Home Made baked pumpkin skin is a great zero waste dog treat that is salt and sugar free, healthy for them and can reduce your food waste.
Most pumpkin skin is edible (yes, even by humans) although it does depend on the thickness of the skin. For this recipe I used a butternut pumpkin which has a nice thin skin and is a great choice for snacks. Avoid those that are very thick skinned and woody as this could potentially cause digestion issues especially with dogs that gobble down food fast and sometimes skip the chewing part of eating. The finished product should not resemble wood!
Given that pumpkin is nutritious and low in calories it is perfect for food oriented dogs like our chocolate Labrador who is constantly on the look out for food and prone to gaining weight easily.
Thin Skinned Pumpkin - (eg: Butternut, Queensland Blue)
While you are preparing your own pumpkin for cooking, simply slice or peel the skin into strips. You can of course just leave it on and eat it yourself but I'm not a fan of it and before we had a dog, the skin just went into the compost bin.
Place on a baking tray, skin side down. There is absolutely no need for oil, salt or seasoning and you don't need baking paper. Many dog treats have a high salt content and some even contain sugar, but this treat will be tasty without it.
Bake in the oven at around 180 - 220 Degrees Celsius for 30-45 minutes. This can cook alongside your roast or whatever else you might be baking at the time.
The longer the cooking time, the chewier the pumpkin skin will be. Smaller dogs will likely prefer a softer, less chewy treat.
Allow to cool before feeding to your dog and store the remaining pieces in a container. It should last up to a week, but again, this will depend on how soft you made them so always double check they still appear edible and of course NEVER give them to your dog if they show signs of mould.
Here's how mine look after baking:
(excuse the blurry photo, it was late at night!)
The kids have a great time feeding these baked pumpkin skins to the dog and he absolutely loves them. As soon as he is given one, he runs off, tail wagging, to his bed to chew it up. He isn't a completely zero waste dog, but he has no care in the world about things like that!
Do you make your own pet food or treats?
If you give this I try I'd love to hear how it went.