Utilizing Your Garden Surplus: Homemade Dog Treats

Utilizing Your Garden Surplus: Homemade Dog Treats

If you have a thriving garden, chances are you're currently facing an abundance of squashes and pumpkin and you're wondering what to do with them all. While these bounties make for delightful fall decorations and delicious meals for humans, why not share the wealth with your furry friend?

Homemade dog treats are an excellent way to make the most of your garden surplus and provide your dog with healthy, tasty snacks. And if you don't have a dog but have an abundance of squash, dog treats can be the perfect gift for friends who do, especially during the holiday season or just 'because'.

Homemade dog treats are:

  1. Budget-Friendly: Homemade dog treats are cost-effective. You can create tasty, healthy snacks for your dog without breaking the bank or having to go shopping ahead of time for little heard of expensive ingredients that go into the treats. 

  2. Use Up Surplus Produce: If your garden or cold room is overflowing with squashes and pumpkins, making dog treats is a smart way to utilize these healthy vegetables.

  3. Control Over Ingredients: When you make your dog's treats, you have full control over the ingredients, ensuring they are of the highest quality. This knowledge allows you to make treats tailored to your dog's dietary needs.

  4. Customizable: You can create treats in various shapes and sizes to suit your dog's preferences and size. Make them as small or as large as you'd like.

  5. Appreciated by Dogs: Homemade dog treats are sure to be a guaranteed hit with your canine companion. Your furry friend will appreciate the love and effort you put into making delicious snacks.

When making homemade dog treats, consider the ingredients and their potential benefits for your dog's health.

Common Ingredients

Squash & Pumpkin

According to the American Kennel Club, "Dr. Klein explains that the best types of squash to feed your dog are butternut squash, pumpkin, zucchini, and acorn squash. In particular, zucchini is the squash most easily digested by dogs." Be sure to remove seeds, skin and rind. And do not use pumpkin pie filling in lieu of pureed pumpkin.

Squash and pumpkin can both provide some benefits to dogs when included in their diet in moderation. However, it's important to note that while they are generally safe and nutritious for dogs, too much of either can lead to digestive issues due to their high fiber content.

Health Benefits

Here are some of the potential benefits of squash and pumpkin for dogs:

  1. Digestive Health: Both squash and pumpkin are high in fiber, which can help regulate a dog's digestive system. They can be particularly useful in managing diarrhea or constipation.

  2. Weight Management: These vegetables are relatively low in calories, making them a good choice for dogs that need to lose or maintain their weight.

  3. Vitamins and Minerals: Squash and pumpkin contain various vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, which can contribute to overall canine health and a healthy coat.

  4. Hydration: Both squash and pumpkin have a high water content, which can help keep your dog hydrated, especially when fed in their natural, unprocessed form.

  5. Antioxidants: These vegetables contain antioxidants that can help combat free radicals and support your dog's immune system.

While there are some similarities in the benefits of squash and pumpkin for dogs, there are also differences in their nutritional content. For instance, pumpkin is particularly rich in beta-carotene, which can support eye health, while some types of squash may have different nutrient profiles.

It's essential to prepare squash and pumpkin for your dog without added sugars, salt, or spices. Avoid feeding them canned pumpkin pie filling, as it often contains added ingredients that are not suitable for dogs.

Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing new foods into your dog's diet, as individual dietary needs can vary based on your dog's age, size, and any specific health conditions they may have. Your vet can provide guidance on the appropriate amounts and preparation methods for including these vegetables in your dog's diet.

Additional Ingredients & Benefits

  • Flax: Good for skin and coat health.
  • Apple: Rich in fiber, Vitamins A and C, and helps freshen your dog's breath.
  • Unsweetened Apple Sauce: Promotes dental health and fresher breath.
  • Natural Peanut Butter: A great source of protein and healthy fats.
  • Dried Parsley: Helps maintain fresh breath.
  • Whole Wheat Flour: Rich in nutrients like fiber, protein, and antioxidants.
  • Eggs: Add protein, vitamins, and fatty acids to your dog's diet.
  • Cinnamon: Safe for dogs, provides a delightful flavor, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and better heart health.
  • Sweet Potatoes: A great source of vitamins and fiber.

