ONCE UPON A PUMPKIN…
6 Amazing Health Benefits and 2 Easy Recipes For This Superfood
By Katy Cable- The Weekly Runt
Halloween may be over but don’t go smashing your pumpkins just yet! I bet you didn’t realize what a nutritional powerhouse pumpkin is. -And not just for you, but your fur babies as well. I specifically saved this blog for today so if your pets get into something “naughty” and wind up with an upset tummy, this may be the perfect cure-all! -Read on!
These amazing tidbits about Pumpkin are guaranteed to make you feel all lit up and warm inside. 🎃
I learned about the great pumpkin many years ago. I vividly remember coming home from a quick trip to the market. The second I walked in the door I found my Pug Raisin on top of my dining room table, devouring the contents of a gift basket like a ravenous grizzly bear. A dozen gourmet marshmallows were long gone, and he was halfway through a tin of Almond Roca, (gold foil wrappers and all.) I raced him to the vet and after a thorough examination he was luckily given the OK to return home. The vet advised me to add a few spoonfuls of pumpkin to his diet. Well, genius that I am, I raced into the nearest market and grabbed pumpkin pie filling! But it still worked like magic! Since that incident, canned pumpkin is now my secret weapon for tummy troubles. I recommend every pet parent stock-up while it’s readily available and keep a can or two in their cupboard year-round just to be safe.
Your Halloween pumpkins may get an interested sniff from dogs but raw Jack-o-lantern pumpkin is not suitable for human or dog. However, canned and cooked fresh pumpkin, along with pumpkin seeds, is the new “superfood!” It can be a healthy addition to their a regular diet as well as a perfect ingredient to use in treats. Just look at all the health benefits it can also provide for you AND your dog.
- Urinary Tract Support: Veterinarians believe that the oils contained in the seeds and flesh of pumpkins support urinary health in dogs and cats. Anyone whose pet has had kidney infection or bladder stones (or the horror of both) can attest to how much suffering they cause. Regularly adding pumpkin to your pet’s diet can help avoid this painful condition.
- Digestion: Our furry friends need fiber to stay regular just like we do, and pumpkin is a great source. The benefits go both ways — diarrhea as well as constipation can be eliminated with just one or two tablespoons of plain pumpkin, (not sweetened or spiced😜), fed to your pet daily until the condition has cleared.
- Skin and Coat: The antioxidants and essential fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds help moisturize your pet’s skin and fur from the inside out. Although they may enjoy slurping down the fresh, slimy version, just to be on the safe side, I toast and grind them down: Spread seeds evenly onto a baking sheet, lightly coat with vegetable oil, roast in a 375-degree oven for 5 or 10 minutes, and cool. Pop seeds into a coffee-grinder and sprinkle over food or home-made treats.
- Parasites: Tapeworms and other intestinal parasites become paralyzed by cucurbitin, an amino acid in pumpkin seeds that acts as a natural de-worming agent. The most effective way to prepare seeds for this purpose is by grinding up fresh or properly preserved pumpkin seeds into a powder. Work up to giving your dog 1 teaspoon 2xs a day, mixed into a marble-sized portion of canned food.
- Nutrition: Pumpkin flesh and seeds are loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin A, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, and zinc. They also contain antioxidants, which may prevent some cancers from forming and help your pet stay healthy and young. Just don’t overdo the portion sizes, since minerals like iron and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A can accumulate to unhealthy, even toxic, levels. Check with your vet but a teaspoon or two per day is normally plenty.
- Weight Loss: Obesity is a common issue that is just as dangerous for animals as it is for humans. If your pooch can stand to drop a few pounds, mix some dry kibble with a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of canned pumpkin. The mushy kibble makes them think they’re eating more, the pumpkin fiber helps their tummy feel full, and they’ll enjoy the new taste treat
Before you race out the door with your pooch to grab a few cans (and a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Carmel Spiced Latte) consider this… The typical 13oz can of pumpkin contains around 29 tablespoons, and lasts about a week in the refrigerator. Unless you’re catering for a small shelter or pack of canines, this is far too much pumpkin for your average dog or two to consume in a week. In an effort not to have this bounty end up in your garbage can, I suggest freezing extra in ice cube trays. Simply freeze, and pop out the cubes into a freezer bag. Thaw one out when you need it, mix with a spoon to blend any separation of water, and refrigerate the leftover pumpkin cubes to serve at your pet’s next meal. If you don’t want to retrieve pumpkin cubes from the freezer every other day, count out a week’s worth of servings into small freezer containers. Put them into the freezer and take out one container at a time to thaw and serve to your pet throughout the week. 🎃Just a note to those of you who may be considering buying a small jar of baby food. While the jar size may make it tempting, unfortunately pumpkin by itself is not a commercial baby food flavor; it’s usually mixed with sweet potatoes. So it’s not a good idea to feed this form of pumpkin to your pet.
While pumpkin is readily available this time of year, good luck finding a can of it when you might need it in, say, April. Out of season you can still find it at many PetSmart stores. I like their brand of Authority, 100% pure canned pumpkin which runs between $2–3 for a 13oz a can or .90 cents for a small 4oz cat sized can.
After my recent blog on how crummy most store-bought treats are, (MIS-Treating Your Dog??) I now enjoy making my own creative delicacies using this super-food. These treats are far less expensive than most store bought ones and also healthier. An added benefit is baking the biscuits also makes your house smell wonderful! Now your sweet doggie can also enjoy a bit of the season while you are savoring your own slice of pumpkin pie.
🎃Crunchy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Biscuits🎃.
Makes 75 small biscuits/50 medium
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups organic brown rice flour/or coconut flour
1 tsp ground parsley (optional)
*unsalted organic creamy peanut butter/coconut oil/dried cranberries for decor if desired
Combine eggs and pumpkin until smooth. Add salt, parsley, and slowly add in flour. Roll mixture out using additional flour if needed for sticking. When dough is 1/4–1/2" thickness, use small or medium cookie cutters to make biscuits. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn biscuits over and bake for another 20 minutes. Drizzle or dip warm biscuits in organic, unsalted creamy peanut butter or coconut oil that has been melted in a microwave for 30 sec. Add dried cranberries for decor. Place on wax paper until cooled and dipping sauce has hardened.
1 can organic canned pumpkin
1 cup organic, plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup organic, creamy, unsalted unsweetened peanut butter
unsweetened organic coconut flakes/dried cranberries if desired.
1 cup Dry Dog Food (I like Nulo Turkey) crumbled up
Spray a glass 9x13 baking dish with Olive Oil/or line with parchment paper
Spread crumbled dry dog food on the bottom of pan or paper.
Blend all peanut butter and yogurt until smooth. Pour On top of crumbled kibble.
Freeze for 3–4 hours.
You can top the pie with add coconut flakes, dried cranberries, if you wish. Thaw for 10–15 minutes before cutting into small pieces.
So whether you’re enjoying the cooler fall temperatures or an Indian summer, I’ve got you and your fur baby covered with some Great Pumpkin options. And, best of all, neither one of you needs to feel guilty about indulging in a few tempting pumpkin delights. Enjoy!🎃🎃🎃
🎃👍🏼 As with all my blog tips and suggestions, it should go without saying: TO ALWAYS CONSULT with your veterinarian beforehand. Although pumpkin is quite safe and healthy FOR MOST dogs and cats, your vet will be able to recommend safe usage for your specific pet. Each animal is different and “one-size-does-NOT-fit-all”. 🎃👍🏼
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾
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Originally published at https://www.weeklyrunt.com.