With Halloween fast approaching the air is starting to become crisp, leaves are beginning to change, and our taste buds are starting to crave the foods associated with fall. Grocery stores are replacing melons and berries with seasonal favorites such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and apples. Now that baking season upon us, consider making one of the following treats for your dog (or the pups that come to your door on Halloween night!)
Baked Sweet Potato Bites
Sweet potato is a great food for dogs, especially those that are overweight or that suffer from gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea or constipation. This high-fiber treat is low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins C and B6, as well as manganese. One of the simplest ways to prepare sweet potato is to place thin slices on a baking sheet tossed with coconut oil (a great source of healthy fat that keeps skin and coat shiny and acts as a natural pain reliever for joints), and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 400o F (200o C). For extra flavor and nutritive value, sprinkle cinnamon on the sweet potato slices before baking.
Apple Oatmeal Balls
One of the best parts about fall is going apple picking – especially with your pup! This easy treat recipe is high in fiber and flavor, and is a perfect substitute for processed treats, without being time consuming or difficult to make. Simply preheat the oven to 350o F (175o C) and combine 1.5 cups of rolled oats, 1 – 2 chopped apples, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon honey, ½ cup whole wheat all-purpose flour, and ¼ cup water. Roll the dough into small balls, place them on a wax paper-lined baking tray, and bake for 30 minutes. For dogs on wheat-free diets, any alternative flours (such as brown rice flour, quinoa flour or amaranth flour) can be substituted instead.
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bars
Halloween means pumpkins, and what dog can resist a peanut butter and pumpkin combination? Pumpkin is a superfood for dogs thanks to its high fiber and low calorie content, and has been shown to support urinary health, digestion, weight loss, and natural anal gland expression. Simply preheat the oven to 350o F (175o C), then whisk together 2.5 cups whole wheat flour, 2 eggs, ½ cup canned pumpkin (make sure the pumpkin is plain and unsweetened, not pumpkin pie filling), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon. As you mix the ingredients add water as needed in order to work with the dough more easily, but bear in mind that the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough until it is approximately 1.5 cm thick, and use a dog bone cookie cutter to create treat-sized cut outs. Alternatively, the dough can be cut into bars approximately 2 – 3 cm long. Place the cut outs or bars on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Recipe makes approximately 25 treats.