When the temperatures start falling, and the leaves begin dropping, all thoughts turn to fall—and pumpkin bread! It’s a fitting treat that celebrates the season. Of course, it’s understandable that you’d like to enjoy this tasty dessert with your best friend. That may leave you wondering, can dogs eat pumpkin bread?
The short answer is that it’s probably not a good idea for several reasons.
Much of it has to do with the ingredients. Many are problematic if you’re going by a recipe you’d prepare for you and your family. Spoiler alert: Pumpkin isn’t the issue. Let’s explore what raises the red flags on this otherwise delicious seasonal favorite...
Typical Ingredients in Pumpkin Bread
We’ll begin with a basic recipe for pumpkin bread to help us hone in on what may be harmful to your pet. Most are the expected ones you’d find with any bread recipe. Many also show up in dog biscuits and other treats.
Pumpkin bread, like other similar recipes, contains a lot of carbs. That’s not necessarily a problem in itself since your dog’s body needs these macronutrients to supply energy to his muscles and brain. Even though the latter makes up a small portion of your pet’s weight, it still uses up a lot of the energy your pup ingests. Low-carb diets aren’t a healthy choice for any pet.
The same caution applies to grain-free foods. The gluten in pumpkin bread from the flour is a healthy addition to your dog’s diet. It provides bulk that can reduce cholesterol and triglycerides that are beneficial for heart health. It can also leave your pet feel sated for longer to help prevent obesity. All are strong points in favor of giving your pup pumpkin bread.
Unfortunately, there are also ingredients that cross the line. While they may offer health benefits to humans, they don’t necessarily translate to canines. As you’ll see, that’s definitely the case, even though we share 84 percent of our DNA with dogs. That doesn’t mean that we can both eat the same things. Can we say chocolate or raisins?
The ones that concern us include:
We’ll be the first to admit that we love cinnamon. While it has some purported health benefits, there are also health risks, even for people. But everything in moderation, as Oscar Wilde once said. That holds true for your pup. Large amounts can cause digestive issues if too much is ingested or respiratory problems if your dog inhales it.
The hits keep coming with the pumpkin pie ingredients. Nutmeg is also a red flag for the same reasons as cinnamon. It can even cause hallucinations, incoordination, and heart issues in some pets. Those are reasons enough to take pumpkin pie off your pup’s menu. But, wait, there’s more!
Honey presents other problems because of its effects on your dog’s blood sugar levels. It’s easily digestible, but it can also cause spikes in glucose. That makes it a no-no for diabetic pets. Our example recipe had ½ cup of honey and applesauce, which increases the sugar content considerably.
Some recipes we saw called for nuts, such as pecans. Unfortunately, that’s a problem too, because it’s potentially toxic to dogs, to say nothing of the choking hazard.
Other Concerns About Pumpkin Bread
We turned to the USDA Food Database to look for other points in the yes and no columns. The first thing that jumped out at us was the calorie count. We’re talking a whopping 302 calories per 100-gram serving.
That calorie count exceeds the entire recommended intake for a 10-pound dog!
That fact is wrong on so many levels. The calories put your pup at risk for obesity, which carries a host of health issues beyond the scope of toxicity. The sugar and fat content are also problematic because they are higher than what your pet should get in a day. While pumpkin bread has some potassium, calcium, and vitamin A, the amounts don’t outweigh the cons to even putting it on the table.
Let’s talk practical matters now. Frankly, making a dog-friendly version of pumpkin bread doesn’t sound tasty to us at all. It takes away all the stuff we love about it! At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, do you really want to encourage your pet to consume this food? We urge you to reconsider encouraging your pup’s sweet tooth. Your dog doesn’t need anything that his regular diet provides.
Alternatives to Pumpkin Bread
We’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the diamond in the rough, namely, pumpkin for your dog. This ingredient is low in fat and sugar. It’s highly nutritious and tops what you’d find in pumpkin bread. It’s also high in fiber and can help your pet through a bout of GI distress while being gentle on his digestive system. The canned variety is the better option over the raw form.
If you want to add this food to your pet’s diet, we suggest starting slow. That’s the same advice we’d give you with any new food. The concern rests with making sure your pup can handle it in small doses before you offer your pooch significant portions of pumpkin. Food allergies to plant-based foods are rare compared to animal-based proteins. Nevertheless, going slow is still the best approach.
But if you really want to give your dog a taste of the real thing, The Food Network has a great recipe for dog-friendly pumpkin bread.
We love pumpkin bread. It’s a hallmark of the season. It’s one of those foods we don’t think about during other times of the year. That’s one reason why we want to enjoy it with our dogs. Unfortunately, there are too many things about it that make it inappropriate for your pup. Ingredients in many recipes represent serious health threats to your pooch. We suggest that you don’t feed it to your dog.