Pumpkin is often considered a go to in the canine diet whether added to homemade dog food or found in the ingredient list of your favorite high quality brand but are pumpkin seeds just as good of a food for dogs to enjoy?
Let’s take a deeper look at this purported superfood and find out if dogs can eat pumpkin seeds as well.
CAN DOGS EAT PUMPKIN SEEDS?
Similar to the actual pumpkin flesh (can dogs eat pumpkin?), pumpkin seeds are safe for dogs to consume and can actually be quite a healthy addition to their diet!
Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc, iron, potassium and fiber and can be delicious for both you and your dog eaten raw or roasted.
In fact, this roasted squash seed recipe is a great basic method for enjoying any type of seed from a winter squash in roasted form, including pumpkin.
Follow the basic recipe which just uses olive oil, salt and pepper (using minimal amounts) for a canine friendly option.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUMPKIN SEEDS AND PEPITAS?
Shown here are technically pepitas. Some will claim that pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds but that’s not entirely correct.
If you carve your Halloween pumpkin and scoop out the stringy pulp and seeds, you’ll find somewhat large oval shaped white seeds, not these green smaller seeds known as pepitas.
Those white seeds are technically pumpkin seeds.
Pepitas, while often called pumpkin seeds interchangeably, are indeed pumpkin seeds as well.
However, they are only found in specific types of pumpkins and not the type you likely have sitting on your front steps during the fall.
Pepitas are only found in the hull-less variety Styrian or oilseed pumpkins.
With that confusion aside, dogs can eat both pumpkin seeds and pepitas safely.
CAN PUMPKIN SEEDS KILL DOGS?
No! This is a myth. Pumpkin seeds are not toxic to dogs and will not kill them.
Things like garlic, leeks, onion and grapes may be harmful and potentially lethal to dogs but pumpkin seeds are not!
In fact, pumpkin seeds have long been used for their anti-parasitic properties in humans and can also be used in such a capacity for dogs.
Pepitas or pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid cucurbitin, which can help eliminate parasites from your dog’s digestive tract.
Work with your vet if you want to try this natural approach to removing parasites from your dog but usually, pumpkin seeds are ground into a powder and added to their food as a safe dewormer.
CAN I ADD PUMPKIN SEEDS TO MY DOG’S DIET?
Yes, pumpkin seeds and pepitas are being used pretty widely now as healthy additions to a dog’s diet whether added to their food or used as a snack.
To reap the most nutrition of the pumpkin seed, it’s best to grind or process the seeds into a powder.
If eaten whole, seeds tend to pass through the digestive tract without being broken down due to their hard outer shell protecting it from the digestive enzymes in the dog’s intestines.
Besides their natural anti-parasitic properties, pumpkin seeds also provide an array of other benefits to your dog such as:
- antioxidants that help with urinary health
- anti-inflammatory properties from omega-3 fatty acids
- vitamins K and E to help support bone growth and maintenance as well as healthy skin
Besides roasting and either feeding as a snack or grinding into a powder, these pumpkin spice dog treats are a fun way to incorporate pumpkin seeds into your dog’s diet as well!