Pumpkin Spice Pet Essentials For a Perfect Fall
Pumpkin is a wildly popular food for pups, as they seem to love the taste and don’t even realize the health benefits of pumpkin as a superfood. Well-known to be good for the gut in humans and their best friends, pumpkin is one of those squash fruits that’s been feeding us since before we even began recording time or history.
So what’s so great about pumpkin and why do people and pets lose their gourds when it’s pumpkin spice season? What pumpkin spice pet products must you and your doggo have and where can you find them? Read on…we have the skinny on those round buggers!
What Exactly IS A Pumpkin And How Do You Spice It?
Pumpkins are members of the Cucurbitaceae family. This food family includes over 700 species, and many of the Cucurbita family are squash (like pumpkins) or gourds. While we tend to think of anything round-ish, orange-ish and stemmed as a pumpkin, the reality is that they’re squashes. The most popular, and the ones that Starbucks depends on to pay their mortgage from September through Peppermint Mocha seasons are those that belong to the Cucurbita pepo group. These are your typical field, pie, miniature and naked-see pumpkins and the ones that we typically decorate with and carve for contests (although some of the larger decorative pumpkins belong to the Cucurbita maxima family).
The ‘spice’ part of pumpkin spice really doesn’t have much to do with pumpkin at all, actually. ‘Pumpkin spice’ is generally a combination of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice. Because those spices are often used in the most famous fall dish of them all—pumpkin pie—they’re grouped as ‘pumpkin spices.’
And, for the most part, as long as the amounts of any of those spices are small, they are not typically considered toxic to your dog (goes for humans too). If your dog was to ingest large amounts, especially of cinnamon, they could get pretty sick and have issues with their livers. Nutmeg has a toxin called myristicin in it, and in large quantities, nutmeg can bring disorientation, abdominal issues, seizures and hallucinations about. While ginger is often thought to be a good tummy-soother, in large quantities, it can cause fatigue and upset tummy in your dogs.
So, at a time of year where we see pumpkin spice in everything from breads, cookies, drinks, ice cream, cereals, beers, teas, yogurts, soups and even hamburgers, you’ll always want to make sure you know what is included in the ingredients of anything your pet ingests. That said, the ingredient content of pumpkin spices is typically minimal in most of those products, and it’s other ingredients that can really make your dog sick. Many foods are made with the sugar substitute xylitol, and xylitol can put dogs into kidney failure and kill them rather quickly. Raisins are also toxic to dogs and often included in many pumpkin spiced items. Caffeine isn’t great for dogs either, so as cute as a Puppucino is, be sure that it’s only whipped cream that you give your dog and not the espresso that accompanies a human’s drink.
Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater
So why should you consider pumpkin spice pet products? The most convincing argument aside from sheer adorableness is that pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals that can make a big difference in the health of your dog. Pumpkin is full of Vitamin C, beta-carotene and potassium and it’s often used as a flavoring for picky dogs because they can’t seem to get enough of it.
For dogs who are a bit on the, ahem, fluffier side? Pumpkin is a great filler food that’s low-calorie and can help keep them svelte without sacrificing too much bland in their diet. And, pumpkin can help regulate your dog’s intestinal tract and gut flora because of its fiber content. This helps them maintain healthy weights (as well as builds their immune systems to be even stronger.)
Pumpkins are full of antioxidants that stem from the carotenoid family. They are easily absorbed and prime fighters of oxidative damage in your dog because they sit in the cell membranes and fight tons of ickies that age our dogs before their time. They’re a long-acting antioxidant like blueberries which can be difficult to find fresh during the fall season.
Paging Dr. Pumpkin
And the best part about pumpkin is that while it’s obviously in abundance during the autumn season, you can buy pumpkin any time of the year. This is good news as pumpkin makes a great addition to your pupper’s first aid kit as a tummy helper.
