October has arrived and it’s time for pets and pumpkins. The morning air is crisp, the trees are starting to change color, and pumpkins are becoming abundant. Everything seems to be orange, coincidently the same color as a healthy food, pumpkins.
Does your pet’s dietary plan include pumpkin? If not, you might reconsider, because pumpkin has many beneficial properties your pet will enjoy.
During my studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine for Pets, I learned pumpkins have a cooling nature. It helps to relieve damp conditions such as eczema and edema. Pumpkin also regulates blood sugar level and is helpful for dogs who suffer from diabetes. It can also help discharge mucus from the lungs, bronchi and throat.
Do you have a dog or cat that has issues with diarrhea or constipation? Pumpkin could be the answer. Pumpkin contains fiber. It soothes the irritated gastrointestinal system. Cats, as they mature into adulthood and geriatric years, constipation can cause serious problems. By increasing the level of fiber in their diet it can stimulate the colon and help correct constipation.
According to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), moisture deficient pet foods can have a dehydrating effect on the body. Adding pumpkin to each meal or serving separately as a snack can promote the state of hydration and reduce heat in the body.
While raw pumpkin is not ideal for cat or dog consumption, canned and cooked fresh pumpkin, along with pumpkin seeds, can be a healthy addition to their diet. Your Halloween pumpkins may get a sniff of interest from your dogs and cats, but avoid letting them eat it.
Pumpkin adds nutrients to your pet’s body too. It contains potassium, calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin and thiamin as well as beta carotene. Also included are the vitamins A, B6, C, E and K. Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin extract and pumpkin oil are found to have anti-microbial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties.
If your pet needs to take off a few pounds, try reducing the amount of the regular food and replace with the same portion of pumpkin. If your pet is on a special diet, please consult your veterinarian for the proper amount of pumpkin to give in ratio to the feed.
DO NOT feed your dog or cat raw pumpkin. The one that was on display for Halloween. If it is starting to decay it could be filled with bacteria and mold. This can create a toxic effect. I prefer canned or cooked pumpkin and baked seeds. I personally use canned pumpkin, particularly if it is organic and/or GMO-free. Do not use the run of the mill, canned grocery store pumpkin pie filling. Ordinary canned pie filling is full of sugar, fat, spices, flavorings and other preservatives that can cause an upset digestive tract.