Pumpkin Seeds: Natural Dewormer For Dogs?
A non-toxic alternative to get rid of worms?
If you are looking for a natural dewormer for your dog, you might have come across pumpkin seeds. It’s reported as a way to get rid of worms without the toxic side effects that come with drugs. The problem is if you google it half the articles say it works, and the other half say it’s bogus!
So, are pumpkin seeds an effective natural dewormer?
Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called cucurbitin, the compound responsible for their bitter taste and is the plant's defence against being eaten. It is thought that cucurbitin kills worms and removes them from your dog’s digestive tract.
There have been several studies looking at this. One study showed that pumpkin seeds destroyed canine tapeworm membrane and eggs. Another study shows that cucurbitin kills H. bakeri roundworm larvae. A different study shows that pumpkin seed extract kills Ascaridia galli - another type of roundworm. Finally, a 2019 Saudi Arabian study found that pumpkin seed extract to be more effective that the drug PZQ in mice, with no side effects and toxicity.
Overall the research suggests that pumpkin seeds can be used to kill the following parasites:
So are pumpkin seeds an effective natural dewormer? It seems likely.
The thing to keep in mind is that many of these studies are using a pumpkin seed extract. Your results may vary depending on dose and how much cucurbitin is in the pumpkin seeds you are feeding. Based on the research it seems likely that cucurbitin is an effective natural dewormer, you just need to get enough of it in the diet from pumpkin seeds.
There are other foods which can help to prevent worms in dogs, including apple cider vinegar and parsley. Both of these are in our Whoa Nelly! dog food, so we have you covered. There is a reason why dogs do so well on our food!
Other Health Benefits
There’s more to pumpkin seeds than just being a dewormer. They also have lots of other beneficial properties beyond deworming, so are a good addition in moderation to most dogs diets.
Pumpkin seeds can help your dog to:
How To Feed
When feeding use the raw seeds, not salted or cooked. Make sure you are feeding just the green pumpkin seed, not the kernel which can cause digestive problems. If you can, choose organic.
Pumpkin seeds are mostly fat, so it’s important to store them away from heat. You can put them in your pantry if it’s cool, otherwise store them in your fridge.
There isn’t a definitive dose amount, but most sources suggest feeding around 1/4 teaspoon per 5kg bodyweight. Raw pumpkin seeds can be hard for dogs to digest, so you need to break them down before feeding. Grind the seeds in a spice grinder or blender before feeding - otherwise they will not be digested properly.
What do we do?
At home we use Hartguard during the warmer months (when mosquitoes are around) to kill any heart worm eggs. We do not give Nelly any other drugs. She is extremely healthy and thriving on our diet, which we believe this is the most important thing. Great gut health and immunity take time to build up but are the best defence against most health problems.
Of course, no one can promise that feeding pumpkin seeds will eliminate any possibility of worms in your dog. If you have any concerns it’s always best to talk with your holistic vet.