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Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats: A Fall Favorite for Your Furry Friend

Dr. Marty Pets Team
3rd May 2024
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The Joy of Crafting Treats for Your Furry Friend

Imagine the wagging tail and bright eyes of your pup as you pull out a batch of freshly made pumpkin dog treats from the oven. Crafting homemade treats is a heartwarming way to connect with your furry friend, offering them something special that’s been made with love. Plus, nothing beats knowing precisely what goes into your dog’s snacks, so you can ensure they’re getting only the best.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin in Dog Treats

Why Pumpkin is a Great Snack for Dogs

It’s true that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for canine consumption. The good news is, pumpkin IS okay for most dogs. In fact, it also offers many potential benefits.

Pumpkin is packed with fiber, which can aid in your dog's digestion and help keep their poops regular. Not only that, pumpkin is loaded with key nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, and iron, which can support overall health. It’s also low in calories and sodium.1

Digestive Health and Weight Management

Pumpkin is high in fiber content and helps support a smooth and efficient digestive process. You may have even been told by your vet to give your pup pumpkin puree to help combat diarrhea or constipation (yes, it helps both). Fiber helps to keep everything moving, but it also absorbs excess water, which can assist in firming up your dog's stool.2

And, the fiber also acts like a prebiotic, helping to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria to help maintain the balance of the gut microbiota.3

Finally, pumpkin is low-calorie and filling making it wonderful for weight management, as it may help keep your dog feeling full.4

Gathering Your Ingredients and Tools

Simple Ingredients for Wholesome Treats

You only need a few simple ingredients to whip up a batch of wholesome pumpkin dog treats: freshly cooked or canned pumpkin puree (unsweetened and unspiced), coconut flour, peanut butter, and an egg. That's it!

Essential Kitchen Gadgets for Homemade Treat Making

When it comes to treat-making, having the right tools on hand can make the process a whole lot easier, including:

  • A stand or hand mixer for effortless mixing
  • A large, durable mixing bowl
  • Measuring tools to get the proportions just right
  • Cookie cutters in various fun shapes
  • A sheet pan and parchment paper for even baking and easy cleanup
  • A rolling pin to roll your dough to the perfect thickness
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Step-by-Step Recipe for Pumpkin Dog Treats

What You’ll Need

  • 3 cups coconut flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup plain pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, unsweetened and unspiced)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp xylitol-free peanut butter

Preparing Your Pumpkin Puree

For the freshest flavor and most nutrients, nothing beats homemade pumpkin puree. Plus, it makes a great fat substitute when making homemade treats.

Start by selecting a couple of sugar pumpkins—these smaller varieties are sweeter and less stringy than their jack-o-lantern cousins, making them ideal for puree. You can cook the pumpkin in your crockpot, or roast it in the oven until the flesh is tender enough to scoop out and puree.

If you’re tight on time, good quality canned pumpkin (make sure it's 100% pumpkin with no added sugars or spices) is a convenient alternative.

  • Choose sugar pumpkins for the best consistency and taste.
  • Scoop out seeds and stringy parts before cooking.
  • Cook until tender, then puree until smooth.
  • If short on time, canned pumpkin is a quick substitute.
  • Ensure no additives if opting for canned pumpkin.

Step-By-Step Perfect Pumpkin Treats

Once you've prepared your pumpkin puree, the fun begins.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine coconut flour and cinnamon in a bowl, and stir together.
  3. In a second bowl, combine pumpkin puree with eggs and peanut butter, stirring well until combined.
  4. Gradually add coconut flour mix to the wet ingredients until the dough reaches a pliable consistency, much like play-dough.
  5. Next, sprinkle a clean surface with a little extra coconut flour, and roll the dough out to an even thickness.
  6. Use cookie cutters to make shapes.
  7. Place each treat onto your baking sheet, and bake for around 30-35 minutes depending on how crisp you’d like them.
  8. Allow them to cool fully before treating your pup.
  9. Store in an airtight container.

Pro tip: If the dough feels too sticky, just add sprinkles of coconut flour until it rolls out smooth.

Flavor Twists: Adding Variety to Your Dog's Diet

Who doesn't enjoy a little variety in their treats? To mix things up, consider adding:

  • Unsweetened applesauce for moisture and sweetness.
  • Plain yogurt for a probiotic boost and creamy texture.
  • Chopped fresh parsley or mint to naturally freshen breath.
  • Pureed carrots or sweet potatoes for an extra veggie kick.

Storing and Preserving Your Homemade Treats

Shelf Life and Storage Tips

To keep those homemade pumpkin dog treats fresh and tasty, proper storage is key. Once the treats have cooled completely, place them in a quality air-tight container, and store them in your pantry away from moisture if you plan to use them within a few days.

If your home is on the warmer side, you can refrigerate them for up to two weeks to help prevent mold. Let the treats cool completely before storage.

Can You Freeze Pumpkin Dog Treats?

Freezing pumpkin dog treats is a great way to help them last longer while maintaining their nutritional value and taste. Just pop them into a freezer-safe container or zip-lock bag, label them with the date, and stash them in the freezer. They should stay fresh for several months, giving your dog plenty of time to enjoy their treats. When ready to serve, just thaw them at room temperature, or give your dog a crunchy frozen treat—perfect for teething puppies or a refreshing summer snack.

Troubleshooting Common Homemade Treat Hiccups

Chewy vs. Crunchy Preferences

Whether your furry friend prefers their treats with a bit of soft chewiness or they enjoy a satisfying crunch, adjusting the baking time is key. For pups who favor a softer texture — particularly the young, the senior, or those with sensitive teeth — bake the treats for a shorter time. If your dog is all about the crunch, extend the baking time, keeping an eye on them so they don't burn.

Resolving Dough Consistency Issues

Sometimes your dough might be a little too sticky or too crumbly — especially when using grain-free flour. If the dough for your pumpkin treats is sticking to everything, sprinkle in a bit more flour as you knead it. If it's falling apart, a splash of water or another tablespoon of pumpkin puree can bring it back to life. Just add your adjustments gradually.

  • Add flour to reduce stickiness.
  • Add water or pumpkin puree for dry dough.
  • Make small adjustments until the dough consistency is ideal.
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Is pumpkin good for dogs?

Yes, in general pumpkin is very good for dogs. It's a healthy source of fiber, which aids digestion, and it's full of essential nutrients, like vitamins A and C. Pumpkin may be helpful if your dog is experiencing temporary tummy distress, though you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian about this first.5

Is peanut butter good for dogs?

Peanut butter is a favorite treat for many dogs, and it's generally safe (individual allergies aside), as long as it’s natural, unsweetened, and xylitol-free. Xylitol is a common sweetener that is extremely toxic to dogs.6

Peanut butter can be a source of protein and healthy fats, but it should be offered in moderation due to its high-calorie content – especially for dogs dealing with weight management issues. Always check the label when purchasing peanut butter for your dog.

Can dogs eat pumpkin seeds?

Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious for your dog, containing minerals like zinc, magnesium, and copper. However, though technically safe, they can still present a choking hazard – especially in small dogs.7

The best way to add pumpkin seeds to your pup's diet is with Dr. Marty Nature’s Blend Essential Wellness. A complete meal designed to be as close to what your dog would eat in nature. Each batch is made from premium cuts of real meat, veggies, fruit, and seeds — including those super nutritious pumpkin seeds – and then freeze-dried raw for optimal nutrition, convenience, and flavor.

Nature’s Blend also contains zero artificial preservatives, additives, fillers, or synthetic ingredients. And, nothing beats knowing precisely what goes into your dog’s food!