Note: When using peanut butter, be cautious about the type you use. Always avoid peanut butter high in salt and sugar, and it should not contain artificial sweeteners. Xylitol, a dangerous artificial sweetener for dogs, might be listed as birch sugar or E967. If you're unsure, it's best to avoid it.

How We Picked These Recipes

We selected these dog treat recipes based on a combination of factors that make them suitable for sharing and preparing at home:

  1. Primary Ingredient is Squash or Pumpkin 

  2. Ease of Preparation: The selected recipes are relatively simple and do not require complex cooking techniques or specialized equipment.

  3. Well-Known Sources: We chose recipes from well-known and reputable sources like the American Kennel Club (AKC), The Kitchn, The Dog Bakery, All Recipes and Care.com. These sources are trusted in the pet care and culinary communities, providing confidence in the reliability and safety of the recipes.

  4. Healthy Common Ingredients: Each recipe incorporates wholesome, nutritious ingredients that offer health benefits for dogs. Plus we selected recipes that utilize common ingredients that you likely have on hand and don't have to go to the grocery store for ahead of time. 

  5. Tried-and-Tested Recipes: These recipes have been tried and tested by pet owners and have received positive feedback, making them more likely to yield delicious and well-received treats for dogs.

By considering these factors, we aimed to provide a well-rounded selection of dog treat recipes that can be easily prepared by a wide audience of pet owners. 

Dog Treat Recipes

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Treats

Photo Credit: All Recipes, Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  • Ingredients: whole wheat flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, cinnamon, water
  • Source: AllRecipes.com
  • Recipe Link

For more pumpkin recipes, including how to make pumpkin puree for dogs, check out this article from The Dog Bakery, "8 Ways To Sneak Pumpkin Into Your Dog's Diet".

    Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies

    Photo Credit: Doggy Dessert Chef

    • Ingredients: zucchini, peanut butter, cinnamon, whole wheat flour
    • Source: Doggy Dessert Chef
    • Recipe Link

    Another idea:

    If your dog enjoys zucchini and you have a dehydrator, you can simply slice and dehydrate and serve as is.

    Spinach and Zucchini Dog Treat Recipe

    Photo Credit: Pet Guide, Pinterest

    • Ingredients: Zucchini, spinach, carrot, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, eggs, rolled oats, whole wheat flour
    • Source: Pet Guide
    • Recipe Link

    Maple Cinnamon Squash Dog Treat Recipe

    Photo Credit: Doggy Dessert Chef

    Ingredients: Butternut squash, maple syrup, cinnamon, oat flour

    • Source: Doggy Dessert Chef
    • Doggy Dessert Chef
    • Recipe Link

    Butternut squash can also be dehydrated and served to pets as a healthy treat.

    We couldn't resist including these 2 recipes. Of course, they wouldn't store well and would be a difficult 'gift' to make, but these are sure to be a hit with pups!

    Dog Friendly Popsicles

    Dog Popsicle

    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    • Ingredients: banana, plain yogurt, squash or pumpkin puree
    • Source: American Kennel Club
    • Recipe Link

    The Puppy Pumpkin Puppuccino

    If you frequent Starbucks, then you likely know that they have a secret menu which consists of one item, a Puppuccino.

    Starbucks Puppuccino

    Photo Credit: Starbucks

    This recipe is modeled after their pup apprp\oved recipe.

    • Ingredients: pumpkin puree, vegan or coconut whipped cream, ground cinnamon
    • Source: The Dog Bakery
    • Recipe Link

    Making homemade dog treats using your surplus squashes and pumpkins is not only a budget-friendly and sustainable choice but also a healthy and thoughtful way to show your dog you care. Plus, it's a great holiday gift for your dog-loving friends. With full control over ingredients, your dog will enjoy delicious, nutritious treats, ensuring they stay happy and healthy.

    We hope that this article provides some cooking inspiration. Happy Cooking!

    Earth Smart Solutions offers pet friendly products including a natural Pet Wash and Pet Odour Eliminator. Learn more here.

    We also offer a variety of gardening products to help improve your plant and soil health. Learn more about our Gardening Collection here.


    The Kennel Club, Healthy Treats for Dogs
    American Kennel Club, How to Make Homemade Dog Treats
    AllRecipes.com, Homemade Dog Treats (Peanut Butter and Pumpkin)
    Raising Your Pets Naturally, Dehydrated Butternut Squash Dog Treats


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