Labrador retrievers, for the uninitiated, aren't known for being picky eaters. In fact, mine have eaten everything from ropes to glass. Jackson has a real fondness for lip balm, especially the rather expensive Burt's Bees. I would estimate that he has eaten at least half his weight in lip balm. He weighs over 100 pounds. Burt's Bees owes me big time.
Unfortunately, rope, glass, and lip balm (sorry Jackson) aren't especially good for meeting the nutritional needs of large breed dogs so I try to limit those special treats. Instead, I've discovered a homemade treat that not only tastes great but is good for them too. It also doesn't hurt that from the moment I walk out of the pantry with a can of pumpkin and a jar of peanut butter in my hands, my dogs think that I'm the cat's meow.
Today was baking day. Jackson doesn't leave the vicinity of the oven the entire time that I'm mixing them up and baking them. (ignore the big box of garage sale crap in the background - we can talk about that later)
My labs have given these treats the Labrador seal of approval, so I'm sharing the recipe here. It's one of my favorites because it doesn't require any special ingredients and I almost always have everything on hand.
Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (although I've also used all purpose flour)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
(Note: A regular can of pumpkin is about 1 cup, so I usually make a double batch at a time, but break it down and mix it 1/2 at a time unless you have a really heavy duty mixer)
Mix all of the ingredients until mixture is well mixed but dry and stiff. I have found that when I use organic pumpkin I need to add significantly more flour as I'm mixing. Organic pumpkin tends to be much thinner. (Hey, don't judge. My dogs like to eat healthy too.)
Either roll out the dough and cut with a cookie cutter or roll into a roll and cut off 1/2 pieces. I may feed my dogs organic pumpkin treats, but I tend to be lazy when it comes to actually forming the cookies, so I just tear off little ballish shapes about the size of a tablespoon. I don't even try to smooth them into balls. My dogs seems to like all the crunchy bits and I think it's great for their teeth. Plus, at this point in the process, I'm seriously questioning my sanity, so I justify the fact that I'm actually baking my dogs organic pumpkin and peanut butter treats by cutting a corner or two. But don't tell the labs - they think they are supposed to be that way.
Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. They should be absolutely cooked dry so they are hard and crunchy.
This recipe doubled makes about 11 dozen tablespoon sized treats.
Just call me Martha freaking Stewart.