It's Pumpkin Spice Season
Pumpkin Spice season has arrived. Everywhere we go, we are finding pumpkin spice scented and flavored items, from drinks to candles.We want our animal companions to join in on pumpkin spice season, but is it safe? Should our dogs and cats share in our pumpkin spice fun? The answer is yes and no. While pumpkin is a healthy choice for cats and dogs, several of the other ingredients included in pumpkin spice can be toxic.
Pumpkin is a tasty source of fiber, potassium, zinc, carotenes, and vitamins A and C, so if you are thinking of feeding your animal bits of pumpkin flesh, go right ahead. However, be sure to skip the rind, stem,and leaves, and cook the pumpkin first. If you have some canned pumpkin puree,read the label before serving to ensure that the only ingredient is pumpkin. And don’t overdo it with pumpkin or your risk digestive upset; one or two teaspoons per day for small animals, and one to two tablespoons per day for larger animals is sufficient (pattonvethospital.com).
Avoid the following ingredients common in pumpkin spice: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, sugar, and caffeine. While these ingredients may only be toxic in amounts larger than you’ll find in pumpkin spice products, they can cause all sorts of unpleasant symptoms for your animal so should be avoided. Too much cinnamon can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, lowered blood sugar, and liver problems. Overindulgence of nutmeg can cause hallucinations, increased heart rate, and seizures. Ingesting large doses of ginger can result in upset stomach and lethargy. Both cloves and allspice may result in liver disease in cats. Sugar can lead to stomach upset or pancreatitis, and sugar substitutes, such as xylitol, are toxic to animals. Finally, caffeine can also be toxic to animals and should be avoided (petpoisonhelpline.com).
So, if you want your animal companion to share in the season’s pumpkin craze, do it with pure pumpkin only, and keep the spice for yourself.