Pumpkin pie is a quintessential pie during the holidays. Can you feed your dog pumpkin pie? To safely celebrate the holidays, do not give your dog pumpkin pie. A pumpkin pie has ingredients that are not safe for dogs.
Pumpkin and Dogs
For humans, pumpkin is loaded with nutrition. Pure pumpkin – the kind found in fresh pumpkin and 100% canned pumpkin puree – contains high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Also, indicated by its distinctive orange color, pumpkin is high in beta carotene – an antioxidant compound that prevents free radicals and boosts immunity.
The benefits of pumpkin aren’t limited to people. Studies show that a moderate portion of pumpkin a day can be beneficial to dogs, giving them the same powerful nutrients as their human counterparts and helping aid in digestion – making it a great remedy for treating your four-legged friend’s diarrhea. In fact, it is a good idea to add a spoonful of raw pumpkin to your dog’s food.
Pumpkin pie, however, is another story. While 100% pure pumpkin can be a good supplement to your dog’s diet, pumpkin pie is detrimental to your dog’s health and can make your dog sick.
Why is Pumpkin Pie Bad for Dogs?
The reason pumpkin pie is unsafe for dogs isn’t the pumpkin itself. Pumpkin is full of nutrients beneficial to both people and canines. In fact, it is the myriad of other ingredients in pumpkin pie that make this traditional holiday dessert a no-go for man’s best friend.
Pumpkin Pie Ingredients Unsafe for Dogs
Sugar: too much sugar is unhealthy for your dog and can cause a range of health issues such as weight gain and obesity, diabetes, and digestive issues.
Artificial Sweeteners: if you are making a sugar-free pumpkin pie, keep in mind that artificial sweeteners are particularly toxic to your dog. The worst culprit is commonly used sweetener xylitol, which is poisonous even in small quantities and requires immediate veterinary attention.
Pie Crust: the oils and butter used when baking pie crust can disrupt your dog’s digestion and cause bloating upset stomach, and diarrhea. However, small amounts are fine for your dog.
Preservatives: while most preservatives aren’t necessarily bad for your dogs, one common one – potassium metabisulfite – has been proven to cause allergic reactions in some dogs.
Salt: dogs can experience effects of salt poisoning with as little as 2 – 3 grams, with 4 grams being downright lethal.
Dairy: most pumpkin pie recipes contain condensed milk. Since most dogs are lactose intolerant in some capacity, even small amounts of dairy can cause diarrhea, bloating, gas, and constipation. This includes whipped cream, which is a common pumpkin pie garnish.
Eggs: while raw eggs can be unsafe for your dog due to the risk of salmonella, cooked eggs are fine for your four-legged friend. However, if your dog has a sensitivity to eggs, their immune system overreacts to the proteins found in egg yolks. Eggs can cause gastrointestinal problems.
Cinnamon: the most distinctive ingredient in pumpkin pie spice, small quantities of cinnamon have no ill effects on your dog. However, too much cinnamon can cause liver and heart disease, low blood sugar (which can cause dizziness and disorientation), heart palpitations, vomiting, and diarrhea. For dogs with sensitive mouths, cinnamon can irritate their mouth and gums.
Cloves: not toxic to your dog in small amounts, but like most ingredients on this list, can be poisonous in large quantities.
Ginger: while fresh ginger is usually safe for your dog, dried ginger is usually used in pumpkin spice and can irritate your dog’s mouth and gums.
Nutmeg: nutmeg is toxic to dogs and necessitates immediate veterinary attention. Even as little as 5 grams – an amount that weighs the same as a single nickel – will poison and even kill your dog. Keep in mind that a toxic dose will be even less for smaller dogs. Symptoms of nutmeg poisoning in dogs include:
Hallucinations / disorientation
Rapid heart rate
Dry mouth / increased thirst
High blood pressure
What Happens If My Dog Eats Pumpkin Pie?
If your dog accidentally gets hold of a little bit of pumpkin pie after a chaotic Thanksgiving dinner, there is probably no cause for alarm.
