Cleo wasn’t feeling well. Our four-year old black Lab had a problem, in that special dog way of having a problem, the kind that finds you outside at 3 a.m., wondering how she ate a paper towel, a pen, six bagels and their bag. Of course dog owners know that goes with the territory, and messy territory it is. But a few years back our vet gave me some swell advice, the sort of helpful tip you never forget: pumpkin.
Turns out pumpkin, in addition to filling pies, soups, and being eminently carve-able, works a certain enzyme magic on stomach irritation. Does it work on people? I don’t know. My job was to get it into the dog. “Feed her a tablespoon of pumpkin,” he said, “mixed in her food. Or right from the spoon – if she’ll take it.”
Would she? Her first move was to stuff her mouth with Ducky, thus avoiding whatever was on the spoon. Take it?
And no way.
So I mixed it with her food – and for a time, she snubbed the food. She finally ate it, never making the connection that snacking on shrubs, or snail shells, or used Kleenex would earn her dinner a pumpkin garnish. Now, I have cared for and loved three dogs. I have seen a lot of 3 a.m’s, a lot of snowy, moonlit grass. I wanted a better pumpkin delivery system, and for me, baking something “in” is an easy answer – especially for Cleo, who is sweet and trusting, and not bright enough to suspect a biscuit.
Rolling dough got her attention…
…and while they cooled on the counter, she even forgot the edible bits in the yard. Dogs love these simple biscuits and sick or not sick, they make great treats. They’re delightful – but my best advice? Buy wastebaskets with lids. Don’t plant poisonous shrubs, shut bathroom doors, avoid the tastiest pens. And by all means, keep a handy can of pumpkin.
Cleo’s Pumpkin Dog Biscuits
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons dry milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour *
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin to smooth. Stir in dry milk, sea salt, and dried parsley (if using, optional). Add brown rice flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface (can use the brown rice flour) and if dough is still rough, briefly knead and press to combine.
Roll dough between 1/4 – 1/2″ – depending on your dog’s chew preferences, ask first – and use biscuit or other shape cutter to punch shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps as you go. Place shapes on cookie sheet, no greasing or paper necessary. If desired, press fork pattern on biscuits before baking, a quick up-and-down movement with fork, lightly pressing down halfway through dough. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack before feeding to dog.
* Brown rice flour gives the biscuits crunch and promotes better dog digestion. Many dogs have touchy stomachs or allergies, and do not, like many people I know, tolerate wheat.
Makes up to 75 small (1″) biscuits or 50 medium biscuits
Please note: This is not professional medical advice. These biscuits are a healthy everyday treat, and useful for a dog with a sensitive stomach, or minor digestion issues. If your dog is showing any signs of serious distress, remove all food and contact your veterinarian immediately.