My 14-year old mini poodle mix (that's human years) began munching on dropped pumpkin bits that were being "accidentally" flung on the ground by my kiddos.
I wasn't sure if pumpkin was okay for my dog to eat so I jumped on the net and at least my nerves were calmed by finding out that you can use pureed pumpkin in making dog treats.
We carved our pumpkins a few days before Halloween, so I kept the pumpkin guts in a plastic container overnight to make treats the next day.
I have enjoyed making homemade dog treats for many years now - I give them away to friends and family for their furry family members Christmas gifts - and have made them for our own pups throughout the years, when I have had time.
To me they are a labor of love as they can be time consuming, but now that my children are older, they can help and we can make them together for our remaining furry friend in our family.
Read on to make your own pumpkin puree and peanut butter dog treats.
There are many great dog treat recipes here on Instructables, and I found some useful information in How to Make Healthy Homemade Apple Cinnamon Dog Treats by aelbert, that specifically talks about different ingredients in dog treats, including cinnamon and eggs if that is something you may be concerned with in this recipe.
Step 1: Ingredients, Utensils & Tools
Unfortunately, I have not taken the time to measure the weight of each batch to give you an idea of the amount, but what I can tell you is that the smaller batch makes about 30-small bone-shaped treats (2-inches long) or 15-medium bone shaped treats (almost 3-inches long).
- 2 & 1/2-cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup plus 2-tablespoons pumpkin puree (fresh from a large pumpkin or canned)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup plus 1/2-cup pumpkin puree (fresh from three medium or two large pumpkins or canned)
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Utensils & Tools
- large mixing bowl
- small or medium mixing bowl
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- parchment paper
- cookie sheets
- cookie cutters (preferably bone shaped but any could do as dogs aren't picky!)
- airtight container such as zipped plastic bags, plastic containers with lids or mason jars
- Optional embellishments for gift giving such as twine and printed labels (see Step 6)
To Puree Fresh Pumpkin (Step 2)
- fresh pumpkin guts
- food processor or blender
Step 2: Puree Your Pumpkin Guts
We used the pumpkin that we collected from inside our Halloween pumpkins, so we had to puree it first.
We separated out as many seeds as we could from the pumpkin guts. I had my children help me as this step can be time consuming.
Several photos show the thin seeds left in the fresh pumpkin. Those baked right into the dog biscuits unless you pick them out after the pureeing process.
I used my little food processor and pulsed it between chop and grind for almost two minutes, scraping the sides down once.
Step 3: Mix & Knead
Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees.
I mixed the "wet" ingredients first: one cup of fresh pumpkin puree, four eggs, and four tablespoons of peanut butter in one container.
Next I mixed the dry ingredients: 5 cups of whole wheat flour, one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a large bowl.
I mixed the wet ingredients with the dry to make a crumbly dough.
After the dough was thoroughly mixed by hand, I added two tablespoons of the reserved pumpkin puree into the stiff dough to make it more workable.
Once the dough was able to get into a large ball, I moved onto to rolling, cutting and baking.
Step 4: Roll, Cut & Bake
Using your rolling pin and on a flour covered work space (I use wax paper underneath for easy clean-up), roll the dough flat into a minimum of a 1/4-inch thickness. The key for this step is to make all the treats the same thickness, despite the possibly different sizes (length-wise) of treats.
I have various friends who receive these dog biscuits who have dogs larger than mine, so I make larger treats along with my mini poodle sized treats. Again, as long as the thickness of the treats remain mostly consistent, the treats will cook evenly despite the length of the bone cookie cutter (or any cookie cutter for that matter.)
Bake at 350-degrees for twenty (20) to twenty-five (25) minutes.
The keys to successful and thorough baking is a golden brown underside to the dog treat, and hardened all the way through when cooled. There should not be a soft center to any of the treats as that indicates that the dog treat was not baked all the way. It's not bad, it's just that there's more of a chance that the treat will grow mold if it's not cooked all the way through.
Step 5: Give, Store And/or Gift
I store mine in zipped plastic bags and gift some of the treats in recycled mason jars or other glass jars with sealed lids. I decorated one of the jars with some baker's twine, as shown in the Intro of this Instructable.
I have experimented with freezing dog treats and dough (although not exactly this recipe) with success, and would imagine that these treats could be frozen for thawing-out and giving to your pup throughout the year.
However, I do not recommend giving the treats to dogs after three (maybe up to six) months after they were made, as they do not have the preservatives in the biscuits like commercial brands do. (But that's the point!)
If there is any discoloration in the treats at all after sitting in an airtight container for some time, I recommend throwing it out in the garbage.
I included printables for your use in the last step. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Step 6: Recipe Printable & Gift Cards
Please feel free to make the dog treats, give the dog treats out, and even sell the dog treats at craft fairs. PLEASE DO NOT CALL THIS RECIPE YOUR OWN. It's based off of recipe for personal use from here. Thank you for your understanding.
I created a printable (4x6) recipe card for you for the small batch and double batch for your use.
I also created an attached word file to cut out tags for the dog treats if you give them away or sell them. You can use this printable on full sheet sticky paper and make labels, print them on card stock or colored paper and attach it to the gift, stamp it with a cute dog paw stamp, etc., etc.
I hope your furry friend enjoys these treats like mine does!