It is October and definitely pumpkin season! The time when everyone focuses on pumpkin flavored treats, and while there are many people foods that you should not share with your pooch, pumpkin is not one of them. Pumpkin is high in fiber, low in fat and cholesterol, and loaded with beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamins A and C. All those nutrients sound impressive, and they are all good for both two-legs and four-legs.

Veterinarians have long known the benefits of adding a little canned pumpkin to a pet’s diet regularly. The fiber in canned pumpkin (PLAIN pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie mix) is a great source of fiber and helps with digestive regularity. If your dogs are experiencing constipation or diarrhea, mix a tablespoon of pumpkin straight from the can into their normal food. Not only will they love the taste, but it may also ease stomach issues. There is some evidence that the nutritional benefits of pumpkin mean healthier skin, healthier eyes, a healthier coat, and a healthier immune system…not too shabby for a treat that almost all dogs like. “As with any remedy,” says Tony Buffinton, DVM, “I recommend consulting with your veterinarian about the amount and the frequency, and following up if you don’t see a problem resolve.”

Interested in trying a healthy, homemade pumpkin treat for your dog? Here are a few easy recipes :

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter/Pumpkin Treats

  • ½ cup peanut butter (check to make sure the peanut butter does not contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs)
  • 1 cup canned plain pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 1 ¾ cups wheat flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together and drop by small spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 8-l0 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months

Yummy Punkin Biscuits

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk
  • 2 ½ cups flour ( brown rice flour gives the biscuits a crunch but wheat flour is okay)
  • Water as needed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix ingredients together. It is easiest to mix with your hands, adding enough water as needed to make the dough somewhat workable.
  3. Drop by small spoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet. If desired, press fork pattern on biscuits before baking, a quick up-and-down movement with fork.
  4. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, and bake 15-20 more minutes.

Honey-Pumpkin Bites

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain canned pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 ½ cups wheat flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix and knead with your hands. Dough should be workable, not too sticky, but not dry and stiff. Add a few drops of water if needed.
  2. Pinch off bite sized pieces and place on lightly greased cookie sheet for about 15 minutes until golden brown. If they get too brown, it’s okay…they will just be crunchier…if they are soft, they will be chewier. Dogs love them any way they turn out!

The best way to store leftover canned pumpkin is in the freezer since it will only last a short time in the refrigerator. Scoop your canned pumpkin into an ice cube tray that has been sprayed with a cooking spray, freeze and, when frozen solid, pop into a freezer bag. Thaw one out when you need it, stir to blend any separation of water, and mix into your dog’s next meal.