Canned pumpkin is basically the whole grail of dog tummy health. Is your dog constipated? Pumpkin. Are her anal glands firing off in the house? Pumpkin. Does she have diarrhea? PUMPKIN.
But your dog doesn’t have to have a digestive issue to enjoy pumpkin.
Which is wonderful, because canned pumpkin tends to come in those huge cans, and if you’re not making two pies at once, you’re going to end up with a lot left over this season.
Yes, you can give canned pumpkin “neat”
There’s no need to add anything to canned pumpkin before giving it to your dog.
Just keep in mind that you want to give pure canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix, which comes in a very similar can. The mix has sugar and spices, which aren’t absolutely deadly to your dog, but it’s not quite what they need.
Canned pumpkin is full of fiber. It contains soluble fiber, which is fiber that can be dissolved in water. Soluble fiber absorbs moisture, which is why pumpkin is good for diarrhea.
Pumpkin also contains insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve. Insoluble fiber does not break down in the digestive system, it just helps bulk up the stool and stimulates the bowels to move faster. That’s why pumpkin is ALSO good for constipation.
Dogs, like humans, benefit from both types of fiber.
Too much fiber, though, can overwhelm your dog’s digestive system. So whether your dog is experiencing digestive issues or not, you do not want to give them too much pumpkin.
A teaspoon is a good place to start for a small dog. A tablespoon can be a starting point for a medium to large dog.
Baking Treats With Pumpkin
You can add pumpkin to just about any dog treat recipe. It can be used to replace eggs, oil, or banana. It will change the qualities of the end result, as it does not contain fat and is not a leavening agent, and if you use too much the added moisture will warrant a longer bake time.
If you’re not an adventurous baker, you can just use any pumpkin dog treat recipe for a predictable result.
Also, keep in mind that many human baking recipes can be adapted for dogs. Leave out any chocolate, raisins, grapes, and anything you’re not sure about.
Dogs can eat baked goods that include sugar in moderation. Sometimes you can reduce sugar in a recipe without affecting the end result.
Storing Canned Pumpkin For Later Use
At just a teaspoon or so per serving, canned pumpkin can last a long time, and even with a treat recipe, you might still have some left over.
The easiest way to save it is to freeze it in ice cube molds. Always remember to pop them out and store them in a bag in the freezer. I always forget, and the pumpkin pops end up flaky and gross after a few weeks.
You can put a pumpkin cube in your dog’s meals, or you can put them in a mug and microwave them and pour it over their food.
If you want to be extra about it, you can actually dehydrate canned pumpkin to make pumpkin powder. Then it can be added to recipes or sprinkled over food.