Can Dogs Eat Pumpkins & Sweet Potatoes?

Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
By Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
Updated: 5/15/20242-4 minutes
dog and pumpkins

Yes, dogs can eat sweet potatoes and certain parts of pumpkins as a treat if fed in moderation. After all, when you think of autumn, the foods that come to mind are probably the key ingredients to some of your favorite holiday meals and treats, like pumpkin and sweet potato.  

During any autumn celebration, it’s tempting to share these treats with your dog, but are they safe for them to enjoy? Purina nutritionist, Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS, reveals whether dogs can safely enjoy pumpkins and sweet potatoes this fall.  

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?

Yes. If you’re wondering, “is pumpkin good for dogs?” wonder no more. Dogs can eat pumpkin, but you have to be careful which parts of the pumpkin you’re feeding them. Since some dogs will eat almost anything, don’t be surprised if your dog looks at a pumpkin with a high amount of interest. 

Since small pumpkins and gourds may resemble a toy or ball, dogs may have difficulty resisting picking them up if left within reach, so be cautious. 

Is Canned Pumpkin for Dogs Safe?

Yes. According to Carbo-Johnson, “Raw pumpkin is actually less digestible for your dog. Also,” she adds, “the stem and leaves are covered in prickly hairs that can be harmful if ingested.” 

Pumpkin seeds can make a healthy and tasty treat, too, as they contain nutrients such as antioxidants, which play a role in overall health. Talk to your veterinarian before making any substitutions to their regular treat routine to ensure your dog is still eating a 100 percent nutritionally complete diet. 

Health Benefits of Pumpkins for Dogs:

  • Excellent source of fiber 
  • Features iron, potassium and carotene 
  • Loaded with vitamin A 
  • Supports healthy digestion 
  • Promotes eye health 

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato?

“Yes, sweet potatoes are a great treat for dogs,” explains Carbo-Johnson. “Not only are they low calorie, but they contain fiber and vitamins B6 and C. Additionally, they contain beta-carotene, which contributes to vision and growth. 

“If offering a cooked, mashed sweet potato, be sure not to add any unnecessary flavorings like brown sugar, marshmallows, butter or syrup. Plain, mashed sweet potato is delicious enough,” she says. “Adding extra fat, calories and sugar could cause health concerns.” 

Health Benefits of Sweet Potato for Dogs:

  • Great source of magnesium, iron and potassium 
  • Packed with beta-carotene and other carotenoids  
  • Features vitamins B6, C and D and plenty of antioxidants 
  • Promotes eye health, heart health, nerve health, digestion, healthy bones and teeth, immune function, free radical neutralization and more 

No matter what time of year, every season has its celebrations. Whether it’s knowing holiday safety tips, keeping your dog safe from fireworks or knowing which holiday plants may be poisonous to your dog, a little preparation can ensure a joyful occasion. 

Get more insight, tips and advice about dogs from our experts on our Pet Expertise page. 

Related articles

brown dog eating from a red food bowl
Dog owners may want to change food due to false rumors about food safety, but misinformation may lead to unsafe transitions. Learn when to switch dog food from dog experts.
person and child petting a golden retriever
person holding dog, and eating an ice cream cone
Pet Food Finder App on smart phone with ingredients surrounding it

Find Your Pet’s Perfect Food

Use our Pet Food Finder to get a custom recommendation from Purina Nutritionists.