If your dog is constipated, you want to help them find relief. You may have heard about pumpkin as a home remedy for canine constipation, and wonder if it will help your dog. You’ll also need to know how much pumpkin to give your dog to treat constipation.
How much pumpkin should I give my dog for constipation?
There’s some conflicting information on how much to give your dog, so there may be an element of trial and error involved in getting the dose right.
The good news is too much pumpkin will not cause your dog any serious problems, but it can cause minor issues with diarrhea or stomach irritation. Before we look at how much pumpkin to give your dog, it’s important to know why they are constipated in the first place.
Signs of Constipation
Your dog’s bowel movements will vary slightly from those of other dogs, but should maintain a regular pattern. Some dogs go up to 4 times a day, while others normally go once a day.
If your dog hasn’t gone within 48-72 hours, they are constipated. However, if your dog typically goes several times a day and only goes once in 24 hours, they may be constipated as well.
In addition to frequency, look at the consistency. Does their poop appear hard? Is it a smaller amount than normal? These are also potential indications your dog is backed up.
Lastly, watch their behavior when pooping. Do they attempt to poop, but can’t make it happen? Does it take them longer than usual? Do they whine or show other signs of pain when pooping? These issues are usually caused by constipation.
Causes of Dog Constipation
Pumpkin can definitely help ease dog constipation. However, it’s also important to resolve the cause of your pooch’s constipation if possible.
Swallowing Non-Digestable Objects
Dogs sometimes eat things that their body can’t digest. Some dogs have pica, which causes them to crave and eat non-food objects. Other dogs just swallow the wrong things in the course of their regular meals.
Bones, hair, and grass are common culprits of dog constipation. Dogs love bones, but they have difficulty digesting them. Most dogs won’t intentionally eat hair. However, they can swallow it during grooming. It can also make its way into their food. They will occasionally eat grass to settle their stomach, but this is also very difficult for them to digest.
When the stomach contents are not fully digested, it is harder for it to go through the intestinal tract and find its way out.
A diet that’s too low in fiber can cause constipation. Fiber helps pull water into the waste. This keeps it soft, and allows it to work its way through the intestine without straining. When your dog doesn’t eat enough fiber, the poop can become dry and hard. This makes pooping difficult and can cause a blockage in severe cases.
Lack of Exercise
Exercise stimulates the digestive tract. You may know that taking your dog for a walk can encourage them to poop. This is because when the body is active, the digestive system is also working. It causes the intestines to activate, and begin pushing waste through the digestive system.
If your dog doesn’t get enough activity, they can suffer from slow intestinal motility. This essentially means that the intestines are sluggish, and not moving things along at the correct rate.
Anal or Prostate Problems
An enlarged prostate can cause constipation in dogs, just as it can in humans. Swollen or full anal glands can also cause issues. Dogs have an anal gland on each side of their poop shoot. When they poop, these glands release fluid, which coats the poop. This carries important information about the dog, which other dogs can smell.
When the glands become blocked, they don’t release their fluid. They swell, making it hard for the poop to pass through. Anal glands can be expressed by your vet. You can also do it yourself, if you are brave enough.
Digestive disorders can also cause constipation. This includes a lack of good bacteria, known as probiotics, as well as diseases like IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Other causes of constipation are not directly related to the digestive system. These include kidney disease, hernias, and trauma to the pelvic area.
How Much Pumpkin Should I Give My Dog?
The recommendation for constipation is usually one tablespoon for every 10 pounds. If you have a 5 pound dog, you would give them half a tablespoon. A 20 pound dog would need 2 tablespoons.
Most experts recommend starting slow and increasing the dosage if necessary. You can give your dog pumpkin once or twice a day. It’s usually given at meal times, and it can even be mixed in with your dog’s regular food.
However, if you mix it with food, don’t overfill the bowl. To control the dosage, your dog will need to eat all the pumpkin. If there’s an amount of food left over, they won’t eat all the pumpkin either.
If you choose to use pumpkin as a food topper, this is less of an issue. Just put the pumpkin on top of their regular food, and let them chow down.
How fast does pumpkin work for dog constipation?
Pumpkin typically works for constipation in 10 hours. Once it’s made its way through your dog’s digestive system, it should start having an effect. If you haven’t seen results within 10-12 hours, you can give another dose of pumpkin with their next meal. If it hasn’t got things moving after 24 hours, you’ll need to contact your vet. There could be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.
How much pumpkin can I give my dog?
How much pumpkin you should give your dog will depend on the reason you are giving them pumpkin, as well as their size.
To treat constipation, give your pooch 1 tablespoon of pumpkin for every 10 pounds of body weight, up to 2 times a day. You can try giving them a higher dose. However, too much pumpkin can cause the opposite problem, and give your dog diarrhea.
Surprisingly, pumpkin is also recommended for treating diarrhea. However, the amount you should give your dog is smaller. The fiber in the pumpkin seems to help firm up loose stools, in smaller amounts.
If you have a large dog, you can give them one tablespoon of pumpkin for diarrhea. Small and medium dogs should have one to two teaspons. Give the pumpkin with their regular meal, once to twice a day.
Larger amounts of pumpkin can make the diarrhea worse, because the excess fiber will pull more water into the poop, causing it to be looser.
What type of pumpkin to give my dog?
When giving your dog pumpkin, it’s essential to give them the correct type. The wrong type can be harmful for them. The danger doesn’t come from the pumpkin itself, but from ingredients added to the pumpkin, particularly with pie filling.
Canned pumpkin is often recommended because of its convenience. You don’t have to prepare it yourself. Instead, you just open the can, and add a bit to your dog’s bowl.
