
Do you have to cook canned pumpkins for dogs?
Canned pumpkin can be a convenient alternative to fresh pumpkin because you don’t have to cook it. Just open the can and serve as is.
However, you may want to read the ingredient list first to make sure there aren’t other questionable ingredients in the can.
You can use canned pumpkin as an ingredient in a food or treat you are cooking for the dog.
Common Pumpkin Recipe for Dogs
1. Pumpkin Puree
The easiest recipe when cooking pumpkin for dogs is making pumpkin puree.
All you need is a large ripe pumpkin as the puree doesn’t need any other ingredients.
- Wash your pumpkin
- Preheat your oven (350 degrees F).
- Using a large sharp knife, divide the pumpkin into quarters. You can use one quarter for a start and refrigerate the other quarters for repeating the recipe another day.
- Scoop out the seeds, wash them, and roast.
- Slice your pumpkin into smaller pieces and then place the pieces on a baking sheet
- Bake for about 45 minutes. You will know it’s ready when the pumpkin flesh becomes tender.
- Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow it to cool and then peel away the skin and discard it.
- Toss the pumpkin pieces in a blender (you can cut the large ones into even small pieces for easier blending). Gradually add water as you blend until it gets to the desired consistency – you want the consistency of baby food.
- You can then freeze the puree in one-cup containers for later use.
The pumpkin puree has three main uses – you can serve it as is, use it for other pumpkin recipes, or add it to your dog’s foods and treats.
Also, pumpkin puree is the best way of preserving fresh pumpkins for later use.
2. Pumpkin Ginger Dog Biscuits
This recipe has a prep time of 20 minutes plus around 2 hours of baking. The recipe makes 18 dog biscuits.
- ½ cup of pumpkin
- ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
- 3 cups of wheat flour
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- A tablespoon of coconut oil
- ¼- ½ cup of water
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
- Combine the flour and ginger in a bowl or mixer
- Add the pumpkin, coconut oil, and egg in the bowl (or mixer) and mix until the mixture gets crumbly
- Slowly add water, one tablespoon at a time, with the mixer set to low, until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky.
- On a flat board or surface, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness and then cut using a cookie cutter. If you use a bone shape, remember to press holes in the center of each biscuit with a fork. If you want to use a pumpkin shape, press lines into the biscuits with the edge of the spoon.
- Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until the bottoms turn brown and the tops start showing cracks. Just to be sure they are ready, press gently to see if they have become firm. The bake time can be anything from 2-2.5 hours.
- Once ready, cool the cookies on a wire rack and then store them in an airtight container.
3. Pumpkin Mini Muffins
This recipe will need making pumpkin puree first. You can refer to the pumpkin puree recipe before proceeding.
- 1 ¾ cups of pumpkin puree
- 1 2/3 cups of rice flour
- ½ cup of canola oil
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Spray three mini-muffin tins or line them with parchment paper
- Mix the rice flour, baking soda, and molasses in a large bowl
- Add the pumpkin puree, oil, and eggs, and then add water as needed until you achieve the consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Scoop the mixture with a spoon and drop it into the muffin cups
- Bake the muffins for 20 minutes. To ensure they are done, prick with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean
- Cool them before serving or store them in the fridge for later.
4. Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Dog Treats
You will need to make pumpkin puree first. You can refer to the puree recipe.
- 1 cup of oats
- 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup of natural peanut butter (avoid peanut butter that has xylitol in it).
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F
- Line a baking sheet using a parchment paper
- Use a food processor to grind the oats until they become powder and then add the pumpkin puree and peanut butter and blend them until you get sticky dough.
- Remove the dough from your processor and then roll it on a board or a flat surface. You can use some of the leftover ground oats to dust the surface to prevent the dough from sticking. If not enough, you can dust with any other flour.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out treats of any shape. You can also use a knife to cut squares, triangles, or any other shape.
- Place the treats on a baking sheet and bake them for 25-30 minutes or until they are dry and hard.
- Let your treats cool down first before serving them to your dog and store the rest in an airtight container.
Just as is the case with any other food, you should serve pumpkin in moderation – too much of it and you might have a problem on your hands.
While it is okay to add a spoon of pumpkin flour to the food daily, you do not want to serve up the pumpkin recipes to the dog daily.
To begin with, the dog will easily get bored of eating the same thing each day.
But more importantly, pumpkin is a high-fiber diet and it can result in digestive distress if eaten in excessive amounts.
Also, pumpkins are rich in vitamin A which shouldn’t be consumed in excessive amounts as it can turn deadly.
That said, the health benefits of pumpkin are irrefutable, so you should make sure to try out some if not all of the recipes suggested above.