If your dog suffers from occasional diarrhea, feeding pumpkin can help firm up his bowel movements. If your dog experiences constant and severe diarrhea, he needs prompt veterinary attention. Severe diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, which is life-threatening. Oddly enough, if your dog has issues with constipation, the opposite of diarrhea, feeding pumpkin works to alleviate that problem.
Pumpkin contains 90 percent water, but it also is high in fiber -- approximately 3 grams per a 1 cup serving. Its fiber content is what helps firm up canine feces. The fiber soaks up water in the bowel, so that feces contain less water. It also slows down gastrointestinal motility, allowing more time for water absorption and producing bulkier stools.
Use the unsweetened variety of canned pumpkin for your dog, not the kind of pumpkin designed especially for making pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie mixes contain sugar, fat and spices. For small dogs, mix 1 tablespoon of the pureed pumpkin into his food daily. For medium and large dogs, mix in 2 tablespoons. If you don't see an improvement in his stools within 24 hours, it's time to call the vet. Even if the pumpkin doesn't help his diarrhea, there are lots of other reasons to include this healthy fruit in your dog's diet.
Other Pumpkin Benefits
Pumpkin contains various carotene, zinc, iron and vitamins A and C, while the seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. If you use fresh rather than canned pumpkin, just give your dog a few seeds daily, fed one at a time. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. Pumpkin contains more potassium than bananas. This necessary electrolyte helps maintain muscular health.
Other Canine Diarrhea Treatments
Pumpkin isn't the only natural canine diarrhea treatment available. If he doesn't care for the taste, ask your vet to recommend a canine probiotic -- containing "good" bacteria -- to aid to your dog's food. While plain yogurt also contains good bacteria, your dog would have to eat a lot of it to receive the benefits. You can also boil up some plain rice or potatoes and mix it into your dog's food to help relieve diarrhea. The carbohydrates in these foods can firm up feces.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.