We all want what’s best for our dogs, and it’s nice to be able to give them a treat – whether we’re actively training them or just giving them a little reward for being fabulous. But the vast majority of treats you buy from the store are seriously full of nasties. Filled with oil, “meat and animal derivatives” (which essentially means all the garbage that’s no good for anything else), chemicals, and synthetic flavorings. Yuk. Do you really want to put that inside your dog??
Why Pumpkin and peanut butter? Well, aside from the fact that your dog will go crazy for their scrumptiousness, these treats are pretty good for your pooch, too. Pumpkin is high in fiber but low in calories, making them useful for maintaining healthy anal glands and nice, firm poops. Peanut butter, providing it doesn’t contain xylitol, and preferably without palm oil, makes a healthy addition of protein. Yes, peanut butter is fatty, but a high quality brand without added oil, or that uses peanut oil, isn’t too bad. You can also make your own incredibly easily without adding oil or lots of sugar. Most dogs adore peanut butter, so a fairly small quantity makes a fab addition to this natural dog treat recipe.
We use rice flour as it’s far better for dogs than wheat. Rice flour is easier to digest and doesn’t encourage bulking and weight gain, unlike wheat. Bran, or natural, unprocessed bran flakes, make a great source of fiber for dogs and help to maintain healthy bowel movements and anal glands. You can use oats, but use fewer as they are high in calories.
1 15-oz can of pure, natural pumpkin puree with no nasty additives. (You can also cook and puree your own pumpkin without much hassle).
2 cups of organic rice flour
1 cup of bran (or crushed organic bran flakes with no additives)
3 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (a reputable brand that only contains peanuts – no palm oil, refined sugar, or xylitol) – even better – make your own peanut butter – it’s so easy.
- Pre-heat the oven to 370F (190C). Line a cookie sheet with baking parchment and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Empty all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the mixture forms a dough. If you find it’s a bit too dry, add a splash of runny honey or goat’s milk. If the mixture is a bit on the wet side, add a sprinkling of extra bran or flour.
- Because we’ve got a small dog, we roll the dough into small balls roughly the size of large peas. However, we’ve also rolled the dough out and used fun cookie cutters, like these fab bone-shaped ones. If you go with cookie cutters, although the treats are hard after cooking, you can break them, so they still work for smaller dogs. So, go with whatever method you choose and morph your dough into treat shapes.
- Lay them on your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for roughly 10 minutes. If you’ve gone for cookies instead of teeny tiny balls, you may need to let them cook for a few minutes longer. Once the dog treats are a rich, golden orange and are firm to the touch, turn off the oven and crack the door open, but leave the treats inside to cool. This adds extra crispness.
- And… voila! Stacks of fabulously tasty, extra healthy dog treats flavored with pumpkin and peanut butter.
- Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. We usually keep these treats for around 10 days.
- Now, because this dough makes so many treats, we use roughly a quarter at a time. So divide the mixture into batches. Place each batch in a sandwich bag or wrap in baking parchment and place in a suitable container, and freeze. This homemade dog treat mixture will last around 6 months in the freezer, although to be honest, if your dogs love them as much as ours, there’s no way that mixture will still be in the freezer in 6 months time!
We’ll be adding plenty more natural dog treat recipes you can easily make at home, so check back often!
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