Ah, fall. It’s a time for picking apples, wandering pumpkin patches, and spending time with our furry family member. What’s better than a fall day spent either curled up with a good book, a cuddly kitty, and a warm drink or running through a corn maze with your pup? One of the best parts about fall is all the pumpkin flavored drinks and pumpkin treats. This fall we’re dishing out some of our favorite leftover pumpkin tips so that you and your furry friend can enjoy the season together!
The first rule of making DIY pumpkin treats for dogs and cats is that leftover pumpkin is not safe for animals. There, all done; end of blog. Just kidding. The reason why you don’t want to give your pet leftover pumpkin a couple of days after you’ve carved your jack-o’-lantern is that pumpkins are prone to rot and mold, and sometimes it can be hard to tell when a carved pumpkin is safe to give to your pets. The best rule of thumb? Don’t hand your jack-o’-lantern off to your pet when Halloween is over.
Now setting aside some of the pumpkin innards while carving your pumpkin of getting a pumpkin of the sole intent of making some yummy treats for your dog or cat is another matter. The best pet-safe sources are fresh or canned pumpkin cooked with no additional spices added. Do not get canned pumpkin designed for use in pie as this frequently contains spices and other ingredients.
When it comes to pumpkin seeds, the answer as to whether or not your dog can have them may surprise you. While it’s true that you can’t feed your dog most seeds, pumpkin seeds can actually be beneficial. Other than being a yummy treat, pumpkin seeds have been shown to help cure parasites in dogs and cats. You can either feed your pet cooked, organic, salt-free pumpkin seeds whole as a treat, or you can grind them up in a coffee grinder and sprinkle them on your pet’s food. The choice is up to you. As always, when contemplating matters concerning your pet’s health, we urge you to speak with your pet’s vet before changing their routine or introducing any new medications. Read on below to see the top benefits of pumpkin and how to make your own DIY pumpkin treats! Want to share your recipe with us? Send us a message or leave a comment down below.
The Benefits Of Pumpkin
Pumpkin flesh is around 90% water, so a little pumpkin topping on a meal can combat dehydration resulting from moisture-deficient processed dry dog and cat foods. An additional benefit is improved digestion from increasing the gastric “juices” essential to proper gastrointestinal health.
Helping with Constipation:
Fiber from pumpkin works in pets the same way it does in humans and can actually treat some gastrointestinal issues. A tablespoon or two of pumpkin can resolve symptoms in a few days if the gut is just a bit “out of order.” Some cats may experience decreased colon activity as they age, resulting in constipation. The added fiber from pumpkin increases the bulk of the stool, and the colon muscles react by moving things along.
By increasing the volume of waste in the intestine, pumpkin can help your cat digest and eliminate fur swallowed during grooming. This can reduce or even prevent the formation of “hairballs” that are eventually regurgitated.
Yes, it works both ways! Pumpkin can soothe constipation, but diarrhea can also be remedied with the addition of pumpkin to a dog or cat’s diet. It is particularly effective if the upset is the result of colitis caused by a rapid food change or the ingestion of a new food. All it takes is a teaspoon for small dog or cat and a tablespoon or two for a medium or large dog of canned pumpkin in the animal’s food.
Boosting Weight Loss:
With 3 grams of fiber per cup, pumpkin can augment weight loss in dogs and cats. The fiber fills the tummy, so your pet feels “fuller” sooner, meaning Pookie eats fewer calories overall.
One of the biggest benefits of pumpkin to pets and humans is its wealth of nutrition. Pumpkins contain carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, Vitamin A (from beta-carotene), iron, folate, magnesium, zinc, selenium, niacin, vitamin E, manganese, copper, and protein. You do not want to overload your pet’s system with these nutrients and trace minerals, however. This is not a case of a little bit being good and a lot being better.
Pumpkin contains antioxidants which help moisturize skin, helping your pet maintain a healthy and shiny coat.
Providing Essential Fatty Acids:
In addition to antioxidants, pumpkin seeds contain essential fatty acids with similar benefits. Pets may consume the seeds raw (if they are fresh) or enjoy the roasted version which stores better. Lightly coat the seeds with cooking oil and roast in a 375-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes for a daily treat your pet will love. Only offer a few seeds at a time to your pet (the fiber can cause a softening of the stool). Store the seeds in an airtight container or freeze them. Don’t forget to roast some extras for yourself! If your pet is small, you can grind up the seeds to ensure they are easier to digest and don’t get caught in the intestine.
Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin, a possible anthelmintic that eliminates tape and roundworms. Additionally, the seeds may inhibit the formation of kidney and bladder stones, and some studies have shown anti-inflammatory properties. The seeds may be ground up and added to food, but again, be conservative.
DIY Pumpkin Dog Treats
Pumpkin Cookie Dog Treats
This recipe came from one of our Petplace.com dog lovers. Judy Russell wrote that it was one of her favorite dog treat recipes. – Thanks, Judy!
- 1-1/2 C. whole wheat flour
- 1/2 C. pumpkin, canned
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 4 Tbs. Crisco
- 1 egg
- 1/2 C. buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
- Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and cut in shortening.
- Beat egg with milk and pumpkin and combine with flour, mixing well.
- Stir until soft dough forms.
- Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Let cool and serve.
Fall Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup water
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Add vegetable oil and mix until crumbly. You can use a mixer or mix by hand.
- Add peanut butter and pumpkin. Mix well.
- Add water and mix until batter forms a dough.
- Roll dough on floured surface until approximately ¼ inch thick. Cut into shapes. A small pumpkin, cat or Halloween cookie cutter shape works great depending on the season!
- Place treats on a cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are dry and firm.
- Turn off oven and leave in the oven for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool.
- Store in a closed cookie tin.