Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin for the Pooch

Aside from being obsessed with pumpkin-flavored everything for myself, I decided this week it was time to get Hank addicted, too. My version of a trickle down effect, if you will. Canned pure pumpkin is extremely good for a dog with an upset tummy, and Hank has this uncanny resemblance to a garbage disposal on our walks. If I take my eye off of him for one second, he somehow always manages to find something to eat: Oh, wow, that house has really amazing landsca-oh my God what are you eating? This is exactly what happened on our Monday walk when Derek and I were discussing a house across the street, and the dog somehow managed to find what appeared to be some sort of bone or bone-like morsel in some grass. Fairly certain it could've just been bone-scented garbage and the dog still would've tried to eat it. After prying open his mouth and realizing my poor timing had struck yet again, I was happy to know we had canned pumpkin at home to help him digest his poor life choices.
I know the dog can't tell that these are Halloween themed, but it matters to me.
While most people would be worried the dog would die after eating a bone, I, however, was not quite so anxious, as Hankopotamus is clearly part goat. If the dog had a punch card for finding random bones in people's yards and eating them with the speed of a cheetah pouncing on some unsuspecting gazelle, this probably would've been his third or fourth punch. Hank's well on his way to that free t-bone left out in someone's yard who clearly doesn't understand how garbage bags and trashcans work. Oh never stop amazing me for all the wrong reasons.
This time I realized the merits of mini cookie cutters for dog treats,
unlike my dismay with the last batch of milk bones I made him.
I knew I wanted to make pumpkin dog treats for the puppers, so it just happened to be fortuitous that the dog decided to cram his gullet with garbage and be in need of some soothing pumpkin after I had already gathered the necessary accoutrements. If you asked him, I'm sure he'd say he was just trying to do me a favor. But if my dog ever did gain the ability to form coherent human sentences, this would probably be the last thing we'd care about. He'd be asking me for his own squirrel- or cat-filled cupcakes without a doubt. I digress. Wilton has a 12-piece set of mini Halloween cookie cutters on Amazon Prime for like nine bucks...winnnn. 
It really doesn't get much easier than this.
The ingredients for these treats are so simplistic it makes my last batch of dog cookies feel like a five-course meal. One can of pure pumpkin, one chicken embryo, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and two and a half cups of flour. I used wheat flour so it is easier for his doggy digestive system to process. I was already keenly aware of how rank the house was going to smell thanks to his proclivities for snacking on trash, and did not want to add to his future fervor for room clearing. Have I mentioned how this dog follows me everywhere I go, like a shadow? Yeah, always bake with the wheat flour for your dogs. You're welcome.
I sampled the pure pumpkin, what of it?
In a stand mixer, blend together the egg, cinnamon, and can of pumpkin until well mixed. At this point, you're going to start to wonder if these treats could also be fit for human consumption. This is perfectly normal, I assure you.
Thanks for having my back, wheat flour.
Slowly add in a little of the flour at a time, mixing well after each addition until you've got a nice consistency of dough with all two and a half cups mixed in. My mixer is not an extremely expensive Kitchen-aid mixer, so I knew my dough was mixed and ready when the bowl started to knock around like it was a washing machine full of nothing but loose change. It may not be pretty, but it works for my penny-pinching ass.
Time to bust out the kitchen weaponry!!
This dough was stickier than I expected, so I recommend spraying a little cooking spray or dusting some parchment paper with flour before you roll it out. I also placed parchment paper on top of my dough mound before rolling it out. I forgot to take pictures of this process because I was enjoying roughing up the dough and relieving my Monday stress. Sue me. Or try to, anyway, just not when I've got a rolling pin in my hand because I will end you. Once I rolled my dough out to about a half-inch thickness, I used my cute terrifyingly haunting Halloween cookie cutters to cut out my dough and placed these adorable nightmare-inducing shapes onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Aren't they just the scariest?!
I cooked my tombstones, pumpkins, leaves, skulls, moons, witch's hat, ghosts, bats, and cats at 350 for a half an hour. I then let them cool completely while on the tray so they'd get a little crunchy. If it isn't crunchy like day-old garbage, Hank may not want it.
The face that says, 'I know I don't need the garbage, but I just can't resist it.
Also, when is this woman going to stop inner-monologuing for me? I mean, really.'
Of course, I had to take it a step further and decorate these bad boys once they cooled off. All you need for dog-friendly icing is fat free plain yogurt, or fat free cream cheese. I went with some yogurt, and placed it into a piping bag fitted with a tiny number two tip. Remember to use the cup trick to fill your piping bags so you don't end up wearing most of your decorations.
Even our cups are terrifying.
Then, just have fun and go to town decorating your dog treats however you'd like. Remember, this step really makes no friggin' difference to your dog, other than they have to wait even longer to eat what they know you've most certainly just made for them. Call this my passive aggressive way of letting the dog know I wasn't rewarding him for dumpster diving.
At this point, these cookies made the house smell SO GOOD I was almost positive I had to eat one, as was Derek.
As of this blog, we still have not eaten any. I make no future guarantees.
With such a small piping tip and such an easy work surface,
you can pretty much do whatever you want. Me gusta.
While these may not be the prettiest, they don't have to be. And not just because they are dog treats, but because they are HALLOWEEN dog treats, and should be both menacing and a little rough around the edges. As far as I know, Casper was the only friendly ghost and cats are definitely evil, so I wasn't too worried about perfection here. No offense to anyone who likes ghosts. If you're a cat person, I'm not sure why you're reading a dog blog unless you wanted to make these for yourself. I'm only judging you for liking cats, bro. 

Of course, Hankenstein was thrilled that I finally baked for him again, and ate these right up. Happy to report the pumpkin did its job, and he wasn't chasing me out of any rooms later that evening, nor did he have any digestive issues due to his version of go hide and seek garbage. Now I can say with certainty that my baking can save lives. Til next time, my fellow eaters!


  1. Hank DEFINITELY has some of reincarnated Pete (the original goat-dog) in him. Luckiest pooches in the world! You are a good dog mommy.


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