Diarrhea is a common condition that canines may go through several times in their lifetime. It could be the food they eat, allergies, infections, or a symptom of a severe illness.
Pumpkin is one such fiber-rich food that can help ease different digestive issues. It also contains prebiotics, minerals, and vitamins that aid in maintaining the dog’s overall health.
If your dog has a mild case of diarrhea, you can try including pumpkin in its diet. The article will look at answers to questions like how fast does pumpkin work for dog diarrhea, how much and what kind of pumpkin to give, and how to safely include it in your dog’s routine.
What Are the Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs?
In an ideal scenario, dogs should be able to digest their food in under 10 hours. The by-product that is poop should be log-like, chocolaty brown, and have a play-doh-like consistency.
A dog’s stomach can be sensitive. Any disruption to the digestive process can result in runny, brown puddle-like poop.
Here are some of the possible causes of diarrhea in dogs.
- Diet Change: If you suddenly switch over to new food, your dog’s stomach may not take kindly to the change. It would help if you ideally fed the dog 20% of the new food at the start and gradually increased the quantity.
- Eating Garbage: If the dog has the habit of rummaging through garbage bins, then it is highly likely to consume food that is unfit for eating, resulting in an upset stomach.
- Eating Style: A dog’s stomach has acid that can break down chunks of food it gulps. But eating too fast and too much can put pressure on the gut.
- Allergies: Common food allergens like dairy items, chicken, soy, and gluten can cause diarrhea in dogs.
- Parasites and Viruses: If the dog comes in contact with an infected dog, drinks, or eats from a contaminated source, it too can get infected. Some of these infectious organisms are roundworms, hookworms, parvovirus, and distemper, among others.
- Health Issues: If your dog suffers from stress, anxiety, or depression, diarrhea could be a possible symptom. If the condition persists or occurs frequently, it becomes important to diagnose the underlying illness.
How Fast Does Pumpkin Work For Dog Diarrhea?
Pumpkin contains nutrients that can help firm up your dog’s poop, thereby being effective for diarrhea.
It is not a miracle cure, though. You need to prepare the pumpkin and feed the dog a small quantity for it to work. If given in excess, pumpkin can worsen your pet’s condition.
The effectiveness of pumpkin depends on the cause and severity of diarrhea. For example, if the dog has a mild case of diarrhea, pumpkin can help provide it relief in about 24 hours. However, it might take around 48 hours for your pet to get back to normal.
You should see some improvement in 5 to 7 hours of feeding the pumpkin. The recovery will be gradual.
If the underlying cause is serious, for example, an infection, then unless the cause is not addressed, the pumpkin will not help. If the dog is suffering from a gastrointestinal condition, then again, it will need medications to fix the root cause.
Similarly, if the dog is dealing with mental health conditions like anxiety or depression, pumpkin can provide temporary relief to the gut, but diarrhea can reoccur.
How Does Pumpkin Work for Dog Diarrhea?
Pumpkin is a fruit that contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. In addition, it contains other nutrients like vitamin A, C, E, and K, potassium, iron, and magnesium.
Fiber is vital for maintaining overall gut health. The appropriate amount of fiber can keep things moving smoothly in both humans and dogs.
According to PetMD, soluble fiber is necessary to maintain the overall health of the large intestine. Soluble fiber can absorb water. This can make the dog’s poop form a structure and make it easier for the dog to control its poop.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber can add bulk to the poop, which makes it easier for the poop to pass through the gastrointestinal system.
Dogs need soluble and insoluble fiber sources to maintain gut health, body weight, good gut bacteria, and healthy colonic cells.
What Kind of Pumpkin Should You Be Using?
According to AKC, plain canned pumpkin is the best way to use the fruit for your dog.
Fresh pumpkins primarily consist of 80% to 90% water. They sure are nutritious but compared to their plain canned version, they will be less effective in treating dog diarrhea. On the other hand, canned pumpkin has a higher concentration of nutrients like fiber, which can help control diarrhea within a day or two.
