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It’s Pup-kin Season: The Safest Foods for Dogs in the Fall

A woman in yellow rain boots adjusts the collar on her labrador retriever.

By: Dr. Juli, DVM @itsDrJuli

‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin spice, cozy sweaters, and cooler weather. The fall colors and the crunch of leaves under feet and paws during walks with your favorite pooch let us know that the holiday season is just around the corner. Fall activities, including a pumpkin patch photo shoot, are more festive and fun when including your four-legged family member. Many people can’t resist the temptation of jack-o-lanterns filled with Halloween candy or other fall favorites, like pumpkin pie and candied apples. Sharing some of your human food is a common dog love language for many pet owners, and providing your pooch treats can strengthen your bond. Although it may be hard to resist your pooches longing eyes and wagging tail, sharing treats and sweets with your dog can be dangerous or life-threatening in some cases.

Additionally, too much of a good thing can be dangerous for your pet, so ensure that their treats do not compose more than 10% of their daily intake. 

There are numerous dog-safe fall-themed treats you can share with your furry friend to include in the season’s celebrations, so grab your latte and a pup-a-chino and try one of these fun fall treats for your four-legged sweet. 

Pumpkin for dogs in the fall

Pumpkin: It’s not just for lattes anymore

If your social media feed is full of fall photo shoots of children and pets in pumpkin patches, then you know pumpkin pie season is full force. Pumpkin-flavored everything is the mascot for fall, but it’s not just for people anymore. Pumpkin is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and has numerous health benefits for your pooch. With more than 50% of dogs in the U.S being overweight or obese, pumpkin can also help your dog feel fuller and aid in weight control. Constipated pets or dogs with diarrhea can also benefit from pumpkin’s fiber content which can  promote more regular bowel movements.  If your dog is experiencing the occasional loose stool or constipation, try adding Native Pet’s Pumpkin Powder to their meal. However, ensure to bring your dog for veterinary examination if they are regular experiencing problems with their bowel movements. Additionally, check with your DVM before adding any regular supplements to their diet. Like all treats, moderation is essential, so only feed your dog a small amount to prevent gastrointestinal (GI) distress caused by ingesting too much fiber. Pumpkin also contains Vitamin A, which can be toxic in high amounts. Other rules for feeding your dog pumpkin include:

  • Never feed your dog raw pumpkin, which can be a choking hazard
  • Never feed pumpkin pie filling, which contains sugar and spices that may be dog-toxic
  • Avoid sugar-free plain canned pumpkin, which may include xylitol 
Bone broth for dogs in the fall

No Bones about it: bone broth is a dog's favorite

Making a warm soup to enjoy when temperatures are cooler is another fall tradition many enjoy. However, most soups are too rich and contain pet-toxic ingredients, like onions, making it dangerous to share a bowl with your pup. However, bone broth is a popular nutritious soup that is safe and delicious for two and four-legged family members. Packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, collagen, glycine, and glucosamine; there are numerous whole-body benefits for your pup, including:

  • Digestive health –– Pups with sensitive stomachs can benefit from the nutrients in bone broth, which can soothe an upset stomach and help replace nutrients lost following a diarrhea episode or other gastrointestinal (GI) problems. 
  • Joint health –– One in five dogs experience joint problems in their lifetime. The nutritional properties of bone broth can help support collagen growth, which is a key factor in preventing joint pain. 
  • Hydration –– Like people, your pet's body is composed of mostly water. Even in the fall and winter months, it’s vital to ensure your dog is drinking enough water, especially after long periods of exercise. Bone broth is a delicious way to encourage your pup to drink. It can also be frozen into ice cubes for a fun fall treat. 

Picky pooches can also be encouraged to eat their food by adding bone broth to their meals. Native Pet’s Bone Broth topper is a convenient way to encourage your dog to eat while making mealtime tastier. 

