Pumpkin for Dogs: How to Naturally Treat an Upset Stomach

feed pumpkin to dogs with upset stomach

Written by Hilary Wilkie

Hilary is a qualified canine nutritionist, who is passionate about educating dog parents on optimal ways to feed their dogs so they can thrive.

3 October 2022

Does Your Dog Have an Upset Stomach?

As a dog parent, you’re likely to experience your dog having the occasional upset stomach. It’s part of what loving a dog is all about. Dogs are known for eating foods and non-food things that are not ideal for them, which leads to an unhappy dog and concerned dog parents. There are some home remedies that may help relieve your dog’s stomach discomfort. 

One natural remedy to ease your dog’s sore stomach is plain cooked pumpkin. This nutrient dense food is not only great as part of their everyday diet; it is known to help with dog digestion issues and upset stomachs.

Continue reading to learn more about pumpkin as a natural treatment for stomach aches and the best way to feed pumpkin to your dog.

What Causes an Upset Stomach in Dogs? And, What Sign Should I Look for?

Whether your dog’s upset stomach results in them being constipated, having diarrhoea or something else, it is important to understand the underlying cause(s) before seeking treatment. Working with your holistic or integrative veterinarian will help with this process. You can also reach out to a canine nutritionist or animal homeopath to assist you.

Common causes include, but are not limited to

  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet
  • Change in diet
  • Too little or too much fibre
  • Blockage
  • Dehydration
  • Side effects of medication
  • Eating spoiled food
  • Eating toxins or poisons
  • Viral infections – like parvovirus and distemper
  • Parasites
  • Ingesting a foreign object
  • Stress or anxiety

The signs of an upset stomach can vary depending on if your dog is constipated, has diarrhoea or there is something else wrong with their digestive system.

Signs your dog is constipated may include:

  • Trying to poop unsuccessfully multiple times in one session
  • Scooting their bum along the ground
  • Frequent squatting
  • Crying with extreme discomfort

Signs your dog has diarrhoea may include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent need to go outside and relieve themselves
  • Voluminous amounts of fast liquidy stools
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Dry retching and/or vomiting

Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs

Pumpkin is packed full of soluble fibre. It is rich in Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant,that helps support your dog from inflammation, potentially protecting your dog from certain diseases, including cancer. It is also full of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that fights free radicals, which also may safeguard your dog from certain diseases.

 Make sure you feed your dog plain pumpkin, with no sugar, salt, spices or other additives.

Why Does Pumpkin Ease an Upset Stomach in Dogs?

Pumpkin helps relieve two big digestive problems – constipation and diarrhoea because of the fibre content in this powerhouse food. Soluble fibre is essential for your dog’s digestive system to function well. It helps regulate the speed of digestion.

Pumpkin for constipation:  The pumpkin speeds up your dog’s digestion and may help get your dog pooping again.

Pumpkin for diarrhoea: The pumpkin has the opposite effect in that it slows the digestive process down in a dog with diarrhoea.

In addition, feeding pumpkin to your dog will boost their potassium levels because dogs often lose electrolytes when they are unwell.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Upset Stomach with Pumpkin?

When to feed pumpkin to treat an upset stomach

It is vital to determine the cause of your dog’s stomach issues before using any remedy. If your dog’s health and behaviour seems normal and the stomach discomfort has only recently started, feeding a small amount of pumpkin may be a good place to begin to get them back on the path to good health.

Pumpkin for Constipation: If your dog misses their daily poop, that may be a sign they are constipated. Try a bit of pumpkin to get things moving again. If they haven’t pooped in a few days, the pumpkin doesn’t improve things and they are showing other signs of discomfort, it may indicate a more serious issue and it would be prudent to contact your integrative or holistic veterinarian.

Pumpkin for Diarrhoea: Often, diarrhoea is a sign of a more serious health issue. If your dog has a couple episodes of diarrhoea, but are otherwise happy in themselves try giving them a bit of pumpkin in their meal or as a treat. If the diarrhoea continues and they are lethargic and refusing to eat, contact your integrative or holistic veterinarian to discuss next steps.

Best Way to Treat Your Dog’s Sore Tummy with Pumpkin

Pumpkin is best served to your dog lightly steamed and pureed. Alternatively, it can be boiled or roasted. The pumpkin will still need to be pureed for maximum absorption. 

Store your pumpkin puree in the fridge for 5 to 7 days. You can also freeze leftover pumpkin in small portions. It will keep for a few months. Cook the flesh of the pumpkin. You may also cook the skin, but ensure it is thoroughly washed or it is sourced from an organic or spray-free farm.

Quick tip – if boiling or steaming, puree the pumpkin with some of the cooking water to retain extra nutrients. Do not add any salt to the water or pumpkin. 

How Much Pumpkin Do I Feed My Dog to Help Soothe Their Upset Stomach?

If pumpkin is a new food for your dog we recommend introducing small amounts and gradually increasing the amount. 

Fruits and vegetables should be between 5-25% of your dog’s daily intake

To help ease your dog’s upset stomach we recommend 1 to 4 tablespoons of cooked pumpkin depending on the size of your dog. Monitor your dog’s bowel movements for improvements and adjust serving amounts accordingly. Wait until your dog’s stools are 100% normal before introducing any new foods.

And remember, if your dog is not showing signs of improvement after a day or so visit your integrative or holistic veterinarian for a check up. They will be able to provide you with the guidance and support your dog needs.

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