Pumpkin makes a great dog treat. Most dogs love its slightly sweet taste, it’s wonderful for any digestive issues your dog may be experiencing, and, for dog’s watching their waist line, it’s helpful for weight loss as it’s “bulky”—it’s low cal yet makes your dog feel full!
#1 Pumpkin Kong Filler
Mash some cooked pumpkin (baked, boiled or canned puréed. Note: not pumpkin pie filler) with a bit of ripe banana (the perfect use for bananas that are a bit too ripe for your liking!), a spoon of plain, unsweetened yogourt, and/or peanut butter. Spoon the mashed mixture into a Kong or other stuffable toy and give it to your happy dog.
#2 Pumpkin “Ice Cream”
Follow the directions above, but freeze the mashed mixture—before popping it in the freezer, either spoon it into an ice cube tray for small individual servings or stuff into a Kong for a frozen dessert toy your dog will have a blast working away at.
#3 Pumpkin “Latte” For Dogs
Take two tablespoons pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling) and combine with one cup of warm water and a tablespoon of active culture plain yogourt. Mix together and top with a light dusting of cinnamon and serve to your dog! (Don’t use pumpkin pie mix or pumpkin spice—it usually contains nutmeg, which is toxic to dogs.)
#4 Pumpkin Dinner Topper
Start with a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree or a few pieces of baked or boiled pumpkin, mashed, then add any or all of the following: a tablespoon or two of unsweetened active culture plain yogourt, low-sodium beef or chicken broth, and/or a spoon or two of leftover white or brown rice. Mix together, adding a little water if you wish. Keep this mixture in the fridge until mealtime then pour a bit over your dogs’ regular dinner to jazz it up a bit! The dogs adore it. (I like to warm it up a little before spooning it on.)
#5 Simply Baked Pumpkin
Chop a pumpkin into pieces or—much easier—buy a package of pre-peeled and cut pumpkin pieces. Place them on a lightly oiled baking pan and bake at 350° for approximately one hour. If your cooked pumpkin pieces still have the rind, scoop the flesh from the rind once cool and discard the rind. Chop the cooked pumpkin into little cubes, throw them in a Ziplock bag and keep in the fridge or freezer as a little healthy treat for your dog. Or simply add a few cubes, mashed, to your dog’s dinner for a healthy addition that will help him feel full if you’re trying to reduce his dinner portion size in order to drop a few pounds!
*Squash may be substituted for pumpkin in any of the above.