Canned pumpkin is also high in fiber and nutrients. The process of preparing the pumpkin essentially concentrates it, which is why your dog only needs a small amount of pumpkin in their diet.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
When shopping for canned pumpkin, it can be easy to pick up pumpkin pie filling instead. Pumpkin pie filling often has added spices that can be harmful to your dog. It also has added fat and sugar. These aren’t toxic, but they aren’t healthy either.
The biggest concern with pumpkin pie filling is that it can contain nutmeg. Nutmeg is a spice commonly used in baking, particularly in fall and winter dishes.
It tastes great to us, but it can make your pooch very sick. In rare cases, it has even led to death.
Reading the Label
If you choose to give your dog canned pumpkin, it’s essential to read the label. Look for canned pumpkin instead of pumpkin pie filling. It should contain pumpkin, preferably with no added ingredients.
If you want to make pumpkin from scratch, it’s fairly easy to do. Just remove the seeds and bake it until it becomes soft. You can also roast the seeds at 350 degrees for one hour. You can use them whole as treats, or grind them and add them to your dog’s food.
If you want to use the pumpkin as a dog food topper, you can make your own pumpkin puree. This is similar to canned pumpkin from the store. Just bake the pumpkin until it’s soft. Then use a food processor, blender, or a fork to mash it up into a puree.
Pumpkin isn’t the only way to get your dog’s system moving again. You can also use other foods in addition to, or in place of, pumpkin.
Fiber is the key ingredient in pumpkin that gets your pooch’s poop chute unclogged. Squash, particularly butternut squash, can be served in place of pumpkin. Just cook it and serve, or puree it to use as a topper.
Bran cereal and brown rice are also good options. Feed a small amount of these as a snack or with your dog’s meal.
Lastly, you can choose a fiber powder. Metamucil and other fiber powders that are mixed with water can be added to your dog’s diet.
However, it is important not to go overboard on fiber. It’s best to choose one food to increase fiber intake, or alternate between a few foods.
Canned Dog Food
Canned dog food has a much higher moisture content than dry food, obviously. This extra moisture can help soften your dog’s stools, making them easier to pass. It’s also thought to be easier to digest. Both these factors can help your dog’s constipation. This can be combined with added fiber.
It might be difficult to get your dog to drink extra water. However, it may help their constipation by adding more water to their system. You can also add in foods with a high water content. Watermelon and cucumbers are great for your dog and can improve hydration.
Can too much pumpkin cause constipation in dogs?
No, too much pumpkin isn’t likely to cause constipation in dogs. However, it can cause some other negative health effects. In most cases, the problem is too much fiber. If you are feeding your dog other fiber-rich foods, like squash, flaxseed, brown rice, carrots, and leafy greens, you’ll need to be cautious when giving pumpkin. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
Despite the health benefits of fiber, too much fiber can cause nutritional deficiencies. The excess fiber reduces the absorption of protein and other nutrients which are vital to your dog’s health.
Pumpkin is also high in carbohydrates and calories. It’s important to be sure that your dog isn’t eating more calories than they need each day. Dogs, like humans, need to balance the calories they burn with the calories they take in to maintain a healthy weight.
Some types of canned pumpkin contain sodium. Sodium is necessary for your dog’s health in small amounts, but too much can be unhealthy. If your dog has heart or kidney disease, too much sodium can worsen their condition.
Does pumpkin cause diarrhea in dogs?
Most experts believe that too much pumpkin can give your dog diarrhea. However, it’s not as cut and dry as it seems.
The Argument Against Pumpkin for Diarrhea
The basis for saying that pumpkin isn’t a good way to treat diarrhea begins with the fact that it helps ease constipation. It does this by drawing water into the stool, making it softer and easier to pass.
Diarrhea is caused by the body pushing food through the intestines too fast. The intestines don’t have the chance to absorb the water and nutrients from the food, so it comes out in a moist or liquid state.
Pumpkin May Help Alleviate Diarrhea
Other experts contend that the fiber contained in pumpkin can ease diarrhea. Fiber is believed to soak up the excess water in the stool, which can make them firmer. Firming things up may also slow it’s movement through the intestines, allowing it to firm up more.
Consensus and Common Sense
It is agreed by all that too much pumpkin or fiber is problematic, and can lead to diarrhea. If your dog is constipated, use the correct dosage of pumpkin. If your dog has diarrhea, use a small amount of pumpkin.
If your dog goes from being constipated to having diarrhea, too much pumpkin may be too blame. Try lowering the dose by half, and see if things improve.
Is pumpkin good for dogs?
Pumpkin has a surprising number of health benefits for dogs. Its considered a superfood, which means it’s packed with vitamins and minerals that your dog needs.
Pumpkin does more than just help diarrhea and constipation. It also improves the regulation and health of your pooch’s digestive system. It contains probiotics that help feed good bacteria in the digestive tract, and inhibit the bad bacteria that can cause tummy troubles.
Pumpkin seeds have a unique compound called cucurbitin. Cucurbitin paralyzes intestinal parasites, or worms, in your dog’s digestive tract. Your dog can then pass them safely.
To use as a parasite treatment, give your dog 1/4 teaspoon of crushed or whole seeds for each 10 pounds of body weight. Give this to your dog twice a day until you see no more worms in their poop.
Pumpkin seeds are gentler on the system than veterinary dewormers, and they can save you a vet bill. However, if your pooch has underlying health conditions, is a young puppy, or doesn’t improve within a few days of treatment, it’s best to consult your vet.
Vitamins and Minerals
Pumpkin is high in carotenoids. These are what give the pumpkin its signature orange color. They are also found in other orange foods, including carrots. They are beneficial for eyesight and immune health. Vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium also provide health benefits for your pooch.