Yesterday, we talked about feeding pumpkin to dogs and its health benefits. We know that it's a superfood, a fruit that packs a mighty punch when it comes to nutritional value. Chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But can dogs eat pumpkin seeds as well, or are pumpkin seeds for dogs a bad idea? Let's take a closer look.
If you were wondering, “can I give my dog pumpkin seeds,” the answer is YES – dogs can eat pumpkin seeds and they're not dangerous when prepared (do not give them raw and always peel them). In fact, pumpkin seeds for dogs can be even more beneficial than the pumpkin itself.
In this article, we'll take a close look specifically at the benefits pumpkin seeds for dogs, how they affect dogs and how to feed them, are pumpkin seeds bad for dogs in any way and are pumpkin seeds good for dogs to feed regularly.
ALSO READ: Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?
What are pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are the edible seeds found in the pumpkin. Seeds of a carving pumpkin can be hard-shelled, but seeds purchased at a grocery store tend to be shell-free, oval, and flat.
These seeds contain an inordinate amount of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that promote whole body health. They have been extensively studied in human clinical trials due to their numerous health benefits (Phillips et al. 2005).
This is what peeled pumpkin seeds look like:
Just like the pumpkin itself, pumpkin seeds for dogs have become a popular snack option among pet owners. We see veterinarians recommend adding them to canine's homemade dog food meals. So can dogs eat pumpkin seeds on a regular basis, are pumpkin seeds good for dogs and in what ways?
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Pumpkin Seeds for Dogs 101
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds? Yes, absolutely – you can feed your dog seeds from the pumpkin with one caveat: it is highly recommended that you clean, peel, roasts, and then grind them up. It's best not to feed your dog raw pumpkin seeds as they can rapidly spoil and go rancid.
Roasted and ground pumpkin seeds are an easy addition to your dog’s food and provide multiple benefits for canine health. It requires some preparation on your part, but the benefits from feeding dogs pumpkin seeds are numerous. There are plenty of homemade dog food recipes that include pumpkin seeds, too.
Need some ideas for pumpkin dog treats? Watch our videos of these tasty recipes:
- Healthy Pumpkin Cookie Dog Treat Recipe
- Pumpkin Dog Biscuits for Sensitive Stomachs
- Pumpkin Peanut Butter Homemade Dog Treats
Nutrition of pumpkin seeds
Let's take a look at the nutrition of pumpkin seeds and what are some proven health benefits of this food. An ounce serving of peeled pumpkin seeds contains the following:
Fiber: 1.7 grams.
Carbs: 5 grams.
Protein: 7 grams.
Fat: 13 grams
Because pumpkin seeds are very high in fiber, they can help improve digestion in dogs, which results in weight loss for overweight dogs and better overall health (Burrows et al. 1982). They also have one of the highest content of magnesium of all foods, which can help dogs maintain healthy bones, regulate blood sugar and pressure, and reduce the risk of heart diseases in dogs. Pumpkin seeds have also been studied to help with certain diseases, infections and worms in dogs (Mahmoud et al. 2002)
Here are some other potential benefits of pumpkin seeds for dogs and humans:
- Pumpkin seeds prevent from different types of cancer (1, 2, 3, 4)
- Pumpkin seeds improve heart health and prevent heart disease (5, 6, 7, 8)
- Pumpkin seeds improve sleep (9, 10, 11)
- Pumpkin seeds reduce inflammation (12, 13, 14)
- Pumpkin seeds help with bladder heath (15, 16)
- Pumpkin seeds lower blood sugar levels (17, 18, 19)
Overall, given they are prepared right, pumpkin seeds for dogs can be highly beneficial. So can dogs eat pumpkin seeds all the time, and how exactly will addition of this food benefit their overall health? Here's what you should know.
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7 Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds for Dogs
1. Antioxidants, fatty acids in pumpkin seeds promote dog's urinary health.
The antioxidants and fatty acids found in these seeds are essential to encouraging urinary health and in alleviating and preventing urinary tract infections. Pumpkin seed oil can assist older dogs suffering from an overactive bladder. Additionally, the seeds can help to avoid and dislodge kidney stones.
