Reasons You Should Feed Pumpkin to Your Dog

pumpkin for dogsIs there anything that says “Fall” more than a pumpkin patch? Down here in Florida it’s still in the 80’s and the orange pumpkins stick out like a sore thumb next to the lime green palm trees. But we still try to enjoy the Fall spirit, even though we don’t have a change of seasons. 

My whole life I’ve only associated pumpkins with Halloween and my favorite pie after Thanksgiving dinner. But recently I’ve learned that they are so much more than that! They’re a vegetable that some people will roast in the oven with salt and pepper as a side dish, puree as an ingredient for casseroles, and pumpkins even have multiple health and wellness benefits for dogs. 

Weight Management

Does this collar make my neck look fat?

Does this collar make my neck look fat?

There are so many dogs that are overweight. It’s so bad for their health, quality of life, mobility, and shortens their life span. Pumpkin is high in fiber and low in fat, so it’s a great treat for your dog. If your pup likes some flavor added to her dry kibble, try a little spoonful of pumpkin instead of wet food.

Digestive Health

I can tell Zoey has a full, happy belly  when she lays tummy-up!

I can tell Zoey has a full, happy belly when she lays tummy-up!

Is your dog prone to diarrhea or constipation? The fiber in pumpkin is both soluble and insoluble meaning it helps with both types of digestive problems. 

Urinary Health

Jem wasn't sure how she felt about being photographed during private time...

Jem wasn’t sure how she felt about being photographed during private time…

Pumpkin has Vitamin A, potassium, iron, and beta-carotene which support urinary health. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more potassium and fewer calories than a whole banana! 

Immune System Support

The beta-carotene and antioxidants promote a healthy immune system for dogs of all ages.  

Allergy Friendly

Some people might not even realize that their dogs have allergies. They can be brought on by all kinds of food – especially corn, soy, or wheat ingredients. If you dog is itchy, has red skin, or bites at herself, she may have allergies. Pumpkin is great because it isn’t a common allergen. It’s a great substitute ingredient to use as a replacement for ingredients your dog is allergic to. 

It Tickles Dogs’ Taste Buds

Jem LOVES pumpkin! Whether its pureed, cooked, or raw!

Jem LOVES pumpkin! Whether its pureed, cooked, or raw!

Do you have a picky eater? Pumpkin has a wonderful flavor that dogs love. Add it to dry kibble to get her to eat her food. The smooth and creamy texture mixes great with dog food. You can even hide your dog’s medication in a dollop of pumpkin, or show your pup what a good girl she is with yummy homemade pumpkin treats.

When I set up a few pumpkins for Zoey and Jem, I never expected Jem to nab one of the small pumpkins…

IMG_0863Carry it onto the carpeting…

IMG_0638And proceed to gnaw on it like a bone or the best treat she’s ever tasted!

IMG_0692Zoey wasn’t so sure what all the fuss was about… and I couldn’t stop laughing!

IMG_0746As soon as I would take it away from her and put it back in the pile, she would spring up and run over to snatch another one…

IMG_0863She would have eaten them all until they were gone if I let her! 

IMG_0966Was it the flavor?

IMG_1162Or the texture?

IMG_1001Zoey and I will never know…

IMG_1184I had to take them from her before the overdosed. She missed them so much, she figured she would see what the corn was all about…

IMG_1202This really perplexed Zoey and I…

IMG_0942And when that plan failed, she tried her luck at the large pumpkins! They were just a little out of her league…

IMG_1246

Who would have thought that she would love raw pumpkin so much? I thought I could get a couple cute pictures of them posing in front of the pumpkins, but I hadn’t set them down for 2 seconds before my little pumpkin thief swooped in!

Does your dog love pumpkin as much as Jem? Or is she more like Zoey and prefers it cooked into a treat or mixed in with her food? Has pumpkin improved your dogs health in any way?

Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats Are Super Healthy!

Homemade pumpkin dog treats are so healthyToday is our sweet Jem’s 3rd birthday! And for being such a good girl the last 3 years, she’s getting pumpkin cookies today! After all… it’s officially pumpkin season, so the dogs have been asking me where their pumpkin treats are! And in honor of Jem turning 3, these cookies are only 3 simple ingredients! Pumpkin is so healthy for dogs, and they go nuts for the flavor, so these treats are a win-win.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

homemade pumpkin dog treatsI know you’re busy with the day-to-day, and complex dog treat recipes that have a long list of ingredients are just too much to handle sometimes. I like to keep things simple, easy, with as little hassle as possible. If I can make a dog treat in my own kitchen for cheaper and in less time than it takes to drive to the grocery store and back, then it’s a good day! With only 3 ingredients, these cookies are a piece of cake to make, and they’re so healthy for our pups compared to the store-bought mystery meat treats.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 1 Cup canned pumpkin puree 
  • 1 3/4 C brown rice flour (or the flour you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Combine Your Ingredients 

Combine the peanut butter and pumpkin first:

homemade pumpkin dog treatsThen add 1/4 C of flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticky and you’ve added a total of 1 3/4 Cups:

homemade pumpkin dog treatsMy helpers were especially interested in what was going on in the kitchen…

homemade pumpkin dog treatsThis is one of my favorite stages of making the dogs’ treats. They start to hear the noises coming from the kitchen, they smell the ingredients getting mixed together, and before long there’s 2 powerful noses seeing what I’m up to.

homemade pumpkin dog treatsTheir lickers are a great help with the clean up too! Somehow I think they know when I’m making a treat for them, and they can hardly stand to wait! 

homemade pumpkin dog treats

Step 3: Roll & Shape The Dough

IMG_0045If you want these treats to be super quick, then roll pieces of dough into balls and smash them flat on the baking sheet. No need for fancy shapes since the dogs won’t stare at them long enough to notice before chomping away. 

homemade pumpkin dog treats If you’re feeling creative like I am today because it’s Jem’s birthday, then feel free to roll the dough flat about 1/4″ thick and use cookie cutters to create shapes. 

homemade pumpkin dog treatsPlace the treats on a baking sheet, use parchment paper if you wish, and place in the oven.

Step 4: Bake

homemade pumpkin dog treatsBake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let the treats cool completely. You can store these in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and freeze for 3 months. You can also freeze the dough if your pup can’t eat all of these treats in 2 weeks and bake them whenever you have the chance. 

Step 5: Chow Down!

homemade pumpkin dog treatsThe dogs’ favorite part! And I have to say mine too… seeing them enjoy a treat so much that I made for them myself is really rewarding! Happy birthday Jem!

homemade pumpkin dog treats Once again the dogs went crazy over these treats! Zoey couldn’t contain her excitement…

homemade pumpkin dog treats

homemade pumpkin dog treatsZoey likes to enjoy her treats on the rug…

homemade pumpkin dog treatsWhile Jem scarfs them down one after another without wasting any time…

homemade pumpkin dog treats

 

homemade pumpkin dog treats

homemade pumpkin dog treats homemade pumpkin dog treats

Jem truly had a great birthday filled with cookies, licking the baking spoons, and tonight she’ll get a couple bites of steak! It’s a little tradition her daddy started on her 1st birthday. 

How do you celebrate your dog’s birthday? And does your dog love homemade treats as much as Zoey and Jem?