Before we delve into the benefits of pumpkin for dogs, let’s start with the basics.
What is constipation in dogs?
Constipation in dogs happens when there is difficult or infrequent passing of poop. If your dog is finding it hard to poop, and what they’re producing is small and hard, they may have constipation.
You may notice that your canine companion is straining to ‘go’ or that they are spending a lot of time trying and failing to pass feces. They may also be off their food or not as keen to eat as usual and they may find it difficult to settle down comfortably in their bed. Other symptoms of constipation in dogs include:
- Straining to poop
- Small, hard stools
- Frequent trips to the toilet
- Back pain, unwillingness to sit or settle down
What causes constipation in dogs?
Constipation in dogs can happen for many different reasons. It may be that your dog simply hasn’t had enough to drink or that their diet is lacking in fiber. Some dogs with hip or back pain may try to avoid going to the toilet as it is painful, which will eventually cause constipation. However, it may also be a sign of a more serious medical problem that your veterinarian will need to diagnose and treat.
When to go to your veterinarian for constipation in dogs?
While hard stools and straining happens to lots of dogs from time to time, it’s important that you always have your dog checked by your veterinarian if you are concerned. So, if they haven’t had a poop in around 48 hours, schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
Is pumpkin good for constipation in dogs?
Pumpkin is great for constipation in dogs! This beautiful, orange vegetable, best loved for carving scary faces into at Halloween, is a brilliant source of soluble fiber, helping to normalize gut function and ease constipation in dogs. Soluble fiber is not digested, instead it acts as a prebiotic and helps to feed the good bugs in your dog’s tummy and hence restore a healthy digestion. It also helps to draw water into your dog’s stools, making them softer, bulkier and easier to pass.
Being a rich source of magnesium is another benefit of pumpkin as magnesium helps the muscles of the lower bowel function properly to push the poop out!
How to safely add pumpkin to your dog’s diet
There are some companies who include pumpkin in their recipes that have been formulated to meet AAFCO’s requirements for a complete & balanced diet. If you prefer to add pumpkin yourself, you can buy plain canned pumpkin, (just make sure it doesn’t have additives or salt added), or you can roast or bake fresh pumpkin and puree it for your dog. It should keep in the fridge for a couple of days. You can include pumpkin seeds, but they should be properly ground and no more than 2 seeds per day. It’s probably easier to scoop out the seeds and just give your dog the pumpkin fresh!
What about a pumpkin dosage for dogs? Well, you can usually give your medium to large dog up to four tablespoons of cooked pumpkin with each meal if they are suffering with constipation but always check with your veterinarian first. Smaller dogs will need less pumpkin – 1 to 2 tablespoons is likely to be plenty. It’s usually best to start with just one tablespoon and increase if needed, but your vet will help you to determine the best regime depending on how serious your dog’s constipation is.
Remember that – though low in calories – pumpkin isn’t calorie-free! You’ll need to adjust your dog’s diet slightly to take into account their calories from pumpkin if you’re giving it regularly.
You might be wondering if you can give your dog pumpkin soup. While delicious, pumpkin soup is not a good option for dogs – it will include other ingredients which are bad for dogs (like sugar), poisonous (like onions and garlic), or that will make dog constipation worse (like salt).
Preventing constipation in dogs
Being well hydrated is a key factor in helping to keep your dog’s bowel movements healthy and regular and preventing constipation. Make sure that they have access to plenty of fresh water whether you are at home or out and about. Some dogs prefer certain water bowls or even rainwater, so if your dog is fussy try a few things to make sure they get plenty of water.
If your constipated canine companion is on a kibble-based diet, then the addition of some extra water to their food may help. But be careful not to turn it into soup! Fresh dog food that’s high in moisture can help keep your dog hydrated and their poops regular. Being at a healthy weight and getting plenty of exercise are other key drivers in making sure that your dog has a regular poop.
It may be appropriate to add pumpkin for constipation if your dog is having regular problems. However, it’s important to get the problem investigated by a vet first, as dog constipation is often a symptom of an underlying problem. If your vet gives you the go-ahead, you can try a small amount of pumpkin on your dog’s food every day.
Pumpkin is a doggy superfood and is a great way of normalizing their digestive system. It is packed full of essential micronutrients and a special kind of soluble fiber. This fiber helps to hold onto water in the gut, slowing food transit time and softening and regulating stools. As little as one tablespoon of cooked pumpkin with each meal can make it more comfortable for your dog to poop.
How much pumpkin to give your dog for constipation?
You can give your dog up to four tablespoons of cooked pumpkin with each meal. Smaller dogs will need less pumpkin added to their food, with one tablespoon sometimes being enough.
How fast does pumpkin work for constipation?
You should notice benefits from offering your dog pumpkin in their food within one or two days. You usually see that your dog is finding it easier to pass stools within the first day or so of offering them pumpkin.
Is pumpkin a laxative for dogs?
Since pumpkin is naturally high in both soluble fiber and magnesium, it’s important to not give your dog too much. This is why it’s best to feed your dog a food from a company who has formulated their recipes to meet AAFCO’s requirements for a complete & balanced diet.
How much pumpkin can I give my dog?
As a superfood and overall support for your dog’s digestive health then you can stick to one tablespoon a day. However, if your dog is constipated you can give them up to four tablespoons with each meal. Make sure that they have enough water to drink whilst you are giving your dog pumpkin.