2. Pumpkin seeds provide a natural way of fighting canine parasites.
Pumpkin seeds contain an important amino acid called cucurbitacin, and it can be used to rid a dog’s body of parasites and worms. Cucurbitacin paralyzes and eliminates these intestinal bugs by acting as a deworming agent. It is particularly effective against roundworms and tapeworms.
3. Pumpkin seeds have anti-inflammatory benefits for the dogs.
High in Omega-3 fatty acids, pumpkin seeds can alleviate inflammation, making them a key ingredient in the fight against conditions that affect aging dogs such as arthritis and hip or elbow dysplasia.
4. Pumpkin seeds may benefit dogs with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate gland enlargement, occurs in many male dogs nine years of age or older. Pumpkin seeds can help regulate this condition and prevent it from causing serious discomfort in your dog.
5. Pumpkin seeds have lipids which provide “good” fats to the dog's body.
Lipids are “good” fats that body needs to survive. Pumpkin seeds have plenty of both types of beneficial fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These fats are responsible for lowering bad cholesterol levels and promoting good cholesterols.
6. Vitamins E and K may improve dog's cardiovascular health.
As a fat soluble vitamin, Vitamin E protects cells from free radicals and lowers blood pressure. Vitamin K contributes to proper bone growth and maintenance, as well as encouraging the skin to heal after injury.
Aside from causing blood clot formation after tissue damage, Vitamin K also prevents bleeding through blood cell aggregation.
7. Pumpkin seeds contain many vital minerals for dog's body function.
The following critical minerals can be found in significant supply within pumpkin seeds:
- Potassium for muscle support
- Zinc for immune function, hormone regulation, and brain activity
- Iron, phosphorus, and magnesium for red blood cell function
- Calcium for strong, healthy bone and teeth growth, as well as fighting cancers
So, can dogs have pumpkin seeds and reap the benefits?
With all of the above in mind, can dogs have pumpkin seeds regularly? Yes, you can definitely make pumpkin seeds a part of your dog's regular diet. As long as you prepare them right, meaning you don't give them raw but rather peel, roast and grind, then this food can become a powerful health booster for the dog. But are pumpkin seeds bad for dogs in any way at all?
Any Potential Side Effects of Pumpkin Seeds for Dogs?
Are pumpkin seeds bad for dogs in certain circumstance? No, not really. There are no direct side effects of giving pumpkin seeds for dogs. However, there are some things to keep in mind and a few things to avoid when feeding them to your pup.
Avoid salt. Don’t add any salt to the pumpkin seeds as dogs should only eat plain pumpkin seeds. Adding salt can create health risks for the dog, particularly issues surrounding sodium levels in the body. Keep the seeds plain.
Roast them. Be sure to roast pumpkin seeds before feeding them to your pup. Fresh, raw seeds can spoil very quickly; roasting the seeds extends their shelf life for roughly a month’s time (they also taste better roasted).
Store properly. Pumpkin seeds do need to be stored in sealed packages as they become highly toxic as they spoil. By using sealed bags, you can save these seeds for up to six months.
Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
With all of that being said, can dogs eat pumpkin seeds safely and with no risk for their health? Yes, most definitely – you can feed pumpkin seeds to your dog. They are mini-powerhouses stuffed with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Are pumpkin seeds bad for dogs in any way? Not at all. As long as you prepare them right, they're totally safe for dogs. Pumpkin seeds should be cleaned and roasted, and then can be added to your dog’s daily diet or as an occasional healthy treat.
Pumpkin seeds improve a significant amount of canine body functions, as well as help prevent urinary infections and cancers in dogs. Make sure to store pumpkin seeds appropriately to extend their shelf life and to avoid their toxicity when they go bad.
Remember that too much of a good thing can be bad. So feed pumpkin seeds for dogs in moderation and introduce this new snack food slowly into your Fido's diet if your dog is not already accustomed to eating them.