How to Firm Up Dog Stools With Pumpkin

Lisa K. Campbell, DVM
Westie

Using pumpkin is a great way to firm your dogs stools. If you've owned a dog, then most likely you have had to deal with your pup's upset tummy some time in her life. Gastrointestinal (GI) upset in dogs shows up primarily as diarrhea. Fortunately, a dose of canned pumpkin in your dog's diet can help during those times when her stool is not as firm as it should be.

How Pumpkin Helps Your Dog's Diarrhea

Pumpkin is a fiber-rich food that also contains important vitamins like A, E, C, and K. Pumpkin also is a good source of the minerals iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

It contains insoluble and soluble fiber; both are important to your dog's overall GI health. Insoluble fiber helps absorb water and adds bulk to the stool. Soluble fiber forms a kind of gel in the stomach and delays the speed of digestion. Both types of fiber help when a dog is suffering from loose stools.

Maintains Beneficial Gut Flora

Fiber is also a prebiotic. Prebiotics act as "food" for probiotics, the tiny living organisms that help maintain beneficial gut flora, and healthy digestion.

How Much Pumpkin to Use

A general guideline for the amount of pumpkin to feed to your dog is 1 tablespoon for every 5 to 10 pounds of body weight. Too little won't help, and too much fiber can make your dog's symptoms worse. It is important to note that the pumpkin being referred to here is canned pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling is used for baking and contains seasonings and sugar. Be sure to check the label before offering canned pumpkin to your pup. The ingredients should be pureed pumpkin, and nothing else.

Is Pumpkin Enough?

Usually pumpkin alone isn't enough when your dog has a case of diarrhea. It makes sense to start a bland diet along with adding in pumpkin as a fiber source. A basic bland diet recipe consists of:

  • Chicken or turkey
  • Boiled white rice
  • Plain yogurt

Check with your veterinarian for the proper amount of each ingredient to feed your canine companion.

Cooking for Your Dog

Some dogs seem to have a naturally sensitive GI system. If you find that your dog suffers from loose stools more than once or twice a year, she might be a candidate for a homemade diet. A healthy and simple recipe that fits the needs of most dogs contains a balance of:

  • High quality protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrate
  • Calcium
  • Essential Fatty Acids
  • Vitamins and Minerals

Consult the website BalanceIt for help in creating the perfect recipe for your dog's needs. You can plug in the ingredients and find the ideal ratios of each food to meet your dog's nutritional requirements.

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Commercially available dog treats aren't ideal for a dog with a sensitive GI system. For these pups it's a good idea to have some healthy pumpkin dog treats on hand. You can add one fourth to one half of a can of pureed pumpkin to any of these dog biscuit recipes for a nice alternative to store bought goodies.

How Long Does Pumpkin Take to Work?

Most cases of simple diarrhea will resolve with pumpkin and a bland diet, in one to three days. If your dog is very young or very old, always talk to your veterinarian at the first sign of loose stools. In addition, if your dog is acting lethargic, vomiting, or is having bloody diarrhea, then call your veterinarian right away. A dog with diarrhea that is acting otherwise normal, and still has an appetite and good energy levels, may benefit from some pumpkin therapy in her diet.

How to Firm Up Dog Stools With Pumpkin