Peanut Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Dog Treats
It’s a hard-knock life for pugs.
Just ask our smoosh-faced, too-clever-by-half dog, Gizmo. He leads a harsh and loveless existence under our roof, or so he would lead you to believe with sorrowful, begging moon-eyes. Poor, beleaguered thing has to wait until 3 pm every day for second meal. 3 p.m.!!! Even as the humans gorge themselves thrice daily, Gizmo must endure, starving. He’s not allowed to bark incessantly at the tweeting birds all day for our own protection! and he even has to walk HIMSELF to bed at night *some nights* rather than being carried by human chauffeur as he prefers.
There are times when these cruelties weigh heavy on my soul.
To make up for a lifetime of hardships, I like to whip up a batch of home-cooked peanut butter pumpkin oatmeal dog treats made with real, human-grade, recognizable ingredients to buy his love back.
Gizmo loves a little lip smacking reduced or no sodium peanut butter (you don’t have to get it from Whole Foods, but THEY’LL KNOW). I love that there are nutritious oats and whole wheat, and coconut oil is good for doggies skin and fur. Local honey helps with allergies, and fresh parsley alleviates bad breath (hopefully it counteracts the peanut butter). Health benefits aside, I just like knowing exactly what went in the treats I’m feeding my furry family member, and that they are safe for the crown prince to eat
WHY SHOULD HUMANS GET ALL THE PUMPKIN TREATS THIS FALL?
My peanut butter jar was running a little short the day I needed absolution, so I had to improvise. Pumpkin is a classic dog-food add-in, rich in fiber and good for digestion. Also, seasonally appropriate? Pugs appreciate attention to seasonality, I’m sure of it.
Don’t tell Gizmo, but sometimes I make dog treats just because I’m in the mood to bake but don’t want/need any more cake or cookie guilt. They are basically foolproof, the process is therapeutic and the furry recipients are always so grateful! It’s very satisfying to have someone nearly bite food out of your hand with wild-eyed anticipation.
The dough makes a huge batch of treats, depending on how you slice them, but for Gizmo it probably made around 50 2-inch cookie cutter hearts. This is a great training recipe or activity for small children they can measure without too much attention to accuracy and knead with their hands, cut out shapes with cookie cutters and even eat the dough without fear of salmonella! If I’’m feeling ambitious, I like to cut the dough into cute treat shapes using small cookie cutters (you can find the heart and bone-shaped ones I used at Sur la Table for relatively cheap). To save time and effort, though, you can easily just roll the dough out and slice into squares or rectangles.
Gizmo would still eat them, albeit begrudgingly.
If you are particularly finicky, like me, and want to make sure the treats are all of a perfectly even thickness, you will need two skewers (small wooden dowels or even chopsticks will work, too, if you avoid the tapered ends). Line them up beneath your rolling pin to where they are an inch or so inside the ends of the pin. Then, place a portion of dough between the skewers and start rolling. The idea is that when the rolling pin has thinned the dough enough, it will use the skewers as a thickness guide for the final few rolls. You may have to readjust the skewers from time to time to keep them from slipping out from under the pin, but this is a great method for rolling out shortbreads, sugar cookies, crackers, graham crackers, or any dough that benefits from a uniform thickness.
After a quick bout in the oven, you have a huge batch of healthy treats you can feel good about feeding your pet. Just the thing to bring you back into your dog’s good graces!
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (preferably organic, low or no salt added)
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (regular or whole wheat flour will substitute fine)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or grease a large sheet pan (if you have two pans, double the pans together as these can be prone to burning on the bottom - if you don't have two pans, like me, just watch them carefully during baking.
- Mix together the peanut butter, pumpkin, coconut oil and honey in a large mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, knead with a heavy duty spatula or your hands until thoroughly mixed. If the mixture is too crumbly and dry to be fully incorporated, add a few splashes of cold water just until the dough comes together.
- Form into a ball, then flatten into a disk 1- 1/2 inch thick. Roll out dough, eyeballing to about ¼” thick. HIGH MAINTENANCE DETOUR: To get the thickness perfect, get two chopsticks or wooden skewers. Using your rolling pin as a guide, position each stick or skewer half an inch inside the width of your rolling pin, so that you can lay your rolling pin on top of the two sticks. Place a portion of flattened dough in between the sticks, then roll the pin on top of the sticks - the pin will evenly flatten the dough to just the height of the sticks you use. Repeat until dough is completely used.
- Using a knife, slice the flattened dough into rectangles, squares or triangles, or use cookie cutters to cut out shapes (I like to use a small heart or bone shaped cookie cutter available at Sur la Table for pretty cheap). You may have to cook more than one batch depending on the size of your treats!
- If you use cookie cutters, you can ball up the scraps, reflatten and recut until all the dough is gone.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, checking periodically beginning at 15 minutes to watch for browning on the bottom.
- Ask Fido if he wants a treat. (He will.)