Pumpkin has long been used in dogs to help their digestive systems. Pumpkins have soluble fiber, which absorbs water in your dog’s digestive tract and makes their stool less runny and icky. Inside your dog’s gut, the fiber fermentation that occurs also makes fatty acids. These fatty acids give energy source to your dog’s cells and can help lower the pH level of your dog’s large intestines by stimulating water absorption and intestinal sodium. Many vets recommend pumpkin to help diarrhea in your dog.
As well, fiber from pumpkins can act as a prebiotic in your dog’s gut. Prebiotics are pivotal as they fuel and feed the growth of probiotics and helpful bacteria in your dog’s gut. Just like in humans, good bacteria in your gut makes for good tummy (and immune health) and the fiber in pumpkin can do that for your dog. Pumpkin can also help mild constipation in dogs, but experts suggest that if your dog is constipated, you find out why and rather quickly so you avoid any issues with GI backup that could lead to surgery.
Veterinarians recommend that when feeding pumpkin to your dog for whatever reason, you make sure it’s pumpkin you’re feeding them, and be especially wary about pumpkin spice products that may contain xylitol. As well, canned pumpkin spice products may have added salts, sugar and spices that could irritate their tummies and that defeats the purpose.
Perfect Pumpkin Portions, Please
When it comes to giving your doggos pumpkin, we always suggest checking with your veterinarian for proper pumpkin portions. Different dog sizes, health issues and dietary needs will obviously affect the right portion for your pet, and your vet is the first resource when it comes to making sure your pooch is healthy.
Generally speaking, a teaspoon/tablespoon a day could be what the doctor ordered, but it could be as much as two-four ounces of canned pumpkin a meal. That’s if you’re adding to kibble or canned/wet dog food. If you are adding pumpkin to your dog’s store-bought food, just remember that you may want to pull a hair back on the portion size of the food since the pumpkin will act as filler.
If you make your dog’s food, pumpkin is a fabulous ingredient as it can be a carb that can be combined with rice (or just used as the carb content). It’s considered a fruit, but offers a vegetable serving when looking at ratios of ingredients for appropriate homemade dog food proportions and it’s a great way to entice picky dogs to eat their meals
Whatever you give, be careful not to give your dog the leftover from your porch pumpkins. Pumpkins that you’ve carved (or not) and have been sitting out on your porch/yard as decorations are harbors for bacteria and mold and you don’t want to take chances of making your pup sick. Especially not when you can by 15 oz. cans of organic pumpkin for a little more than a dollar.
You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Pumpkin Spice
It’s almost a rite of the seasonal passage, though, isn’t it? To indulge in all the pumpkin spiced pet products we can just makes this time of year even more fun for our pups, doesn’t it? That said, we’ve scoured the globe and asked dog parents what their favorite pumpkin spiced pet products were and we’re sharing them with you. Rest assured, they’re safe for Fido and bound to make this time of year even more fall-licious than it already is.
Petguide’s Top Pumpkin Spice Pet Products
If this time of year makes you want all the things to smell pumpkin spice, then you can start with your best friend and this pumpkin spice cologne for dogs from Bath and Brush Therapies. It’s made with phthalate-free fragrance and can be used when your dog needs a little spritz of fall. We’ll warn you; many people who love this scent say they buy the cologne for room/pillow freshening as well as just starting the day with a little bit of fall. You can get a small bottle to take you through Halloween or a larger size for the whole of all fall festivities.
We fell in love with Pet House soy candles at the Global Pet Expo. They’re eco-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about synthetic fragrances irritating your family (human and fur alike). The wax is dye- and paraffin-free, making them non-toxic and safe for those who suffer allergies and they burn on a 100% cotton wick. They were designed specifically with natural soy to help freshen houses that have pets in them—whether you want to spice up the season or gently remove stinky pet odor with natural fragrance. They’re infused with essential oils and they have a ton of different scents other than pumpkin spice you could try for various holidays. All One Fur pet products are made in the United States without dyes or toxic ingredients so they can maintain the safest products for pets and create naturally fresh home environments. We love the little mini-candles as they pack a lot of power in a little punch!
