Monday, 2 October 2017
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{RECIPE} Pumpkin (Puppy Pupkin) Spice Dog Treats

Homemade pumpkin dog treats shaped like autumn leaves on a plaid table with drawstring treat bag, leaves, and spices

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 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

🥄 Treat Ingredients:

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

🥄 Making the Treats: 

Preheat your oven to 180C (or local equivalent) and gather together your baking ingredients and materials.

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.   Rest dough (optional).

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 again, I would probably include a few tablespoons of low fat milk powder (pupkin spice latte cookies, anyone?). Alternatively (or with the milk powder), I might use another binding helper, like gelatin powder or ground flax. The dough was nice and baked well, but soft baby food doughs (and many other low-fat and/or gluten free doggy doughs) can benefit from extra binding for handling and texture after baking. See our intro to baking homemade dog treats for more on this and other handy hints.

Step-by-step making pumpkin spice dog treats shaped like autumn leaves

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 the pumpkin baby food I used also contained beef. So the dogs are safe from sharing...this time. Hehehe...

Tips and Tricks:
  • Variations in measurements, individual ingredient types, and options/substitutions as well as variations in egg size, temperatures, etc. are all  part of why we work incrementally when mixing. 
  • 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 coloul of treats. 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. 
  • Resting the dough is optional, but helps with the texture/handling of gluten-free baking dough. I like to rest briefly, then knead a little before final rolling and ensure it is well mixed. 
  • Treats can be broken for smaller dogs, or made bigger/smaller - just keep an eye on your cooking time - the smaller the cookie, the shorter the baking time.
  • For a crunchier treat, you can let baked treats sit a while in the cooling oven before removing to get a little crispier or pop the baked treats into a dehydrator.
  • These treats can be frozen for longer storage.

🦴 Hungry for more tasty treats?  You can explore from our treat navigation page, hop straight into our homemade dog treat ideas in the blog archives, search the blog from our sidebar, or use the labels below this post to find other recipes that might be of interest. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas here from treats that we make ourselves for our pets, but different animals will have different preferences (likes/dislikes) and dietary needs. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what's suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.

Homemade pumpkin dog treats shaped like autumn leaves on a plaid table with drawstring treat bag, leaves, and spices


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