However, too much pumpkin pie may have dangerous amounts of toxic ingredients, especially particularly poisonous ones like nutmeg and xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free or reduced sugar pumpkin pie filling).
Your dog can suffer symptoms regardless of whether they had a single slice of pumpkin pie or a whole pumpkin pie.
Your dog’s size will affect how much reaction they have to pumpkin pie. Smaller dogs may experience symptoms from an amount that may not affect larger dogs.
Regardless of your dog’s size or the amount of pie they consumed, call your vet if you notice symptoms such as:
disorientation (one of the most glaring symptoms of serious poisoning)
dry mouth or excess thirst
changes in heart rate (either too fast, too slow, or irregular)
redness or rash in the mouth or gums
seizures and unresponsiveness (another of the major signs of toxicity)
Alternatives to Pumpkin Pie
If you don’t want to leave your furry companion out of your holiday festivities, consider making a dog-safe pumpkin pie from ingredients that are proven safe for dogs. Some of the ingredients are:
Plain Pumpkin – 100% pumpkin puree (this differs from pumpkin pie mix, which comes in a similar can
A small dollop of whipped cream – only if you know your dog has no lactose intolerance
For added flavor, a small amount of cinnamon
Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats
We previously shared some homemade pumpkin dog treats, here are five of our favorite pumpkin recipes.
Pumpkin Dog Toys
You can also provide your dog some fun pumpkin and pie dog toys. Here are four of our favorites dog toys:
Plain Pumpkin For Dogs
Plain pumpkin puree, made of 100% cooked pumpkin, is a versatile option for giving your dog extra health benefits. It’s a good idea to mix in a spoonful with dog food at mealtime.
Fresh pumpkin is safe for your dog to consume – just make sure to remove the rinds to eliminate choking risk. Pumpkin seeds are a healthy treat and are safe for your dog to eat – just make sure to forego the salt when offering this popular fall snack.
Choosing Canned Pumpkin For Dogs
On a previous post, Canned or Homemade Pumpkin for Dogs, we did a comparison test and shared 5 differences.
It’s fun to make your own pumpkin puree but many brands now offer 100% dog safe pumpkin.
Three of our favorites are:
1. Nummy Tum Tum Pure Pumpkin For Pets –
100% pure and USDA Organic pumpkin puree in a can and sourced from local farms
2. Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up! –
pumpkin puree in a convenient single serve pouch (both for dogs and cats)
3. Native Pet Organic Pumpkin For Dogs – just mix with water to make a pumpkin puree
Benefits of Giving Pumpkin to Your Dog
A regular dose of plain pumpkin is a great supplement to your dog’s diet. Aside from a healthy dose of vitamins A and C, it also contains potassium, dietary fiber, and beta carotene – which can prevent chronic illnesses, including cancer.
Let’s look more closely at the various nutrients in plain pumpkin and what makes it such a great ingredient in both dog and human food.
Vitamin A: this key vitamin is vital for eye and brain health
Vitamins C; E: are both antioxidants, these vitamins prevent the buildup of free radicals and prevent chronic illness, inflammation, and fight oxidation that can lead to cancer
Potassium: this important nutrient aids in digestion, and energy, and improves heart and muscle health
Beta Carotene: A specific compound that the body processes into vitamin A and strengthens your dog’s eyes
Dietary Fiber: regular fiber is vital for digestive health. Keep in mind that too much fiber can cause diarrhea
Prebiotics: these important nutrients increase the presence of good bacteria in your dog’s gut, aiding in digestive health and fighting against bad bacteria that can cause an upset stomach
You can read more in-depth benefits of pumpkin for your dogs in our previous post, 10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
In A Nutshell – Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Pie?
As curious as your dog may be to try new foods, especially during holiday festivities, feeding your dog pumpkin pie is generally unsafe.
There are safe alternatives for pumpkin pie. Make sure to check our homemade pumpkin dog treat recipes. Also, consider adding plain pumpkin to your dog’s diet for added health benefits.