Okay, so it’s not necessarily pumpkin spice, but this stuff is the dog-diggety best if you’re looking to get some good gut health going on in your dog! It’s a complete 4-in-1 formula that combines fiber from Miscanthus grass, pumpkin and flaxseed with pre- and pro-biotics and enzymes to give your dog’s digestive system a superboost. Squishy poop or poop like rocks? No problem for Bernie’s Perfect Poop as dogs will eat these flavorful flakes up like you read about and they’ll get to work on getting good gut going. Your dog will have better health and a stronger immune system, and the increased absorption of nutrients and vitamins means your dog’s coat, itching and energy issues may be addressed too.
And, it’s a great daily supplement so you can add some pumpkin to your pup’s diet in a delicious and healthy way every day of the year.
Don’t let the name fool you…your dog will love these yummy Pumpkin Spice Tea Cookies so much they will most definitely NOT want to share! Snicky Snaks makes these delicious all-natural, organic cookies from 100% human-grade ingredients in facilities committed to the best for your pet. They choose to use organic because organic ingredients don’t have chemicals like insecticides, fungicides and herbicides that can be toxic for your dog.
And, the folks at Snicky Snaks choose organic farming because it’s better for the environment. Organic farming practices help conserve water, use less energy, reduce air/water/soil pollution and increase fertility in the soil. As well, eggs and milk from organically certified sources mean that the animals are treated humanely and not given animal byproducts, antibiotics or growth hormones—and that makes them better for your best friend. These cookies have just enough pumpkin spice to make them tasty but in minimal amounts to ensure safety for your dog. So, go ahead, sip on all the pumpkin spice lattes all you want. Just be sure to have some pumpkin spice treats for your dog too.
But look…if you want to indulge in your pumpkin spice latte while your best friend has one too, then look no further than Honest Kitchen’s Instant Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s a 100% Human-grade formula that will make Fifi feel like she’s in fall heaven. It also serves as good immunity for your pup as it is made of goat’s milk, pumpkin, honey, ginger and cinnamon. Super easy to hydrate Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Foods with and there are never any by-products, GMO ingredients, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives in their foods. Just like the Starbucks version, it’s a seasonal limited edition so you may want to scarf up a few extras to get you through the rest of the dry season.
You already love Greenies because your dog loves them and doesn’t even realize that he’s cleaning his teeth and gums when he’s chowing down. But, this Pumpkin Spice Flavor brings fall into full effect for your furry friend. They’re veterinarian recommended to help with dog dental hygiene and they fight plaque and tartar—important for keeping your dog fully healthy. The natural ingredients of this limited edition formula include real pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavor and they’re made in the United States. Greenies are also accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
Dr. Seuss once said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” We agree, and think this Puppy (spice) Latte Costume will be the hit of any local coffee shop’s gathering. Or anywhere you decide to take your pooch in it, really, because it’s so stinking adorable. It comes in several sizes and who can resist a puppy latte?
But if the Puppy Latte costume doesn’t float your boat, go on ahead and pumpkin up with this adorable pumpkin pet costume from Rubies. Fabulous for every flipping day of fall, or any time you’re jonesing for a pumpkin fix. It doesn’t get any cuter than a puppy pumpkin coming to the rescue!
This plush pumpkin is full of fun for Fido as he’ll be searching for the hidden toys (and you can put treats in) the pumpkin holds. Dogs love digging through to pull out the additional fall plush toys and it’ll give them something productive and brain-building to do while you’re sitting back and sipping the real deal latte.
What goes best with Puppucinos? Why Pumpkin Spice cake, of course! There’s no need for your best pal to miss out on delicious cakes when there’s a Pooch Cake Pumpkin Spice mix made just for her! The ingredients are canine safe and can be made into a cake or pup-cakes for snacking. You can whip the frosting up in just minutes, and the cake is oven/microwave-ready once you’ve mixed it. It’s wheat-free, and there really is something so satisfying about making your dog something special just for them. We love this mix because it’s a great way to foster bonding between your pets and the humans in the family and kids can’t get enough of making food for their dogs. Spoiler: Neither can adults!
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More by Lori Ennis