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               Six Amazing Ways Pumpkin
                        Can Help Your Dog's Health 

​​​Rumor at the dog park is that pumpkin and canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is a wonder food. We know it’s great for humans, but what are the health benefits for dogs and cats when given in small doses?

Diarrhea | Constipation
Pumpkin offers a solution to both! Canned pumpkin is actually pumpkin in a puree form. But, did you know pumpkin is rich in fiber and adding two teaspoons to your dog’s food will aid in digestion?
For the opposite problem pumpkin softens your dog’s stool and can cure an upset stomach or constipation quickly. Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide pet insurance agrees, adding,“Veterinarians have long known the benefits of adding a little canned pumpkin to a pet’s diet regularly.”

Furballs
Who would have thought that a teaspoon of pumpkin a day over time can prevent furballs?
Also, the fiber in the pumpkin can move furballs through a cat’s tummy and into the litter box. Most kitties love pumpkin, but if your cat is finicky mix it with food and watch it disappear— along with furballs.

Urinary Tract Support
The oils that are found in pumpkin seeds and pumpkin flesh support urinary tract health in both dogs and cats. According to veterinarians, adding pumpkin to your pet’s diet can help avoid this painful condition.

Parasites
Pumpkin seeds also contain an amino acid called cucurbitin, which acts as a natural de-worming agent. Tapeworms and intestinal parasites become paralyzed by cucurbitin. The best way to prepare the seeds is to grind up fresh seeds until they are a powder consistency. Mix a teaspoon of powder into a marble size portion of wet food, three times a day. Store leftover seeds in an airtight container to keep fresh.

Skin and Coat
Do you like roasted pumpkin seeds?
Share them with your dog! The antioxidants and essential fatty acids help moisturize your pet’s fur and skin from the inside out. Need a quick recipe?

Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking oil
Roast at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes
Cool and serve.

Allow your pet to eat two-three seeds as a daily treat. Yummy! Leftover seeds should be stored in an airtight container.

Nutrition
Pumpkin, seeds and its flesh are loaded with Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese.  The antioxidants found in pumpkin are known to prevent some cancer and are obviously a healthy addition to a pet’s diet.

Pumpkin is wonderful and oh so tasty. Remember that the amount you add depends on your pet’s size and species (dog or cat). It’s a good idea to reach out to your veterinarian if you have questions about the daily serving amount and frequency. One can of pumpkin contains 29 tablespoons – too much for one or even a two pet family to eat in one week.


Pumpkin Coconut Oil Dog Treats
Makes 10-12 Dog Treats

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree in a bowl, combine melted coconut oil, pumpkin puree, and cinnamon. It may look separated, but keep mixing until smooth. You may need a electric hand mixer to combine smoothly.
Pour mixture into a ice cube tray and freeze until solid. 
Remove from ice cube tray and store in a jar in the refrigerator or freezer for about 1 week. 

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What to Bring for Hiking with Dogs:
Leash and harness or collar – It is a law on most Northwest trails that your dog be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. There are many good reasons for this – from safety to environmental protection – so the rules should always be followed. A collar is good but a harness is even better for hiking because it reduces the stress on your dog’s neck and back.


ID Tags and picture identification – We never want our dogs to get lost but it can happen. If your dog is wearing clear identification, it’s easier for you two to be reunited. A picture of your pooch is worth a thousand words when you are trying to describe them to other hikers too.


Plenty of water and snacks – Bringing water for you is a given but be sure to bring extra for your pooch too so both of you can drink freely. You’ll also want to bring plenty of snacks to keep your dog’s energy up.


Collapsible water bowl  – Carrying a collapsible water dish is a big help when your pup is trying to drink. 


Dog Poop Bags – It’s the right thing to do, and the law in most places, to pick up your dog’s poo and carry it out. Also bring a couple of gallon Ziploc bags to put the full waste bags to help keep the rest of your hike smell free.


Basic first aid kit – It’s always a good idea to carry a first aid kit on your hikes but be sure to throw a couple of dog-specific things in there if you are bringing your dog. Some PawZ booties (affiliate) to help keep a foot bandage dry and clean. 


Camera – Okay, this is more for you than your dog but you’ll want to catch plenty of “cute fido moments” when you are adventuring with your dog. Photos of your dog with an alpine lake or jagged mountain in the background is so much more interesting to show your friends than a picture of your dog passed out on the sofa.