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Pumpkin is a highly nutritious ingredient in many dog food recipes. It can be eaten raw, as long as it is fresh, cooked, or straight from the can, and it has an incredible number of benefits if eaten in moderation.
Pumpkin is a soluble fibre, meaning it is readily available for the body to use and easily digested. Pumpkin aids the body in the digestion process as it is a prebiotic. This means it enhances the naturally occurring bacteria, known as probiotics, which in turn fight off any harmful bacteria which might have made their way into the guts.
It also benefits digestion through maintaining the correct water balance between the gut and the blood. For example, if the dog has diarrhoea, it will have too much water in the gut, and therefore pumpkin will encourage absorption into the blood. On the contrary, if the dog has constipation, it encourages water to move from the blood into the gut to soften the stools.
It is also packed full of minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin A, E, and C, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
Vitamin A is essential for the health of eyes, skin and immune system. It helps maintain a normal vision, as well as stimulate basal skin cell growth for skin regeneration.
Vitamin E, as well as vitamin A, improve the immune system by acting as anti-oxidants. These helps protect cells around the body from free radicals. As well as this, anti-oxidants play a role in preventing the development of cancers.
Vitamin C is another vitamin with immune boosting properties. As well as also acting as an anti-oxidant, it works with white blood cells to fight diseases more effectively. It also helps to reduce blood pressure which in turn decreases the risk of developing heart diseases.
Potassium is a mineral which is vital for heart, muscle and nerve health. Potassium is used in the process of muscle contraction, and the heart is the most important muscle of all. It keeps the heart beating strongly and in a regular rhythm. It also is involved in the process of nerve conduction, assisting nerves to successfully send signals to the brain and back.
Finally, magnesium is also another important mineral in the body. This helps regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure, as well as develop healthy bones, muscles and DNA.
It is evident that pumpkin, therefore, will complement any dog food recipe, and bring with it a whole plethora of health benefits to create happy, healthy dogs.