|Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits - recipe in post|
Ever since I was little, I've always had pets. From hamsters, frogs, and lizards (growing up in small house on a busy street) to cats, dogs, horses, and goats (when I moved to the country). Now, when I'm not in the kitchen, I'm a dog-walker / pet-sitter by trade... so I know just how special our four-legged family members can be!
Cody is my mom's dog, and we've had the pleasure of having him as our house guest on multiple occasions. He's been a welcomed friend to have since our old Calvin passed away earlier this year.
There are some foods out there you should never feed to your pet - things like chocolate, coffee, and candy, to name a few - but there are many people foods that can be beneficial for doggy consumption. Just keep in mind that even the best foods can be not-so-good in large amounts, and what's okay for some might no be okay for others. Know your pet, or give them a sample of something, before making any changes to their diet!
Pumpkin (or other squash, sweet potato, or carrots) are known for aiding in digestive health both in humans and dogs. Many pet-owners I know feed baby carrots as treats, or add a scoop of pumpkin puree to their pet's dinners.
We all know dogs adore peanut butter, but it isn't just for taste - a little all-natural peanut butter has lots of healthy fats and proteins, which, you guessed it, are good for dogs just like they are for us.
The other secret ingredient in these biscuits is the brown rice flour. Many dogs are fine to eat wheat, but like humans, there are plenty who have an intolerance for gluten (some minor, some more severe). If you know your pooch is okay with wheat (i.e., doesn't get an upset tummy from a slice of bread) you can feel free to replace the brown rice flour with whole wheat flour in the recipe. If you aren't sure, stick with the brown rice flour - even if your dog isn't sensitive to wheat, rice has been shown to improve digestive health over-all.
That only scratches the surface of foods that can be good for pets (others include flax, honey (in small amounts) and eggs, to name a few). But let me repeat, just like people, all dogs are different - know your pet before introducing them to something new!
This year I'm gifting these treats to all my favorite furry friends for the holidays. And since they're made entirely from natural, healthful ingredients, you know I had to give them a try! They're pretty dry, and a little bland... and not really something I would recommend for your every-day snacking... I can say, however, that they're better than store-bought treats (who knew my childhood days of sampling dog biscuits would pay off?) and to the pups in my life they seem to be just fine - even the picky eaters were pleased with these!
Adapted from Simmer Till Done
Makes approximately 30-40 large, or 60-70 small
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour (can substitute whole wheat flour if you know your dog is okay with wheat)
1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (can substitute mashed sweet potato, thinned down with a little water)
1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter (no sugar added)
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350f.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin puree, and peanut butter until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula or your hands to form a stiff, dry dough. (If the dough is too dry to hold together, add a few drops of water, or a little more pumpkin puree, as needed).
3. Dust your counter or work surface with a little more flour and dump the dough out. Knead the dough into a rough ball, and roll between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Use any cookie cutters you like to make the biscuits. Re-roll and cut any scraps. If you'd like, use the tines of a fork to poke indentations about half-way deep into each biscuit.
4. Place biscuits onto an un-lined baking sheet (they can be spaced as close as you like, since they wont' spread at all) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tray and flip each biscuit over - return to the oven and bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until completely dry. Let cool before treating your pup!