Apples for dogs in the fall

Apples: Crunchy treats for the doggy apple of your eye

Bobbing for apples or indulging in a delicious caramel apple are popular fall activities. You naturally want to include your furry friend in the fun fall activities, but allowing your dog to participate in these activities can be dangerous to their overall health. Dogs who ingest whole apples have an increased risk for intestinal blockage because the core and seeds can be difficult to digest. Caramel or any candy-coated apple contains high amounts of sugar and artificial ingredients which can wreak havoc on your dog’s GI system. However, plain apple slices are perfect for feeding your pup a special fall-themed treat. Apples are rich in antioxidants and can support heart health in people and pets. They are also high in fiber, which can be an excellent choice for senior dogs who need help with regular bowel movements. If your dog is diabetic, overweight, or has other metabolic problems, check with your veterinarian before allowing them to ingest apples.

Carrots for dogs in the fall

Carrots: Orange you glad it’s the perfect fall treat for your pup

The vibrant orange color of carrots makes it the perfect aesthetic addition to any festive fall dish. Carrots are rich in vitamins and minerals and are a low-calorie food enjoyed by people and pets alike. Carrots, especially baby carrots, are also the perfect portable food for you and your dog to enjoy during a hiking trail excursion or on a long car ride.  Additionally, they are one of the safest human foods to feed your pet and one of the most popular treats dog owners provide their four-legged friends from their plates. 

Carrots have numerous benefits and are a great addition to your dog’s oral health routine by helping to remove dental plaque while chewing. However, they have a higher sugar content than other vegetables, so ensure to feed them in small amounts and consult with your veterinarian if your pup is diabetic, obese, has allergies, or has a sensitive stomach.  All carrot parts are dog-friendly, but large amounts of raw carrots can be difficult for your dog to digest. Never feed your dog canned carrots because they can be high in salt, which is dangerous for dogs.  Also, avoid honey carrots or seasoned carrots. 

Cranberries for dogs in the fall

Cranberries: A berry good treat for your dog

The fall season brings marathon cooking sessions as we inch closer to Thanksgiving. All forms of cranberries fill the grocery store shelves and adorn seasonal decor. Cranberries are the perfect berry, packed with sweetness, and contain a lower sugar level than other fruits, making them an ideal treat for you and your pup. They are also nutrient-rich, filled with antioxidants, and naturally occurring proanthocyanidins, which can prevent a buildup of bacteria on the bladder wall. So, if your pup suffers from the occasional urinary tract infection, regularly feeding them a cranberry supplement, like Native Pet’s Bladder chews, may help keep bladder bacteria at bay. Feeding your dog a single, raw, fresh cranberry at a time is the only safe way to offer them this fun fall treat. All forms of cranberry are not created equal, so never feed your dog the following:

  • Canned cranberry sauce or berries 
  • Stuffing, sweats, or any cranberry-flavored food
  • Dried cranberries
  • Seasoned or sugared cranberry
  • Cranberry juice, which may also contain pet-toxic grapes 
  • Large handfuls of cranberries, which can be a choking hazard
Foods to avoid feeding dogs in the fall

Danger zone: fall foods to AVOID feeding your dog

Festive fall dishes, snacks, and treats can be hard to resist for people and pets. However, many popular fall dishes and ingredients can be toxic for pets and/or difficult for them to digest. Always ensure your garbage lid is closed and pet-proofed to prevent your pet from dumpster diving and ingesting dangerous food scraps. Always check this list before feeding your dog any human food, and never feed them the following:


This popular treat, especially dark and baker’s chocolate, contains the stimulants caffeine and theobromine, which can be deadly to dogs. Toxicity signs may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and an elevated heart rate.

Sugar-free foods, treats, and beverages

Xylitol is a common sugar substitute in many sugar-free foods and some peanut butters, so use caution when sharing peanut butter apples with your pooch.  Small amounts can cause liver failure, seizures, and death in some cases. 

Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks

Members of the Allium family are used to flavor many fall dishes. Dogs who ingest even small amounts are at risk for life-threatening anemia and red blood cell breakdown.

Raisins and grapes

Just three to four raisins or grapes can be toxic to some dogs and cause kidney damage. Signs can occur up to two hours after ingestion, including GI problems, excess urination, lethargy, and tremors.

Sharing special pet-safe fall snacks with your special pup is a great way to celebrate the season and bond with your pet. Check out the Native Pet blog for pet-safe recipes and health and wellness tips for your dog. 

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