The autumn harvest brings images of red and gold leaves falling to the ground, raked into piles and then bounded into by the family dog! You may also think of vine-filled pumpkin patches, tree branches filled with red, gold or green apples and the sweet and spicy aroma of cinnamon. Harvest means to reap, to gather and then store the fruits grown from hard labor, and is hopefully, a time of abundance. Many humans cook vegetables and fruits into sauces or jams and can or dehydrate others to have on hand for the coming cold winter months.
Many of these edibles are equally yummy and good for our dogs to enjoy, but how do you know what your pooch thinks of them? Well, if you dog appears alert, does the doggie head tilt, sniffs, and licks he lips, you can pretty much guess he is eager for a taste. The real test however, is if he gobbles the treats quickly, begging for more! 😊
According to veterinarian and author, Ernie Ward, “Pumpkin is great for dogs. I’m a big believer as it has a nice mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber that can help older dogs with regularity by modulating their microbiomes.6”
Pumpkin also keeps your dog’s eyes healthy, his urinary and digestive systems on track, manages weight and provides hydration, while also being an awesome immune system booster. When using pumpkin in a recipe for your pooch, you can use canned pumpkin puree, but take care not to grab the pumpkin pie mix already loaded with sugars and spices.
HAIKU FLECK’S FAVORITE PUMPKIN SWEET POTATO DOG COOKIES
1½ Cups Brown Rice Flour
½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Cup Mashed Baked Sweet Potato
½ Cup 100% Pure Pumpkin Purée
¼ Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Molasses
- Bake or microwave sweet potatoes and cool.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a large mixing bowl, mash sweet potato, then add pumpkin, egg, cinnamon and molasses until well mixed.
- Add rice flour and as much water as needed until you have a thick batter.
- With your fingers, pinch off a small amount of the mixture (approx. 3/4 teaspoon) and roll into little balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet, spacing about an inch apart.
- Take a fork and flatten balls to ¼” thick. Dip fork in cold water in between flattening cookies to prevent sticking.
- Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.
- Flip them over and continue baking another 10 minutes. For crisper cookies, keep on baking until desired consistency.
- Cool & let your pups enjoy!
Store in refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to a month.
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For most dogs, root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and beets are safe. They are starchy and a bit high in sugar, so just don’t over-do it. Rutabagas and turnips are good sources of calcium and folate and are low in calories (only 17 calories in a small turnip), so they can be a great treat if you bake, boil and mash or dehydrate. Wash and scrub root veggies (just like you would do with a potato), then peel and slice or cut into chunks if boiling. Like with any new food, feed just a little to see how your dog’s system responds to the novel produce before you give in any quantity. Just like people, dogs can have unknown allergies, so better safe than sorry. Beets are loaded with vitamins: A, B1, B2, B6 and C as well as being an excellent source of potassium, giver, natural digestible sugars, iron, calcium and more. Never feed canned beets however, that have sodium added.
SWEET POTATO BEET TREATS
1/2 cup mashed Sweet Potato
1/2 cup cooked and pureed Beets
1 teaspoon Parsley
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
- Wash, peel and boil or bake sweet potato and beets. Then mash or puree and set aside to cool.
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
- Spoon ½-teaspoon scoops of dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes.
- Cool and refrigerate.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen treats.
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Dehydrating apples into chips for your dog is a breeze, yummy and nutritious! Apples can freshen your dog’s breath, clean his teeth (just a raw slice will do it), and provide many other important nutrients: vitamin C to reduce inflammation and keep his brain healthy; fiber to aid digestion and prevent weight gain; calcium for their bones and blood as well as antioxidants.
DEHYDRATED AP-PAW CHIPS
Apples: red, green, golden or a combo
- Preheat oven to 200ºF.
- Wash and dry as many apples as you can fit on a cookie sheet or two.
- Slice removing seeds* and core.
- Line baking sheet with parchment and place apples, sprinkling with cinnamon.
- Bake at 200ºF for one-hour. Flip and bake another hour.
- Cool and serve to your good boy or girl!
Another idea is to freeze sugar-free applesauce in ice cube trays for a refreshing pupsicle.
*NOTE: Seeds and stone pits of most fruits contain cyanide which is dangerous to consume. Although it might take quite a few seeds to make your dog sick, so it is better to keep paws off altogether!
Harvest is a time of gathering friends and family together. Make sure, whatever you do and eat, that your four-legged canine family member enjoys quality time spent with you!
Denise Fleck is the Pet Safety Crusader™ having personally taught more than 25,000 humans to rescue Rover or help Fluffy feel better. Her mission is to help YOU make a difference in the life of an animal through Pet First-Aid, Senior Pet Care and Disaster Preparedness classes, her “The Pet Safety Bible,” and the dozen other books she has penned. Learn more at www.PetSafetyCrusader.com