Health benefits of pumpkin seeds for dogs
The benefits of pumpkin seeds for humans are plenty, but can dogs eat pumpkin seeds, too? After all, in addition to tasty flavor, pumpkin seeds are rich in good stuff like magnesium, which is helpful with bone growth and regulating blood sugar levels.
Other nutrients found in pumpkin seeds include vitamin E, potassium and tryptophan, an amino-acid that helps produce serotonin, increasing your dog’s energy levels. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, known for helping manage obesity, improve joint health and reduce the risks of diabetes, as well as provide your furry friend with a healthy skin and coat.
Pumpkin seeds are also beneficial for your dog’s dental health. This is because pumpkin seeds act as a natural brush that helps remove food debris and plaque from the teeth while chewing on it.
Dangers of pumpkin seeds for dogs
While pumpkin seeds have many health benefits, there are some serious precautions to take into account:
The most obvious risk you face with giving your dog pumpkin seeds is parasite infection.
Pumpkin seeds can house parasite larvae that will quickly infest your dog’s digestive track, causing pain and damage in the long run.
Raw pumpkin seeds contain high levels of oxalic acid, which works as a catalyst and can trigger calcium to form into crystals. Crystals can then build up in the urinary tract in the form of bladder stones, subsequently causing discomfort for your pup.
Kidney problems, diarrhea and more
Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin E, a chemical compound that thins the blood and affects the kidneys. In larger quantities, this chemical can cause fever or diarrhea in dogs. It is also possible that your dog will experience vomiting as a result. Another substance to watch out for is urushiol. While the amount of urushiol in one pumpkin seed is not enough to cause harm to a human (unless they’re highly sensitive), it is more than enough to cause diarrhea in our furry companions. In fact, even ingesting a small amount of urushiol can be toxic to dogs.
It would seem that pumpkin seed being so rich in vitamins can only be good thing, right? Well, not necessarily. When it comes to vitamin A and carotenoids, which pumpkin seeds are particularly abundant in, they can actually cause vitamin toxicity.
There are some symptoms you can look out for:
- increased breathing rate and heart rate
- hyperactivity, nervousness
- irritation of the digestive tract
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pup after they eat pumpkin seeds, give them a few pieces of bread. It will absorb the carotenoids and prevent any damage to the dog’s system.
Depending on the size of your dog, pumpkin seeds can be a choking hazard, especially once they dry out after being out of the pumpkin for too long. In order to feed puppies and small dogs, it’s best to use a food processor or coffee grinder to crush the pumpkin seeds into smaller pieces. This makes for easy feeding as it can be mixed with other dog food.
Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds then? The answer, as usually, lies in the quantity. It’s generally estimated that a dog can eat no more than four pumpkin seeds per pound of its body weight. So what does that look like in practice? If your pup weighs 35 pounds, they can have about half a cup of pumpkin!
Dog-friendly alternatives to pumpkin seeds
Don’t worry, though! There are still healthy alternatives that you can feed your dog this fall. Here are a few suggestions:
-apples (peeled and cored)
If your pup can’t resist the smell of pumpkin seeds, you can always purchase pumpkin seed oil. Pumpkin seed oil can be added to their food or can be used as a condiment under the recommendation of your vet.
What about pumpkin pulp?
You will be happy to find that pumpkin pulp is completely safe for dogs. In fact, many dog food brands add pumpkin pulp to their products. You can even prepare homemade dog meal by adding pureed pumpkin to meat of your choice. Just make sure that the pumpkin is cooked or baked, as fresh pumpkin may give your dog digestive issues.
So, can dogs eat pumpkin seeds?
In summary, always use caution and keep in mind that, even though it’s fine to give dogs pumpkin seeds in moderation, there are some risks involved. Even though you don’t want to consider them an everyday treat for your doggie, pumpkin seeds can definitely make for an enjoyable fall snack. Consult the vet to make sure your dog can eat pumpkin seeds without any negative reaction and enjoy their crunchy canine treat!
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