Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fall's Simple Solution for Tummy Troubles

Fall is the season of the pumpkin.  Pumpkin treats are everywhere from desserts to coffee, and of course pumpkin carving for Halloween.  But did you also know it serves as a great remedy for dogs with upset stomachs?

Diarrhea and constipation are common ailments that plague dogs regularly, and there isn’t a whole lot they can do about it when it happens.

Diarrhea can happen for many reasons, such as a food allergy, a bacterial or viral infection, or a parasite problem (worms or Giardia); but most commonly it happens from a sudden change in diet or eating something that didn’t agree with them, and they simply need to pass it.

Constipation can also occur for many reason, such as from a lack of exercise or a blocked passage (i.e. enlarged gland; ate something that won't pass easily; matted hair around the anus; etc.). But most commonly it happens from getting too much or too little fiber in their diet. 

In those more common cases of diarrhea and constipation, where there is no serious underlying issue, there is a simple solution. Canned pumpkin.

Canned pumpkin, found at your neighborhood grocer, is a great source of fiber as well as Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.  It is also a healthy supplement low in Saturated Fat, Sodium and Cholesterol. These characteristics make pumpkin an excellent source of natural relief in the digestion process, helping cure an upset stomach, solidify runny stool, and also soften stool causing constipation.  

Some vets even recommend pumpkin for help with weight loss because the high fiber content will make your dog feel fuller despite any reduction in the amount they eating. But always consult your vet before making that sort of dietary change for your dog.

If you are going to give your dog pumpkin to help stop diarrhea or constipation, here’s what you need to know:

Use only canned pumpkin (which can be found in the baking section of the grocery store) or cooked pumpkin.  Do Not use Pumpkin pie filling or mix – It’s not the same thing.

·         For a small dog: Give 1 – 2 teaspoons of pumpkin (mixed in with their food, if they’ll eat. Otherwise just a treat to lick).
·         For a larger dog: Give 1 - 2 tablespoons of pumpkin mixed in with their food, if they’ll eat. Otherwise just a treat to lick).
·         For medium sized dogs, which can be a broad measurement in the dog world, give them an amount between the two options, depending on if they are closer to a small size dog or a larger dog.

Normal diarrhea and constipation are usually cured quickly with pumpkin, so you don’t typically need to give them very many servings.  But, pumpkin is still a beneficial supplement for a dog and worth hanging on to, so if you find yourself with leftover pumpkin you have 2 options:
1.    You can split the remaining pumpkin up into baggies of 1 - 2 tablespoons and keep them in the freezer for future use.


2.    Continue to add pumpkin to your dog’s food until you finish the can.  Or, if you like, continue to give pumpkin even after that, to aid in healthy digestion.   This can be a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs who tend to have loose stool regularly.