Is Pumpkin for Dog Upset Stomach Good?
If your dog has an upset stomach, pumpkin may prove to be quite helpful. First and foremost, it's important to consider that dogs should be only given plain pumpkin, not the pumpkin with added spices purposely made for pumpkin pie.
When in doubt, check the label, it should only have pumpkin as the main ingredient and nothing else. If you pick up the wrong type, don't feed it to your dog; all those spices risk irritating your dogs stomach even more! The plain canned pumpkin you pick up from the grocery store should only contain pumpkin in a pureed form.
One of the most popular plain pumpkin brands is Libby's, but if you can, an organic formulation may be better. Among the qualities of pumpkin is the fact that pumpkin contains fiber, beta carotene, vitamins A, C along with potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Pumpkin for Dog Upset Stomach
When it comes to your dog's upset stomach, pumpkin can help sooth those irritated bowels because the dog's diet was abruptly changed or the dog is stressed. The fiber content in pumpkin is the soluble type, the type that forms a viscous gel that coats and soothes irritated bowels, explains veterinarian Karen Becker. This helps slow down transit times which delays gastric emptying, with the end result of reducing the diarrhea episodes. The soluble fiber also absorbs water from the digestive tract which slows down digestion and bulks up the stool, further adds veterinarian Jean Dodds.
[adinserter block="4"]Dr. Karen Becker also claims that pumpkin contains more fiber than a cup of cooked rice, the cooked rice containing 1.2 grams of fiber, and a cup of pumpkin containing 7 grams. Additionally, because pumpkin contains potassium, pumpkin is also helpful in replacing those lost electrolytes which otherwise may lead to dehydration in dogs with frequent bouts of diarrhea. It's estimated that a cup of pumpkin contains 505 mg of potassium.
If your dog has diarrhea and is also diabetic, pumpkin is safer than rice, further adds Karen Becker. This is because rice breaks down into sugar, while pumpkin does not. Pumpkin actually is capable of restoring the cells meant to produce insulin in the dog's pancreas. Dr. Karen Becker also feels that pumpkin is a better choice than rice because rice is a grain and dog's don't have a nutritional requirement for grains and the FDA has reported concerns about white rice containing arsenic.
For diarrhea, Dr. Karen Becker therefore recommends pumpkin along with fat-free ground turkey or turkey breast.
One of the best things about pumpkin is that it can also help with the opposite problem, constipation. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, adding canned pumpkin to the dog's diet can be effective for mild cases of constipation.
Pumpkin Dosage for Dog Upset Stomach
As with everything in life, too much of a good thing can apply to pumpkin as well. Dr, Jean Dodds observes that there are cases where too much pumpkin actually causes diarrhea.
The secret is to go slowly as too much fiber at once may lead to undesirable digestive problems such as gas, bloating and cramping. She suggests working up to 1 tablespoon per day for small dogs and 2 tablespoons per day for large dogs. Starting with small amounts first allows bacteria in the dog's digestive system to acclimate to the increased fiber.
[adinserter block="5"]It's important to realize that bland diets, such as the turkey and pumpkin diet suggested by Dr. Becker, aren't nutritionally complete, and as such, aren't meant to be fed long term. Rather, they should be fed for a couple of days until the stools firm up. Afterward, the regular diet should be gradually re-introduced over the course of several days until it totally replaces the pumpkin and turkey bland diet.
As always, please be aware that should your dog have diarrhea, your vet should first determine if there's an underlying cause that may need addressed. If your dog's diarrhea doesn't get better or your dog appears sick, lethargic and dehydrated, see your vet. Severe diarrhea may lead to loss of electrolytes and dehydration which can turn life threatening if not promptly addressed.
Note: If you don't want to buy the pumpkin canned, you can always purchase organic pumpkin that you can steam or boil.