Sharing a recipe for making Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats. Additionally, this post discusses grains that you can use in your pumpkin dog biscuits and to dehydrate your treats to keep your homemade dog treats from molding.
During our recent forced ‘staycation,’ I found myself motivated to try to use what we had at home as opposed to having to go to the store when we needed something. I’ve been experimenting with dehydrated dog treats for some time, and these Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats came about as a result of trying to make do with what was in my kitchen! Our Flora dog loves dehydrated sweet potato treats almost as much as raw meat, so I’m always looking for new dried treats for my sweet girl!
Not only did I not have to go to the store and get store-bought goodies or order dog treats for my sweet, sugar-faced Flora, but I was also able to use up some of the assorted flours that I had in my fridge.
are homemade pumpkin treats good for dogs?
We love our furbabies, and their safety is always at the forefront when I think of making a new homemade dog treat recipe. We know our dog loves pumpkin, so a homemade pumpkin treat recipe for dogs would seem to be a great idea, but there are so many things that we eat every day that are not healthy for our furry friends to consume that I always consult a trusted source before proceeding.
In this case, I turned to the American Kennel Club (AKC) for pumpkin guidance. As it turns out, pure pumpkin is a very healthy snack for dogs. It helps their skin and coat, is great for digestion, and can help with diarrhea and constipation. BUT….if you’re buying canned pumpkin, always make sure you use 100% pumpkin puree. NEVER use pumpkin pie mix as the pie mix may contain additives (e.g., added sugar) that are unhealthy for our pups!
what flours can you use?
As it turns out, you can substitute a great many different flours when making dog biscuits.
I’m not going to get into a discussion of whether your dog should be grain-free or not; that’s a discussion for you and your vet. If you want to research grains in dog food, you might find this article from Tufts Veterinary School and this one from a Vet in Chicago of interest. But I’m comfortable feeding Flora treats made with grains as they are a very minor part of her diet, and she has no allergies to any grains.
In fact, according to the Tufts article, “Grains can be important sources of fiber, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients and also serve an important purpose by decreasing the total fat and calories in a diet.”
Substituting different flours will change the texture of your dog treats, but thus far, Flora hasn’t indicated that she can really tell the difference!
Here’s a list of some of the flours that are suitable for dogs, in moderation, of course.
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Garbanzo or Chickpea Flour
- Buckwheat Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Oat Flour
- Brown Rice Flour
- Barley Flour
- Millet Flour
As you substitute flours, you may come across some, like coconut flour, that seem to be moisture sponges. If that’s the case, merely add a little water to get back to a consistency that allows you to roll and cut your dough.
foods that are unsafe for dogs and should not be included in homemade dog treats
These foods can be toxic and unsafe for dogs. Avoid them if you decide to substitute ingredients in these dog treats.
- Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to dogs and can lead to symptoms like increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures or death.
- Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, leading to symptoms like vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy, and decreased appetite.
- Onions and garlic, whether raw, cooked, or powdered, contain compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Symptoms may include weakness, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
- Avocado contains a substance called persin, which can be toxic to dogs in large quantities. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and potential pancreatitis.
- Xylitol is an artificial sweetener commonly found in sugar-free gum, candies, some peanut butter, and baked goods. It can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels. Xylitol ingestion may result in symptoms such as vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure.
- Macadamia nuts can be toxic to dogs and may cause weakness, tremors, vomiting, increased body temperature, and difficulty walking.
- Raw meat and eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli, leading to food poisoning in dogs, just as it can in humans. It’s generally recommended to cook meat and eggs thoroughly before feeding them to your dog.
- Too much salt is dangerous for dogs and can lead to salt toxicosis. Excess spices can upset your dog’s digestive system.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other foods that are unsafe for dogs. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog’s diet.
how to keep dog treats from getting moldy
My first batch of these homemade pumpkin dog treats became moldy before Flora could enjoy them all. When I realized that they were just too moist to be stored at room temperature, I went back to the kitchen and made another batch to figure out how to keep our homemade dog treats from molding. Ultimately, it was simply a matter of rolling the dough thinner and dehydrating them very slowly.
Removing all the moisture resulted in a crispy and dehydrated pumpkin dog treat that has remained stable at room temperature for a month now. That being said, this recipe makes a bunch of these pumpkin dog biscuits. I know these dehydrated treats will last at least a month at a time, but you can also freeze them and just refill her dog treat container when needed.
how to make dehydrated dog treats in the oven without a dehydrator
Dehydrators are wonderful tools and perfect for making your dehydrated dog treats, but they are not necessary. It’s also very easy to make homemade dog treats in the oven, even if it doesn’t have a dehydrated setting.
To dehydrate your dog treats properly in our oven, you need the right combination of three things:
- Temperature less than 160 degrees or as low as you can go – 140 degrees is considered optimum. We want to dry the treats, not overcook them
- Low humidity – leave the oven door cracked to allow the moisture to escape and lower the temperature
- Convection ovens are more efficient at low temperatures – the fan helps circulate the air evenly and encourages moisture to vent. If you don’t have a convection oven/setting, set a fan outside the oven door to create airflow, release moisture, and lower temperatures.
I have read that adding Rosemary Extract and Vitamin E will also extend the shelf life of your dog treats. But not only did I not have these two ingredients sitting around when I was baking, but I’d rather add as few things as possible to these treats. Removing the moisture and making a dehydrated pumpkin dog treat seemed like the easiest and safest route.
When you are dehydrating, just make sure that when the treat is cooled, it is crisp, with no softness or give to it when you try to break it, just like the dog biscuits you get at the store.
for your pup’s treats
- Stainless Steel
- 5 different sizes
- Sturdy and hold their shape
Looking for more dog treat recipes?
I’ve got you covered!
This 3-Ingredient Dog Treats recipe is always one of our most popular posts…Flora gives it a big Paw Up!
If your pups love some cheese, then they will love these Cheddar Cheese Dog Treats.
And these simple, one-ingredient Sweet Potato Dog Chews couldn’t be easier.
Or, you can head over to see all our dog treat recipes in one place!
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or substitute (see list for substitutes)
- 1 can pumpkin (100% pumpkin puree, never pumpkin pie mix)
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 250°F (use convection if you have it)
- Combine all ingredients and mix until the dough has 'play-dough' texture.
- Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/4" thick and either cut into shapes with a knife or with a cookie cutter.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 2 hours to fully dry out. To ensure that the treats are dry enough, break one. If there is any flex or softness to the treat, put them back in the oven. They should be very crisp!
By dehydrating them at 250°, I have not had a problem with these getting moldy at room temperature. But, since this recipe makes so many I freeze at least half of them just to be sure.
Always be sure to use 100% pure pumpkin or pumpkin puree, never pumpkin pie mix as it may contain unhealthy additives
To refer back to this Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treat Recipe, as well as how to keep homemade dog treats from molding, bookmark this page or pin the following image.
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