The Star-Herald

Pumpkins benefit pets

Pumpkins tend to be a seasonal treat for most of us, finding their way onto our porches, into our pies and lattes and making autumn time festive. However, did you know that pumpkin can also be a tasty and beneficial treat for your pet? 

Being well into fall with an overabundance of pumpkins for sale, we thought we’d share with you the many ways that pumpkin can improve the diet of your cat or canine. Just make sure to check with your vet first to see if pumpkin is right for your furry friend. 

: Pumpkin is a fabulous source of fiber for our furry friends and pureed pumpkin with no added sugar or spices can really help both dogs and cats with certain digestive issues. Adding a tablespoon or two to your pet’s regular meal can help soothe stomach aches, clear up constipation or diarrhea, and aid in digestion. Plus, in cats, pumpkin can help move any ingested fur through the digestive tract which will help in stopping so many furballs.

:  Believe it or not, the hard flesh of a pumpkin is about 90 percent water. That means that adding pureed or cut-up pumpkin to your pet’s food is a great way to introduce a little moisture back into their diet, especially if they’re used to eating only dry food.

:  Since pumpkin has about three grams of fiber per cup and fiber is very filling, pumpkin can help in making your dog or cat feel full sooner. This means that if you’re cutting back your pet’s regular food in order to help them lose weight, you can add a little pumpkin instead to satisfy their hunger. And since pumpkin is healthy for your pet as well, you won’t feel bad about tricking them into eating less.

:  One of the biggest benefits of pumpkin is that it’s chock-full of nutrition. Pumpkins contain vitamin C, vitamin A (from beta-carotene), iron, fiber, folate, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, copper and protein. Phew — plus, pumpkins contain antioxidants which help to moisturize the hair and skin of your pet, leaving them soft and shiny to the touch and much less likely to scratch. 

These and more helpful tips are available from the Animal Welfare Society.

Please check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society Facebook page for pets that are available for adoption. 

As always, be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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