I love to reminisce on the days when I was a kid and would sink my hands into a fresh pumpkin, pull out those pumpkin guts and rip out those seeds to start the carving process of my Jack-O-Lantern. As I would dispose of the flesh and seeds I didn’t realize until my later years how they are the most beneficial part of the pumpkin! I now find myself enjoying the preparation of pumpkin seeds for my dogs a bit more fun than carving the actual pumpkin… but that also could be because I have never been an artist at that.
Springtime is when pumpkins grow best, but it is also the peak season for all of the bugs and pests to come out. Fleas, ticks, and parasites oh my! During Spring, you might come to find little “rice body” looking worms in your pups stool accompanied by scooting, vomiting or diarrhea - but have no fear, pumpkin seeds are now here!
What Are the Deeds of the Seeds?
Colonists did it first. When they first came to the New World and discovered the benefits of this crop, they used it for curing kidney ailments and urinary issues, healing wounds and for parasitic treatment on humans. In most recent years, herbalists have found that pumpkin seeds are an effective agent in deworming for humans and dogs as well. What makes pumpkin seeds successful with deworming is the amino acid they contain called cucurbitin. Cucurbitin is what paralyzes and removes the worms from the digestive tract.
Pumpkin Seeds vs Conventional Dewormers
When you administer conventional deworming treatments, you are playing a part in weakening your dog's’ immune system which then makes him more susceptible to parasites and other pests. The most common ingredient in conventional dewormers is Ivermectin which has harsh side effects, some of which include diarrhea, vomiting, swelling, and muscle pain. In serious cases, there will be use of conventional dewormers. Dr. Chambreau, a homeopathic veterinarian who has used homeopathy since 1983, states “If you have to treat the dog, do it as minimally as possible. If you know exactly what kind of worms the dog has, treat it for that type of worm only. Don’t give a medication that treats hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and roundworms when you have only roundworms. And follow up with herbal and nutritional supplements (ground pumpkin seeds, garlic, grated carrots, turnips, or beets, and bran, as mentioned above) to clear the worms completely from the system and to strengthen the dog’s own defenses against future pests.”
Proper Nutrition is the Best Preventative of Worms!
When you feed your pup a biologically appropriate diet, avoid chemical based flea and tick treatments and antibiotics, vaccinate the least as possible, provide clean water and exercise, your pup’s tolerance for parasites will be very high. Whole Dog Journal says most holistic veterinary practitioners believe that a dog’s ability to withstand parasitic infection is a function of the animal’s overall health, and that tolerance for a low level of parasites is less harmful than toxic dewormers. A healthy gut is a happy gut - the balance of bacteria actually influences the lifespan of worms and other parasites. Pumpkin seeds also provide protein, fiber, magensium, iron, potassium, and zinc which is all essential for your furry friend’s overall health.
How to Feed
I have found that feeding pumpkin seeds ground up is the best and most effective way to feed them. You can certainly feed them whole, but if your dog isn’t a fan, try grinding them up! Avoid buying salted pumpkin seeds if you do not wish to harvest your own seeds from a pumpkin. Buying raw, organic, unsalted pumpkin seeds is your next best option! With my new puppy addition to the family, I just recently harvested a pumpkin for the seeds! I chose to ground mine up - here are the steps!
1. Harvest your seeds from the pumpkin. Remove the seeds from the flesh of the pumpkin, but don’t forget to save the flesh to feed later as there as many benefits of the flesh as well! If you have a smaller dog and don’t want to grind all of the seeds you harvest, you can freeze the rest!
2. Wash your pumpkin seeds so that they are less sticky and have no remaining flesh on them! You do not want your pumpkin seeds to be too sticky, otherwise you will have to pop them in the oven for a bit and let them dry out! I chose to dry mine out a bit so that I didn’t have to worry about them molding.
3. If you choose to dry them a bit in the oven, spread them out on a baking sheet. Pop them in the oven on the lowest heat and on the lowest rack for about 10 minutes. Check on them after 10 minutes and see if they are still a bit sticky and wet. I ended up needing to keep mine in the oven for about 20 minutes!
4. Once dry, you can pour the seeds into a coffee grinder or blender and grind them until they are almost a powder consistency. Again, you can feed them whole, so a super fine powder isn’t necessary, but that just happened to work best for me!
5. Voila! The finished product. Feed ¼ teaspoon of ground pumpkin seeds per 10 pounds of your pup’s body weight. Keeping the ground pumpkin seeds in an airtight container will ensure freshness, so I chose to go with a mason jar. Plus, it looks cute. You can store your container at room temperature or in the refrigerator!
As Blue transitions to her fully raw diet, ground pumpkin seeds and the additions of Real Dog Box treats have helped keep her healthy and happy. She is now free of worms! No need to rush to the vet to buy the conventional, toxic treatments. She actually enjoys the pumpkin seeds ground up, too!