Potential Benefits of Canned Pumpkin Revealed
Christine Gowen, Pet HealthZone Editor
It’s October, so you know what that means: Cooler weather, the falling of autumn leaves and pumpkins. Pumpkin-flavored everything: coffee, creamers, pancakes, beer, Oreos, M&Ms, Pop-Tarts and even chewing gum to name a few.
Would it surprise you to know our four-legged companions also are fans of the robust squash? Rumor at the dog park is that canned pumpkin is a remedy for an upset stomach, promotes a shiny coat and improves a pet’s immune system.
We asked veterinary experts for some insight on the actual benefits of using canned pumpkin in our pets’ meals.
How is Pumpkin Beneficial to Pets?
Canned pumpkin is simply pumpkin in a pureed form. Pumpkin is high in fiber, low in fat and cholesterol and loaded with beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamins A and C.
All those nutrients sound impressive; do they do anything for our pets?
“The amount of other nutrients in canned pumpkin compared to what is in prepared pet foods is probably too small to make any difference in most cases,” says Dr. Tony Buffington, DVM. He has a PhD in animal nutrition, was a resident clinical nutritionist at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital at UC Davis, and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.
While there’s no scientific evidence it’s beneficial for a pet’s skin, eyes, coat or immune system, the fiber in canned pumpkin has proven to benefit dogs’ and cats’ digestive tracts. Just in case your dog has an upset stomach from eating, say, rich holiday food accidentally left within his reach.
“Veterinarians have long known the benefits of adding a little canned pumpkin to a pet’s diet regularly,” says Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide pet insurance.
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