Why Pumpkin is Good for Dogs and Cats

Top Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Pets

Did you know that cooked pumpkin can actually be good for your Dog and Cat? This remarkable vegetable is a cost effective source of many a good nutrient to help keep your pet in good health and tip top shape.

Weight Loss

Pumpkin is low in calories so if your dog or cat needs to shed a kilo or two, replacing some of your pet’s kibble or canned meal with some cooked, mashed pumpkin. It will fill their tummy without adding to their waistline. Most dogs like the taste of pumpkin so acceptace shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Cats on the other hand, are fussier eaters, so you may need to mix in the small amount of pumpkin with their canned food to avoid them eating around it.

Full of Healthy Goodness

Pumpkin is loaded with essential nutrients such as Vitamins A,C and E as well as the B – complex group – Niacin, Folates, Vitamin B6 Thiamine and pantothenic acid. Its also rich in mineral like Calcium, Phosphorous, Potassium and Copper.

Digestive Upsets

Pumpkin is.a natural source of fibre. Cooked and mashed pumpking with no added salt can help settle down an upset stomach , improve digestion, reduce anal gland problems, prevent hairball build up and help both dogs and cats with constipation and diarrhoea.

Try cooking up a batch of pumpkin puree and freezing in individual portions which you can add to your pet’s meal on a daily basis. A tablespoon or two (depending on your pet’s size) is all you’ll need on a regular basis for maintaining digestive health. There’s no need to add any salt or flavourings as these are both unhealthy additives plus the pumpkin has a natural sweet flavour anyway which most dogs like.

Home Cooked Dog Food? Yes You Can

Home Cooking for Your Dog

Apart from being a fun thing to do, supplementing your dog’s commercially prepared diet with some home cooking can really help keep him in tip top shape.

It never ceases to astound us how many people are too afraid to feed their cat or dog anything other than something that comes in a bag or can.

Now don’t get us wrong here. We’re not saying don’t feed your dog or cat a commercially prepared diet. Dry and canned pet foods are a great staple, given our hectic and time poor lifestyles and there are certainly some quality poducts out there to choose from. However, they are what they are – processed and mass produced.

Imagine feeding your family only processed fare day in day out. You wouldn’t do it would you? Plus, how boring would it be? We’re all encouraged to eat fresh and add variety and when it comes to our pets, don’t forget. they love fresh foods and variety too. So why not try your hand at cooking up some nutritious meals for them when you have the time.

Getting Started

The best place to start is by reading up on ingredients that can be safely included in your pet’s diet because there’s some truth to the fact that some foods that are good for us are not good for them. These include but are not limited to:

  • Onions
  • Garlic – too much
  • Chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteneres such as Xylitol
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Processed smallgoods such as hams, salami etc

Staples such as Rice, Barley and Oats are fine to add to a home cooked casserole as are vegetables such as carrots, peas, pumpkin, celery, beans, zucchini and leafy greens such as spinach, silverbeet and salad greens.

While all vegetables are good for us, there’s some doubt about the suitability of the nightshade variety such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums and the cruciferous group which include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. Some argue that once cooked, vegetables from this group are fine however it’s best to avoid these just to be safe.

You might find that your dog will pick out the bits of the casserole she likes and leave out some of the veggies. This can happen when they’re first introduced to home cooked dinners after being accustomed to dry or canned food. The easiest thing to do is mash them all up before adding to the meat and grain mix.

Don’t forget to include some good quality meat to the mix. Meat is the ideal protein source for dogs and should form the basis of each home prepared meal.

For pets with medical problems which require special diets, always seek the right nutritional advice from your vet before embarking on creating your own special delights for them.

Want to become a Canine Culinary Wiz?

Canine and Feline nutrition is a really hot topic these days so we suggest you do some research of your own (from reputable sites) or check out a bookstore and grab a book or two for ideas to get you started. My personal favourite site for books of course is Amazon because you can often take a peek at the contents and read readers’ reviews.

Don’t be afraid to experiment either. Use recipe ideas and add your own special ingredients or twist to an existing one. Cooking for dogs can be fun and if my own crowd is something to go by – you’ll never be short of volunteer critics eager to try what’s come out of the pot or oven.

If you’re already a seasoned dog food cook, we’d love to hear your ideas and recipes tips.

Please feel free to share them with us and our facebook friends.

Having Trouble Giving Pills to Your Pet?

How to Give Tablets to Pets

If you’re one of those people who cringes when your vet hands over your pet’s medications and says “Make sure Fluffy takes these twice a day for the next 10 days” – then don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Giving tablets to pets is not always an easy thing to do as unlike kids, they’re not exactly open to bribery nor are they easily tricked. But it doesn’t have to be hard. There are many different ways you can get the job done.

But whatever you do, stay calm and make it quick to avoid creating any unecessary stress for your pet.

Dogs

The simplest way to tablet a dog is to hide the pill inside a small piece of food such as a cube of cheese, a chunk of hot dog, cooked chicken or kabana. Most dogs will gulp down a piece of food without chewing so they won’t notice there’s a pill inside. The best time to do this is before a meal, when your dog is hungry. You could also try crushing the tablet and mixing it in with a very small amount of wet or canned food however make sure you use only a small amount to ensure nothing is left behind. Experiment with different foods to see what works for you. Baby food, tinned fish, cream cheese, peanut butter – even butter are all options you can try.

Cats

Cats are a little harder to medicate than dogs because they tend to bite down on each bit of food rather than inhaling it as most dogs do. This means they’re more likely to crunch down on the tablet and spit it out. Try crushing the tablet into a fine powder then mixing it with a small amount of strong smelling favourite cat food. Tuna often works well as it has a strong smell and most cats love tuna.

To increase palatability – try warming the food to bring out the aroma. Both Dogs and cats rely heavily on smell when seeking out food.

If disguising the medication in food doesn’t work then you’ll just have to use the conventional method. This means opening your pet’s mouth, placing the tablet at the back end of the tongue, then closing the mouth and stroking the front of the throat to encourage swallowing.

Rather than using your fingers to place the tablet in the right place, you could try a Pet Piller – a handy little device that helps flick the tablet far enough into the mouth so there’s less chance of your pet spitting it out. (Most vets and pet stores stock this item and it only costs a few dollars)

This method will usually need two people, one to restrain the patient, the other to administer the meds. Cats may need to be wrapped in a towel (bit like a burrito) to avoid being clawed,

Always use the least amount of restraint necessary to do the job.

And after you’re done, reward your pet with lots of TLC to let them know eveything’s O.K and you meant them no harm.