You can also try giving your pet pumpkin powder that is specially prepared for them.
What you should not use are canned versions that include salt, spices, additives, and other preservatives. These additional ingredients can further irritate your dog’s stomach, which to begin with is not in a good state.
Also, do not feed the dog pumpkin pie mixes. The ingredients in such mixes can not only irritate but also be toxic for dogs. For example, xylitol is used as a sweetener in several human foods. But in dogs, it can bring their blood sugar level dangerously low, causing them to faint or have seizures.
How to Prepare Pumpkin for a Dog with Diarrhea?
If you can buy plain canned pumpkin puree, you can feed it to the dog directly. Read through the ingredient list to ensure no sodium or sugar is added.
If you do not want to rely on the canned pumpkin version when your dog is sick, you can prepare the puree at home.
You will first have to bake a fresh pumpkin to make it easier for your dog to eat. You can bake it for 50 to 60 minutes at 180°C. Ensure there are no seeds, and you have completely removed the innards of the fruit. Once baked, you can cut the pumpkin into small cubes or choose to puree it.
How Much Pumpkin you should provide to your dog?
The quantity of pumpkin depends on the size of your dog and its stomach’s sensitivity. As per AKC, adding 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumpkin to the dog’s meal is enough to treat diarrhea.
If it is a small dog or if you know the dog has a sensitive stomach, stick to one tablespoon. If needed, you can increase the serving size for the next meal.
For larger dog breeds, do not go over the four tablespoon limit. A lot of fiber is also not good for the dog’s gut.
You should not feed the dog for a few short hours when it has diarrhea. It can give the digestive system a chance to rest and recover. When you do give it food, stick to a bland and easily digestible food along with pumpkin puree.
Does Pumpkin Work for Dog Constipation Too?
Yes, pumpkin does work for mild cases of constipation as well.
Some of the typical causes of canine constipation are:
- Inactive lifestyle
- Insufficient fiber
- Poor diet
- Less water intake
- Gastrointestinal blockages
- Medication side effects
The pumpkin’s high fiber and moisture content helps with the digestive process and makes it easier for the poop to pass. You can include pumpkin the same way you would for diarrhea; 1 to 4 tablespoons in every meal. Also, make sure the dog has enough water and is not dehydrated.
If the dog does not poop within 24 to 48 hours of time, or it shows symptoms like abdominal pain, bloody stool, or painful defecation, please get it checked by the vet.
What Other Benefits Does Pumpkin Offer?
Pumpkin by itself is not a complete meal. You can feed it to the dog along with its regular meal to get the right amount of nutrients. A single food item should not take up more than 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake.
Pumpkins, when fed as a part of a balanced diet, can offer benefits like:
- The fiber in pumpkin acts as prebiotics. They encourage the growth of good bacteria by providing the necessary nutrition and preventing the growth of bad bacteria in the intestines. This can help keep the dog’s digestive system in an optimal state.
- The insoluble fiber can help your pet lose or maintain its body weight. You can increase the dog’s food volume without adding too many calories.
- Pumpkin contains vitamin A, C, and E. Vitamin A helps with the dog’s bone health, vision, and immunity. Vitamin C can help keep harmful free radicals away.
- Vitamin E can keep a dog’s skin, nerve cells, liver, and heart in optimal condition.
Are There Any Risks with Feeding Pumpkin to the Dog?
Too much of even the healthiest food is not good for the dog. Fiber is essential, but too much of it can upset your dog’s stomach.
In the case that your dog’s diet includes high fiber intake from multiple sources, it can affect how the body absorbs other nutrients like protein. As a result, excessive fiber intake can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Canned pumpkin is available throughout the year and is the best for the dog. But, it would be best if you were careful when picking up the product from the market. Steer clear of any additional ingredients. For example, cinnamon, commonly added to pumpkins, can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
If you choose to prepare the pumpkin puree at home, ensure to remove the string center part. Also, keep the skin and stem of the pumpkin away from the dog. Consuming these parts can cause indigestion, which completely overturns the purpose of feeding the pumpkin in the first place.
