Pumpkin is a great fruit (yep, scientifically not a vegetable as it contains seeds). Not only is it good for us, but it’s good for our dogs too. One pumpkin does provide an awful lot of flesh and seeds though – sometimes more than you expected. So, what to do with leftover pumpkin?
I often cook pumpkins and other squash, which means my dogs also get it in their food regularly. I’ve included 2 recipes here: one for us hoomans and the other for our 4 legged family members. However, since the pupcakes are made with human-grade ingredients, there’s nothing to stop you enjoying them too! The first recipe: ‘Roasted Squash & Goat’s Cheese Focaccia’ can be made using any squash, or even sweet potato.
How to cut up a pumpkin to cook it
I used to struggle to cut pumpkin up in order to cook it, but I’ve found the easiest way is this:
– cut a hole in the top, just as you might if you were going to make a pumpkin lantern
– scoop out the stringy sludge and seeds (you can cook and eat the seeds, but throw the stringy bits in the compost bin)
– pop the lid back on to the pumpkin
– make space in your oven and bake it whole till it softens
– I remove the skin (more fodder for the worm bin) and chop the flesh up unto chunks
I find cooking it like this saves me time and is safer. Trying to cut up a pumpkin into pieces when it’s raw is hard work and potentially dangerous if the knife slips. There’s always too much pumpkin to use all at once so I often freeze some of the cooked pumpkin to use later.Jump to Recipe
Health benefits of pumpkin for dogs (and humans)
Pumpkin is highly nutritious
Pumpkin is a super nutritious, low-calorie food. The seeds are edible and highly nutritious too.
Just 245 gr (1 cup) of cooked pumpkin provides:
- Calories: 49
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Copper: 11% of the RDI
- Manganese: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
- Iron: 8% of the RDI
High in antioxidants
The alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin in pumpkins function as antioxidants. Antioxidants may protect your cells from free-radicals damaging them and studies have shown that antioxidants can lower the risk of certain cancers and other illnesses.
Good for weight loss
Because pumpkin is highly nutritious but low in calories, you can eat more of it than other sources of carbohydrates (like potato, for example). It’s high fibre content helps to curb your appetite too.
Good for both constipation AND diarrhoea
Dogs often have toileting problems – indeed, diarrhoea is the most common reason for a visit to the vet. The fibre in pumpkin can help create more solid stools. It also functions as a great pre-biotic, encouraging healthy gut bacteria.
Health benefits for dogs of pumpkin seeds
Baked pumpkin seeds are beneficial for our health, of course, but are especially good for our dogs’ health. They’re loaded with protein, amino acids, fibre, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, folic acid and niacin. They’re rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Apart from their nutrients, they also have a functional benefit. The amino acid, cucurbitin, paralyses and eliminates the worms from a dog’s digestive tract.
2 recipes for using leftover pumpkin
Roasted Squash and Goat’s Cheese on Focaccia
- 1 butternut squash I've made this recipe with sweet potatoes too and it works just as well.
- 4 cloves garlic
- quarter fresh chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 4 sprigs sage or if using dry, 2 tsp
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100 gr goat's cheese I use goat's cheese pearls these days: they're a little easier to throw over things. You can use normal, soft goat's cheese and just crumble it over the top. If you don't like goat's cheese, replace it with feta.
- 4 small focaccia or a couple of larger ones, cut in half
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6 (170ºC fan assisted)
- Wash the squash. Halve it along its length. Remove the seeds. Cut into chunky cubes, leaving the skin on. Throw the cubes into an oven tray.
- Add the crushed garlic, chilli flakes, sage, a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper to the squash. Toss the cubes to mix well with the other ingredients. Pop them in the oven and roast for 35 minutes, or until nicely softened.
- Remove from the oven while you prepare the focaccia.
- Lay the chopped up sun-dried tomatoes over the focaccia.
- Plop a good handful of the squash mix over the sun-dried tomatoes. Roughly mash the mix with a fork or potato masher to roughly cover the focaccia pieces.
- Sprinkle the goat's cheese pearls – or crumbled cheese – over the top.
- Eat as is, or serve with a lovely green side salad.
An easy, 3 step recipe for your dog
Liver And Pumpkin Pupcakes
- food processor
- 325 gr liver i use ox liver but any other will do
- 675 gr pumpkin cooked
- 200 gr rice flour i use gluten-free rice flour, but if you don't have it, you could use normal wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 gr parsley, dried
- Put the cooked pumpkin and liver in a food processor and blitz until they combine into a puree
- Mix in the other ingredients
- Spoon the mixture into silicone baking moulds and cook at 160degC for 20-25 minutes