Every dog owner has had to deal with bouts of diarrhea in their pets, which make their faithful furry companion miserable, not to mention all the mess.
Before you have time to consider the causes, you need a quick remedy and this is where the pumpkin comes in. Here we’ll examine how much pumping should you feed your pet, in what form and how fast does it work.
How and why does pumpkin help cure dog diarrhea?
Pumpkin does wonders for dogs (and people) with diarrhea because it is very rich in fiber and adds mass to the stools. Most important, pumpkin absorbs water while in the GI tract making your pet’s stools less runny and less frequent.
At the same time, pumpkin provides a lot of nutrients that are essential to your dog’s health, such as Vitamins A, C and E, or minerals like potassium and iron.
Should raw or cooked pumpkin be fed to your dog?
Fresh pumpkin is very healthy for your dog, but when your fur baby has diarrhea you should give him cooked pumpkin. As diarrhea comes unexpectedly, maybe you don’t have the time to cook, which is why you should always have in your pantry some canned pumpkin.
Canned pumpkin works better than fresh one because it has a higher fiber content. Fresh pumpkin has too much water and this is not what your dog needs when he has liquidy stools.
However, you should make certain that the canned pumpkin you buy is absolutely plain. Check the label carefully to make sure it has no added salt, sugar or spices.
How to cook pumpkin for your dog
If you want to cook dome pumpkin yourself you should bake it in the oven at 350F (180C) for 50 – 60 minutes. Don’t forget to prick some holes in it!. Once the pumpkin is done you can cut the flesh in small cubes or you can puree it.
Make sure that while you’re busy cooking your dog doesn’t stick his nose in the kitchen to eat the shell, the stem or the leaves of the pumpkin which are not meant for dogs.
Pureed pumpkin can be stored in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, or you can freeze small portions to have at the ready when your pet has an upset tummy again.
How much pumpkin should you feed your dog?
Canned or cooked pumpkin are great to combat doggy diarrhea, but it cannot substitute a full meal.
According to the AKC, you should add 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin to your dog’s meal. That also depends on your dog’s weight and how sensitive his stomach is. Start with a small amount, no more than 1 tablespoon and mix in a larger quantity to his next meal.
The question is what sort of food do you serve a dog with an upset stomach? Not commercially available food, that’s for certain. If your dog normally eats dry or wet food, stop offering it as soon as you notice he has runny stools.
You should withhold food for a few hours, unless your dog has diabetes, in which case you should talk to your vet.
A healthy dog can safely go without food for a few hours, even a whole day if necessary, but make sure he drinks water to prevent dehydration.
However, since we’re talking about regulating your dog’s digestion you should put him on a bland diet. Most experts recommend plain boiled rice which is great for treating diarrhea in itself. If you add some canned pumpkin the results should be even faster.
How fast does pumpkin ease your dog’s diarrhea?
Pumpkin is a natural cure for diarrhea, but it is not a miracle cure. Don’t expect your dog to bounce back to his normal happy and healthy self within the hour.
Keep in mind that while your dog’s stomach will break down the pumpkin in roughly 60 minutes, it can take up to 24 hours to be fully digested and ready to be eliminated.
If your dog’s diarrhea is nothing serious, you should see an improvement in his bowel movements in four to six hours, but it can take up to 24 hours to get rid of the diarrhea problem altogether.
Even if your dog feels better by the next day, it’s best to keep him on a bland diet for a couple of days more, just to make sure.
What other vegetables could help cure dog diarrhea?
Your dog might become bored with rice and pumpkin, so you can offer other human foods that also help with diarrhea.
Try giving mashed boiled carrots or mashed sweet potatoes to your ailing pet. Another good option for an upset stomach is a mashed banana.
To make the veggies more palatable to your pet you can add some bone or chicken broth, which not only add flavor, but also help combat electrolyte imbalance, which is common in cases of diarrhea.
Also, you can mix some boiled chicken breast to your dog’s diet, but make sure it is skinless and unsalted.
How else can pumpkin help your dog?
This might seem counter-intuitive, but canned pumpkin can be of help if your dog has constipation. And the reason is, once again, the high fiber content in pumpkin.
Pumpkin also functions as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of good bacteria in the intestines, which regulate gut health. Not to be confused with probiotics, as in yogurt which actually contains good bacteria.
Since pumpkin absorbs water from the GI tract make sure your dog is well hydrated. Dehydration causes constipation and you don’t want to make matters worse. To make sure your pet stays well hydrated you can add some water to the canned pumpkin.
Can you give pumpkin seeds to your dog?
Yes, you can, but preferably not when he has tummy issues. Pumpkin seeds are choke-full of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and manganese, as well as antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.
However, you should not feed your dog raw seeds as they spoil easily. The best way is to shell the seeds, roast them in the oven and ground them before serving them to your dog. One thing to keep in mind is that pumpkin seeds are full of fats, which is why your dog can only have a limited amount. You can sprinkle just a bit of ground seeds over your dog’s regular meal.
Regularly feeding your dog pumpkin seeds improves heart health and sleep, combats inflammation, lowers blood sugar and promotes urinary tract health.
Many dog owners also give their pets pumpkin seeds to combat intestinal parasites, especially tapeworm. The issue has been hotly debated for years, but a recent study shows that, indeed, pumpkin seeds can be used as dewormers. The reason is that pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitin, an amino acid that has been proven effective in paralyzing and eliminating parasites from the GI tract.
If you want to try natural deworming, give your dog a quarter of a teaspoon of ground seeds per 10 lbs of body weight twice a day. You should examine the dog’s stool to see if he does eliminate squiggly little monsters. Continue the treatment until there is no evidence of parasites left in his stool.
What should you do if your dog still has diarrhea after a couple of days?
Pumpkin is a great and fast-acting cure for diarrhea, but it does not cure theunderlying health issues your dog might have.
If your pet’s runny stools were caused by something he ate, a change in his diet or simply stress, yes, pumpkin might completely solve the problem.
However, diarrhea can be a symptom of many health problems, starting with parasites and ending with parvo, which is a very serious disease.
If your dog’s diarrhea persists for more than 2 or 3 days you should absolutely see a vet and have your pet diagnosed. Also, if you notice blood in your dog’s stool don’t wait at all. Call the vet immediately as your dog might have a serious problem that no amount of rice and pumpkin may cure.
Even if your dog doesn’t have a serious problem, remember that prolonged diarrhea leads to dehydration, which can have serious effects, especially for puppies.
The risks of diarrhea for puppies
Puppies can get diarrhe for a variety of reasons, diet changes, stress or bacterial infections, which are quite common in young dogs with an immature immune system. Diarrhea can cause dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance which can be fatal to a pup, so the advice is to call the vet if the little one keeps having runny stools for more than 24 hours.
Watch out for signs of dehydration, such as sunken eyes, dry gums, loss of skin elasticity and lethargy.
If the dog doesn’t drink water, force spoonfuls of water or use a plastic syringe without a needle to make him have some.
Final thoughts on using pumpkin with your dog
Pumpkin is a superfood for dogs (and humans) as it has a high fiber content, and is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
If your dog has diarrhea, add one to four tablespoons of canned plain pumpkin to his meal, which should be based on rice and boiled chicken breast. The results should appear in 24 hours, but keep feeding your dog a bland diet for at least two more days.
If your dog’s diarrhea persists for more than 2 or 3 days, it is obvious the problem is more complex than an upset stomach and you should see a vet to get a proper diagnostic.
Even if your dog is perfectly fine, you can offer him canned pumpkin from time to time as it is full of essential nutrients and boosts his immune system.