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Vet Medical Uses For Canned Pumpkin

Written By DiAnna Pfaff-Martin

Founder of Community Animal Network and the Animal Network of Orange County

My personal experiences managing diarrhea, constipation and upset stomachs in rescue animals by using canned pumpkin has saved the organization money.

PLAIN CANNED PUMPKIN: (not the pie mix with seasoning)

Pumpkin helps soothe irritated bowels related to "dietary food changes or stress" that may be associated with an animal being boarded, pet adoption, or moving an animal into a new home and is an old holistic remedy for treating constipation.


Find plain canned pumpkin (not the pie mix) at the grocery store. The "Libby's brand" is the most recognized. The pumpkin treatment calms diarrhea and soft stools that are related to stress, or digestive upsets due to abrupt food change in animals. A pumpkin "mixture" is "created" with equal parts of canned pet food mixed with equal parts of plain canned pumpkin (not the pie mix) and fed morning and night to the animal until the upset goes away. If the animal refuses the mixture add more canned pet food.


Pumpkin works by getting the digestive system moving thus ridding the stomach acids from the body. It may take several days for the mixture to correct soft and loose stools. 


Bottle fed kittens can benefit from the pumpkin as well. Kitten formula is known to cause bottle babies to become constipated. As a preventative, it is always wise to add a drop or two of Karo syrup (TM) in each bottle. If the Karo syrup (TM) doesn't prevent constipation, add a small portion of plain canned pumpkin to the formula; just enough to add a little color and use in conjunction with a warm mineral water solution anemia administered with a veterinarian's feeding tube, or medicine syringe. (a med syringe does not have a needle)

CAUTION: The pumpkin mixture helps stress related diarrhea and upset tummies due to abrupt dietary food changes.

CAUTION: Animals experiencing diarrhea are at risk of becoming dehydrated and dehydration can cause death, or the need to be hospitalized. "DO NOT" use the pumpkin mixture if an animal is lethargic, has exhibited signs of sickness, fever, or is experiencing teresmus (a purging painful straining bowl movement).

 * Pumpkin is not to take the place of seeing a veterinarian. 


Until a veterinary hospital can be reached use "unflavored" Pedialite administered by mouth in a turkey baster or medicine syringe (ie: a med syringe that does not have a needle)


Pumpkin Seeds

Traditional medicine has used several species of pumpkin seeds for centuries to treat intestinal parasites. The seeds immobilize and aid in the expulsion of intestinal worms and parasites. The seeds of the Cucurbita species are ingested after grinding, or used as a tea. The amount of seeds that are needed to be eaten appears to vary by species, from as few as 50 g to more than 500 g taken in several divided doses. Some cultures suggest eating small amounts of the seeds on a daily basis as a prophylactic against worm infections.

Find More Information


Pumpkin Nutrition

The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health.

Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts

(University Of Illinois)

(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)

Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg

Zinc 1 mg
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg


Pumpkin History

References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." "Pepon" was nasalized by the French into "pompon." The English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion." Shakespeare referred to the "pumpion" in his Merry Wives of Windsor. American colonists changed "pumpion" into "pumpkin." The "pumpkin" is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella.

Native Americans dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. They also roasted long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and ate them. The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.

History of the Jack-o-Lantern

Source: The History Channel

People have been making jack-o-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o’lanterns.


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