Cats and dogs are carnivores (meat eaters), both requiring a high protein diet. But there is one non-meat based food that has good benefits for both cats and dogs – pumpkin.
Pumpkin is a fabulous source of fibre for cats and dogs, and can help with their digestion, aiding both constipation and diarrhoea.
Given that pumpkin is a good source of fibre, it promotes a feeling of fullness in cats and dogs. This can potentially aid in weight loss due to decreasing the physiological need to eat more food.
Pumpkin is often used to control excess weight in overweight cats and dogs. If your cat or dog is overweight, consult with your vet about the specific dietary requirements for your pet.
Another benefit of pumpkin for cats especially is that it can help with hairballs. Hairballs or furballs in cats can be relieved by pumpkin through the same mechanism as it relieves constipation.
When feeding your pets pumpkin, puree cooked pumpkin without any sugar or spice. There are a few don’ts when it comes to pumpkins and pets. These are – don’t feed pets the stem of the pumpkin, pumpkin skin, the soft gooey material in the centre of the pumpkin nor raw pumpkin.
It is advisable to use fresh pumpkin that has been baked until soft, then puree in a blender before serving to your pet. Add a tablespoon (in proportion to their size) of pureed pumpkin to your pet’s regular meal to help keep their bowel movements regular.
Fresh Pumpkin seeds can also be used. You will need to clean, roast and ground pumpkin seeds before serving to cats and dogs. You can then add the ground pumpkin seeds to their food. Shop bought roasted pumpkin seeds – that are natural and have no added salt, spice or flavouring – can also be used in this way and grinded before serving.
If you use canned pumpkin puree, look for ones that have no added sugar or spice.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. Follow Rosa on Twitter.