Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita pepo) are often thrown out when people clean pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns this time of year. The practice is a huge waste of an item that has proven to be a fantastic source of nutrients and healing properties. Your entire family can benefit from eating fresh (unsalted) pumpkin seeds, including your pets in moderation. Positive results have been reported in dogs, cats, horses, some bird species and chickens, fish, and small animals like rabbits and gerbils.
We first discovered the benefits of pumpkin seeds while formulating our Bottom Bites fish food. Fish often have internal parasites (worms) so we began by exploring the natural anti-parasite properties of pumpkin seeds. We soon discovered that these wonderful seeds offer a full range of benefits, from nutritional to healing. Bottom Bites have contained organic, unrefined pumpkin seed oil ever since. It’s regularly shared with other pets and humans in our home as well.
Pumpkin seeds are valued for pets as:
- An excellent source of antioxidants, omega 3, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, folic acid, and Vitamin A.
- Immune system support.
- An anti-parasite treatment (natural dewormer) for intestinal parasites like tapeworm. Cucurbitin is one identified active component that works through paralysis of the parasites, which allows them to be eliminated naturally. Vitamin A in pumpkin seeds is said to increase resistance to parasite larvae.
- A digestive system ‘tonic’ that supports healthy digestion and soothes the digestive tract.
- An ulcer treatment in horses.
- A treatment for constipation.
Fresh raw (unprocessed) seeds offer the most powerful benefits. It’s best to grind air-dried, raw seeds to a powder for use as a pet supplement to make them easier to ingest, prevent choking in the smallest animals, and to digest for optimum nutrient absorption. You may also purchase pumpkin seed powder or oil, but please be sure to choose a reputable supplier. Mix the powder or oil into wet pet food or bake it into their favorite homemade pet treats.
Notes of Caution: Feed sparingly, a little goes a long way and feeding a large amount may cause digestive upset. If your pet has digestive issues after eating pumpkin seeds, you should discontinue use. While there is a negligible risk of hypervitaminosis from eating whole foods as part of a balanced diet, it’s something to be aware of when feeding supplements containing Vitamin A (such as pumpkin seed oil). We recommend consultation with a veterinarian before making changes in your pet’s diet or before using natural remedies.
??? Do you feed pumpkin seeds or their oil to your pets? What benefits have you noticed? Please share in the comments below.
Self Nutrition Data
Nyland, A. DVM Natural Horse Care The Right Way
Balch, Phyllis. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 2010.
Feeding and Digestive Functions in Fishes. Science Publishers. 2008.
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Free Pet and Animal Pumpkin Carving Patterns from Around the Web
Pumpkin for Pets
Dog or Horse Treat Recipe: Easy Pumpkin Walnut Cookies
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