As a popular addition to the doorstep at Halloween, pumpkins, which belong to the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family may be eaten by pets. Fruits of these plants can contain extremely bitter-tasting compounds, but they have been bred out of crop varieties. Generally, if the pumpkin is shop-bought it is not bitter tasting. Accidental ingestion of non-bitter plant material may cause a mild gastrointestinal upset in non-herbivores.
Ingestion of bitter roots or fruits can cause significant gastrointestinal signs with severe abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea (may be haemorrhagic), vomiting and collapse.
In the cases reported to us, where follow up information is known, dogs ingesting pumpkin material remained asymptomatic, or had mild signs and made a full recovery with supportive care.
International Cat Care have produced a poster on Halloween and Bonfire night hazards which can be downloaded from their website.