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Halloween is a birthday celebration in our house; we don't get trick or treaters in our neighborhood and we don't go to Halloween parties. So, we don't have Jack O'Lanterns on our porch. But what if we did? Over the years, I've become interested in how I can reduce the amount of waste in our home. I use eggshells in my flower garden to enrich the soil, I take excess vegetables from friends' gardens to make a veggie mix for my dogs, and I use the crumbs at the bottom of treat bags as a meal topper. So this makes me wonder what could be done with our Halloween pumpkins other than tossing it in the trash.
1 – Save the Pumpkin Seeds for Your Dogs
Did you save the pumpkin seeds? Most people will roast them, but for my dogs, I'd prefer to wash them and either grind or ferment the seeds for my dogs. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. I don't think pumpkin seeds can balance a raw food diet, but I do think that they add a nutritional boost to our dogs' diet. I like to have pumpkins on hand for my dogs to boost gut health and, in turn, the immune system. I also add ground pumpkin seeds to the bowl when one of my dogs eats a wild animal. We have a lot of rabbits on our property and sometimes the dogs catch one. And eat it. In front of me. It's awful.
2 – Create a Pumpkin Puree for Your Dogs
Instead of buying canned pumpkin, you can make your own with the guts removed from the pumpkin before carving. Just separate the seeds from the string material and then use a food processor to puree the strings into a smooth puree. You can use the puree in your dog's diet as a source of fiber to improve gut health or you can use it as an ingredient to make pumpkin flavored dog treats.
3 – Spice Up Your Dog's Veggie Mix
Put the seeds and the strings in the freezer and when you're ready, thaw and use in your next vegetable mix for your dogs. I make a batch of veggie mix for my dogs every other month. This is a great source of fiber, it's food for the healthy gut bacteria, helps to keep my dogs slim and trim, and it adds nutrients and anti-oxidants to my dogs' diet. By adding the pumpkin guts, I'm making my mix an antioxidant powerhouse.
4 – Boost Your Dog's Bone Broth
I read online that a lot of people set the guts aside until they have enough vegetable scraps and then they use the excess to make a vegetable stock to use as a base in soups. If a vegetable stock isn't your thing, then you can add the pumpkin guts in your next bone broth. To make the vegetable stock, you just need to toss the guts (seeds and strings) along with vegetable scraps into a stockpot and simmer on the stove for 30 to 60 minutes. Once finished, strain the stock until only the broth remains and this can be frozen or combined with your next completed bone broth.
5 – Pumpkin Butter for Dogs
I add a dollop of coconut oil to my dogs' bowls a couple of days a week. Coconut oil has many benefits for dogs and I primarily add it to my dogs' diet to boost gut health, as a natural anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant boost. You can use the pumpkin guts to make pumpkin butter for your dogs; instead of a dollop of plain coconut oil, add the pumpkin butter instead. It only takes two ingredients: pumpkin puree (instructions above) and CocoTherapy coconut oil. How much of each is up to you so have fun with it. Blend the two ingredients together and store in the fridge. I use a regular spoon to add coconut oil to my dogs' meals.
6 – Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats
Now this one is easy. You can do a Google Search now that will deliver loads of pumpkin dog treat recipes. The main benefit of homemade dog treats is our ability to better control the ingredients and sourcing, which is great for dogs with sensitivities or special dietary needs. When looking up recipes, I pay attention to the ingredients and get ready to search for healthy alternatives – like coconut flour instead of regular flour. But, keep in mind that some substitutions change the cooking directions, so make sure you understand how to change the recipe if you make substitutions.
5 Pumpkin Dog Treat Recipes
- Healthy Pumpkin Dog Treats – Food with Feelings
- Pumpkin Dog Treats – Wild Wild Whisk
- Soft Pumpkin Dog Treats – Pook's Pantry
- Pumpkin Carrot Bites – Pawsitively Pets
- Pumpkin Apple Dog Treats – Three Little Ferns
Think Outside the Box
The more I learn about raising my dogs naturally, the more I find myself looking for ideas on how I can use everything we buy in our diet or in our dogs' diet, reducing waste and improving their health. So before you toss the pumpkin out, ask yourself what you can do with the pumpkin or the pumpkin guts.
Already tossed the pumpkin? No worries, visit your local grocery store to take advantage of any left over discounted pumpkins.