Gourds, pumpkins and squash all come from the Cucurbita family. Carving pumpkins and decorative gourds adorn many households during the fall. Pumpkin and squash varieties can be healthful dietary additions for your pooch, as long as you heed some considerations. Decorative gourds are not toxic to dogs in natural form, but those that have been treated can cause stomach upset.
Pumpkins and squash are good sources of fiber for a dog and can help clear up both diarrhea and constipation. In addition, they provide beta carotene that your dog’s body converts into vitamin A. This conversion to vitamin A is what makes caution necessary. Feeding small amounts of pumpkin or squash -- just a few tablespoons for large dogs -- is beneficial, but larger amounts can cause vitamin A toxicity. In addition, should your dog decide to help himself to your carved pumpkin, there is a risk of mold ingestion. Never serve pumpkin pie filling; canned pumpkin is OK.
While gourds are not for eating, your canine companion doesn't know that and doesn't care. Ingesting an untreated decorative gourd is not going to hurt your dog, but how that gourd was treated before your dog took a bite can make a difference. Many decorative gourds are treated with shellac, glitter or glue that can cause gastrointestinal upset.