Monday, June 3, 2013

The Benefits of Whole Pumpkin

My favorite pumpkin!
Last time, I gave you a message from Bean O'Brien on healthy treats that do not come from a store and told you that I would discuss whole pumkin in my next blog.  First, I have a question which leads into my message.

Did you ever wonder why doggies do all that butt sniffing that humans find disgusting, hilarious or both?  Well, the answer deals with our anal glands which "produce fluid with a distinctive odor that identifies (us) and tells other dogs (our) sex, approximate age, health status, and other things." (Petfinder)  So, it's more than just saying, "Hello, glad o meet you!"

But our signpost greeting card glands need to be healthy and empty themselves during our bowel movements. When they don't, you might see us scooting on our hineys on the ground or on the new carpeting (that is a little more comfy after all). We are not showing you a new trick; we are trying to relieve ourselves of discomfort.

Little dogs, and even not so little dogs, sometimes have trouble with their anal glands emptying naturally. They even can get impacted; if this happens often enough, it could not only cause permanent damage to our delicate tissues, but also result in expensive veterinary bills. To avoid complications, impacted glands need to be expressed with the help of a groomer or veterinarian.  Pet parents can be taught how to do this, too, but it can be a bit tricky and very smelly. 

Well, here's where the pumpkin comes into the picture!  Whole pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING) adds bulk to our stools so that we can begin to expel our own anal glands.  I know; I am proof of this!  
I love my pumpkin.  It was like a miracle for me!
 In addition, it is like a super food for digestion; it can curb diarrhea, ease constipation and we LOVE it.  Go figure!  But, because it is rich n Vitamin A which is stored in the liver , moderation is the key.  You can read all about it in Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Puree?

I wonder if next Halloween I will attack a few carved jack-o-lanterns on my morning walk.

My advice for today:
  • Mix about a tablespoon of whole pumpkin in your pet's food.  Remember this adds a few calories, so cut back on a treat or two.
  • Read the article above for more information about pumpkin.
  • Check out the video link below on expressing your pet's anal gland.
  • ALWAYS check with your veterinarian before making any change to your pet's diet or attempting to express your pet's anal gland

PS - I'm told if your pup likes to feast on his own poop, pumpkin tastes great going down the first time but is nasty recycled!