How to Safely Include Pumpkin in Your Dog’s Diet?
You can buy a plain canned pumpkin from the market. You can bake the pumpkin for half an hour to make it soft and cut it into small pieces.
You can prepare pumpkin puree by simmering chunks of pumpkin in boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain the water, and then turn the softened flesh into a smooth puree.
The seeds you remove in the above cooking methods can also be fed to your pet. First, clean the seeds and roast them at 350°C. Once cooled, peel and grind the seeds. You can then add the powder to the dog’s meal.
You should slowly include any new food in your dog’s diet. Start with teaspoons of the puree in every meal. You can increase the quantity if the dog adjusts well and does not show any negative signs.
Even when you are trying to fix an issue like dog diarrhea, first have the dog try one tablespoon. If in doubt, please consult with the vet on pumpkin feeding recommendations.
How to Store Pumpkin?
How fast does pumpkin work for dog diarrhea? The answer is somewhere between 24 to 48 hours. So how do you store the pumpkin until then?
Unopened canned pumpkin can last for 3 to 5 years, depending on the brand you buy. When opened, the puree can stay good for about a week when refrigerated.
If you prepare pumpkin puree at home, you can refrigerate it for 3 to 4 days. If you plan to use the puree quickly, store it in an air-tight container. You can also add the puree to an ice-cube tray and let your pet enjoy them as a summer treat.
You can also freeze the puree for about six months. Remember to defrost the puree before adding it to a dish.
If you have any leftover pumpkin seeds, store them in sealed bags to retain their freshness.
What Other Home Remedies Can Work for Diarrhea?
Home remedies can be effective if diarrhea results from a change in diet, food intolerance, or eating style. But if the diarrhea is a result of infections or health issues, the vet must address the underlying cause.
Let us look at some home remedies suggested by AKC for dog diarrhea.
- Withholding food for 12 to 24 hours can help an irritated digestive system relax and recover. You can frequently give the dog water in small amounts as diarrhea can cause dehydration. If the dog is too young or senior or has existing conditions like diabetes, fasting is not recommended.
- You can give the dog plain white rice. You can add pumpkin puree to the rice to make it more nutritious. You can also give the dog the water left behind after cooking the rice as a creamy soup.
- Plain-cooked chicken, without skin and bones, is also good for diarrhea. You can add plain rice to make the meal wholesome.
- If your dog is not lactose-intolerant, you can try plain yogurt.
These foods should first be given in small quantities to not over-work the digestive system. Then, if your dog responds to these home remedies, you can slowly increase the portion sizes and reintroduce its regular food into the diet.
What to Do If the Dog’s Diarrhea Persists?
If feeding pumpkin and the other home remedies do not work, then it would be best to contact the vet.
A dog with diarrhea can show other symptoms like:
If you see the above signs, do not wait two days to experiment with home remedies, the dog could have an underlying condition that may need medical attention.
If tested and effective home remedies that worked in the past do not work on the dog, contact the vet.
If your dog already suffers from ailments like diabetes, kidney or liver issues, gastrointestinal problems, or cancer, seek help from the vet.
How fast does pumpkin work for dog diarrhea? It may take a day or two for the pumpkin to show its effectiveness. In cases of mild diarrhea, you should be able to see results in about 5 to 7 hours. Give the dog enough water as it can get dehydrated from diarrhea.
Plain canned pumpkin is ideal when it comes to dog diarrhea. Ensure it does not contain any seasonings. You can bake fresh pumpkin or make a puree out of it. 1 to 4 tablespoons to the dog’s meal are the AKC recommended serving size.
If the dog’s diarrhea does not subside or shows additional symptoms, please do not hesitate to contact the vet.
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.