Monday, 2 October 2017

{RECIPE} Pumpkin (Puppy Pupkin) Spice Dog Treats

It is springtime here, but our social media is all a-flutter with our northern pals and their pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. We're big pumpkin fans in any season, and I have to say that these tasty treats smell downright divine.  In honour of our Canadian fur-friends who will be celebrating Thanksgiving next weekend and autumn-loving pups everywhere, here's how we made these all-natural dog-friendly pumpkin (puptastic pupkin!) spice leaf treats.

My pumpkin treats were made with pumpkin baby food instead of puree (see tips and tricks below for substitutions), but these treats can also be made using plain bought or homemade puree.  Since I was using baby food, I went with the option of pumpkin and beef over plain pumpkin to make them extra doggone tempting.  Spices are, of course, always optional and/or quantities can be adjusted to suit your dog's preferences, but they're what makes these pumpkin spice treats. :)

Pumpkin (Pup-kin) Spice Dog Treats

1/2 cup pumpkin baby food or equivalent substitute (single serving jar, measured to 1/2 cup)
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
1 tbsp turmeric (optional)
sprinkle of ground black pepper (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon and/or ginger (optional)
Approximately 1+1/4 cup of brown rice flour or equivalent substitute

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix the pumpkin/baby food, egg, and optional add-ins. Incrementally add flour, mixing into a firm dough. The amount of flour required may vary depending on your individual pumpkin mixture and any optional ingredients, so working the flour in incrementally is important. Missed the mark? No worries! You can add a little bit of water or additional flour to adjust consistency if needed.  Roll on a floured surface and cut, then place on a prepared baking sheet.  Alternatively, the dough can simply be rolled into small balls and flattened gently if you want to skip the rolling/cutting. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Cool before serving and storage.

Note from the kitchen: If I was baking these the next time, I would probably include a few tablespoons of low fat milk powder (pupkin spice latte cookies, anyone?). Adding milk powder to my treat doughs adds extra richness as well as nutritional value to the treat, but I find it also enhances workability and creates a slightly firmer/crisper baked result. Our local grocery store sells powered milk as well as powdered goats milk and powdered coconut milk, which can be used as alternatives to dairy milk. 

To make these as leaf shapes, as shown, you will need leaf cookie cutters, but you can also create your own leaf shapes from round cutters as shown in our naturally green left treats, or cut free-form shapes by hand.  The veins are simply indented onto the leaves after cutting, as shown.  After baking, I dehydrated the treats, but this is optional.  Any baked treat can be left in the cooling oven for a slightly crisper texture or, if you want to get things extra crunchy without overbaking/burning, you can place the baked treats in the dehydrator (fresh from the oven or later) and dry them out.  As a bonus, these made the house smell awesome!  I have not taste tested them myself, but only because I'm a veggie and they contain beef. So the dogs are safe from sharing...this time. ;)

Tips and Tricks:
  • Always check your ingredients to ensure the contents are dog-safe if using baby food. If it is sold in your area, canned pumpkin puree (plain pumpkin, NOT spiced or sweetened pie filling) can be used. It isn't common down here (although goodness knows why!) so I went with a pumpkin and beef baby food instead.  You can also make these with homemade pumpkin puree.  As liquid content will vary, you may need to play around with the flour quantity to get a nice workable consistency.
  • Don't use pre-spiced pumpkin, pumpkin spice mix, or pie for your dogs. Many contain a variety of unhealthy add-ins, but also nutmeg which should not be ingested by dogs as it can be toxic. 
  • Turmeric is a healthy add-in for many dogs (we use it as a supplement for our senior), and has the added bonus of boosting the natural colour. Black pepper aids in absorption of the circuminoids in turmeric.
  • In addition to being doggone delicious and fragrant, cinnamon offers some great health benefits to dogs (and people); however, it's not suitable for everyone. Pregnant/nursing dogs in particular should not be given cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is the recommended variety for dogs, if/when used. 
  • Treats can be broken for smaller dogs (or even for big dogs like mine if you're using a big cutter), made bigger/smaller, or you can substitute simple balls for cut treats - just keep an eye on your cooking time - the smaller the cookie, the shorter the baking time.

Hungry for more tasty treats?  See all of our recipes here. Remember, treats are for spoiling your pup in moderation. Some dogs have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt, have a chat with your vet. 


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