Pumpkin is somewhat of a miracle food for dogs. Its fiber helps soak up liquid when they have diarrhea and softens stools for a smooth exit when they are constipated. A small amount of pumpkin (1 to 4 tablespoons depending on the dog's size) can be given with meals, or you can bake it into tasty, healthy pumpkin dog treats they will love.
Make pumpkin dog treats with healthy ingredients
By making your own pumpkin dog treats, you can control the ingredients that go into them and make sure they are healthy treats that are good for dogs. While it's fine to use what you have on hand, if you need to buy some of the ingredients, you can choose to buy healthier versions, like wheat flour instead of bleached white flour and organic or low-fat peanut butter for pumpkin and peanut butter dog treats. Check that the peanut butter doesn't contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
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When buying canned pumpkin, be sure to buy plain pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which contains sugar that dogs don't need and spices that may upset their tummy. You can also use fresh pumpkin with the seeds removed. Fresh pumpkin contains more water and is thinner than canned pumpkin puree, so each tablespoon of fresh pumpkin contains less of the vitamins A, C, and E plus potassium and iron than canned pumpkin puree contains.
Peanut butter and pumpkin dog treats recipe
Since most dogs love peanut butter, many doggie treat bakers like to use it as the fat in their pumpkin treats. This simple recipe has only three ingredients and comes together quickly.
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (no sugar or spices added)
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (xylitol-free)
- 2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine pumpkin puree and peanut butter in a large bowl and mix well.
- Add flour 1/2 cup at a time. Start mixing slowly to avoid having flour flying out of the bowl. When the flour is fully incorporated, mix well after each addition until the mixture is smooth.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Using any small cookie cutter you'd like, cut out the treats and place them 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet or line the cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Bake 7 minutes and check on the treats. If they do not appear to be done, cook another 2 minutes and check them again. Bake the treats up to 12 minutes total but do not allow them to become too brown on top or burnt on the bottom.
- Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and cool the treats on the tray for 2 minutes. Use a large, metal spatula or pancake turner to remove the treats to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool thoroughly for 20 minutes or more.
Sliced almond butter and pumpkin dog treats
For something different, try this alternative recipe. Although it has more ingredients, there's no need to roll out the dough or use cookie cutters. Dogs don't care whether their treats are shaped like dog bones or pumpkins or if they are sliced rounds.
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Water as needed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix together the pumpkin puree and almond butter in a large bowl.
- Add the lightly beaten eggs and mix thoroughly.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon mixed together.
- Gradually add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the pumpkin mixture, beating well after each addition.
- Add water 1 tablespoon at a time using just enough water for the dough to come together. The dough should be stiff and dry.
- Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick log on waxed paper. Slice the log into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Place the treats 1/2 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake 20 minutes. Check on the treats to be sure they don't burn and continue baking up to 20 minutes longer for 5 minutes at a time until the treats are hard.
- Transfer the treats to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
You can substitute another kind of nut butter, such as peanut or cashew, for the fat in the recipe. You can also substitute coconut flour, oat flour, or other flour of the same consistency as the whole wheat flour as long as the substitutions are safe for dogs. For example, you wouldn't want to use anything made from walnuts or macadamia nuts because they are toxic to dogs.