Is Raw Pumpkin Good For Dogs?

Photo by Ben Hanson on Unsplash

Is it that time of year again?

You have a kitchen counter full of ingredients for a pumpkin pie and it is just chaos.

But before you start tidying up, there is some spare fresh pumpkin.

Stuck between the idea of throwing it in the trash or giving it to your dogs, you really can’t be bothered with any more cooking.

But, is there an easier way to feed it to Fido?

Is raw pumpkin good for dogs?

Well, let’s find out shall we?

Is raw pumpkin good for dogs

Yes, raw pumpkin is very good for your dog as long as it isn’t fed too much of it.

And the reason why a dog doesn’t need too much pumpkin is because it is packed full of some many vitamins and minerals that only small amounts of the stuff go along way. 

And you could say the same for cooked pumpkin as well- there isn’t really much difference between the two. 

Raw pumpkin vs cooked pumpkin

Below I have created some of the nutrition data to compare raw pumpkin with cooked pumpkin.

These charts are based on information from FoodData Central

And it is based on a serving of 100 g. 

And there are three separate charts.

Raw pumpkinCooked pumpkin
Water91.6 g88.18 g
Calories2651
Protein1 g1.05 g
Carbohydrate6.5 g6.77 g
Sugar2.76 g2.87g 
Dietary fiber.5 g .5 g

This first chart shows an overview of all the most important categories and you can see how minimal the differences are between raw and cooked pumpkin. 

It seems that the largest difference is with the number of calories- cooked pumpkin has nearly double the amount. 

But for a 100 g serving of food, the calories are incredibly low. 

Raw pumpkinCooked pumpkin
Calcium21 mg22 mg
Iron.8 mg.84 mg
Magnesium12 mg13 mg
Phosphorus44 mg46 mg
Potassium340 mg354 mg
Copper.125 mg.127 mg

Next, the chart above highlights the most important minerals that a pumpkin contains. 

Again the values for the cooked and raw pumpkin are very similar. 

Pumpkin is an excellent source of copper, potassium and phosphorus in particular. 

Copper plays an important role in forming red blood cells, helping a dog’s immune system and contributing to the absorption of iron. 

Potassium can help reduce blood pressure and it also maintains the health of a dog’s nerves. 

Phosphorus helps maintain healthy bones. 

Vitamin C9 mg8 mg
Niacin.6 mg.594 mg
Choline8.2 mg8.8 mg
B1200
Vitamin A426 ug433 ug
Vitamin E1.06 mg0
Vitamin D00
Vitamin K1.1 ug3.7 ug

Moving onto vitamins, pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A. 

In fact, pumpkin contains an excess of vitamin A for a dog, which is why you are best to only feed small amounts!

And don’t worry, this will only become a concern if you are feeding your dog large amounts of pumpkin every week

Vitamin A is important because it helps to keep a dog’s eyes healthy and it bolsters a dog’s immune system. 

None of the other vitamins in pumpkins are present in excessive levels as far as dogs are concerned.

But, some of the big vitamins within pumpkins are; vitamin C, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. 

Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining and repairing tissues within a dog’s body as well as helping to heal wounds. 

Riboflavin or B2 helps to turn food into energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. 

And pantothenic acid or B5 is also involved in turning food into energy. 

Why should I feed raw pumpkin to my dog?

Raw pumpkin, like many other real foods, can be used in different ways with our dogs.

One way is to use it as a way of curing diarrhea in our dogs and I have written an article about how long it takes pumpkin to work.  

Pumpkin is thought to help a dog to recover from diarrhea because it contains quite a lot of fibre (and water.)

The fiber is thought to help the loose stool “bind itself together” and the water is thought to help “move things along”.

People also use pumpkin for the same reasons to cure constipation.

And yes, that does seem to be a contradiction! 

A second way to use pumpkin is as a way to spice up a dull bowl of dry kibble or wet food. 

This is for all of you dog owners out there who have a dog that can be a bit fussy and indifferent to their food at times.

Adding a bit of fruit such as a pumpkin can sometimes just break up the monotony… Not only does pumpkin have a different flavour to kibble, it also has a different texture. 

And a third way to use pumpkin is as a vitamin and mineral booster or your dog.

As I have already said, a pumpkin is packed full of great nutrients and so it can benefit your dog’s overall health.

With that said, if you suspect that your dog has a mineral or vitamin deficiency, you must take them to the vets because it is too complicated and dangerous to try and sort these conditions out with a homemade diet. 

Now that we have discussed all the different ways that pumpkin can be used in your dog’s diet, I will tackle the thorny issue of how often your dog 

How often should I feed raw pumpkin to my dog?

There is no such thing as the best vegetable to feed your dog whether you are thinking about pumpkins or anything else.

And I’m not saying this because I am worried about your dog overdosing on vitamin A, I’m saying it because ideally you want to add a variety of vegetables to your dog’s diet.

I don’t mean that your dog should have a different vegetable added into their food every day of the week but I do mean that when you look at your dog’s diet over a couple of months or so, that they have eaten a range of different vegetables. 

Most dogs will appreciate the variety involved with this and it will also expose your dog to a more complete range of vitamins and minerals. 

Moving on, we will next talk about the amount to feed your dog. 

How much raw pumpkin should I feed to my dog?

The recommended amount of pumpkin to feed a dog is anywhere between about one to four tablespoons (about 10- 50 g.)

You can adjust the amount depending on the size of your dog.

Also, if this is the first time that your dog has had pumpkin, go easy and start off small.

How should I prepare raw pumpkin?

When I feed raw vegetables to my dogs, I tend to chop it up into about 1 cm chunks.

And I would do the same with pumpkin.

And the reason for chopping into such small pieces is because it will make it easier to digest, small chunks aren’t a choking hazard and small chunks can be mixed into their food more easily. 

Can dogs eat the skin or rind of a pumpkin?

Yes, if possible your dog should be eating pumpkin with the rind or skin on.

As long as you wash the skin first to get rid of any dirt or chemicals.

The rind of any vegetable is a very rich source of nutrients that if peeled is just discarded.

And washing the skin of a fresh pumpkin is far, far easier than peeling it.  

Can dogs eat the pumpkin stalk?

I can’t find any nutritional information relating to the nutritional found within a pumpkin stalk.

I can’t imagine that it contains much though. 

And, I don’t know, but it looks tough as old boots, rock hard and bitter somehow.

I would give it a miss.

Perhaps the best place for it is the compost pile and not your dog’s mouth..

Can a puppy eat raw pumpkin?

There is no reason that a puppy should have a bit of raw pumpkin now and again. 

Only feed it to puppies older than eight weeks who are confident and happy eaters with the food that you are on.

If your puppy can be a bit picky with their food then I would avoid confusing them with any “side of vegetables”, pumpkins included.

Make sure the pumpkin chunks are very small (smaller than 1 cm) and that you feed them less than a tablespoon. 

And see how it goes!

How should pumpkin be cooked?

If after all of this you want to feed your dog cooked pumpkin, the best and gentlest way to cook it is to steam it.

And the length of time that you need to steam it for depends on how big your pumpkin chunks are.

Anywhere from five to ten minutes should do it.