Pumpkin Banana Dog Treats

Aren’t they handsome? I know. That’s Scooter on the left with Sage right below him and they are my very “special” boys.

Sage is ten years old, sweet and mellow ever since he was a puppy, but also quite demanding when it comes to getting his meals on time and he’s a big talker/complainer to anyone who will listen. Although his hips aren’t great, he still insists on getting in the car to take the girls to school (I have to lift him) and going on walks. He knows his limits though and recently he staged a sit-down-refusing-to budge strike because he knew we had walked too far and there was no way he was making the trek back up the hill. We had to call Bob away from work to come get us. Of course, if he doesn’t get a walk or feels otherwise wronged he tends to leave a token of his non-appreciation on the carpet in the entryway. He’s been doing this for the last few years, maybe once a month, always in the middle of the night and, trust me, it’s very deliberate; he has no trouble waking us up in the morning for food, he could wake us up to let him out! So, yes, he basically runs the show around here.
Scooter is three years old and has the most nervous energy I have ever experienced in a dog. He gets so excited that he actually screams (very high pitched, like a chihuahua) and runs in rapid circles when it’s time for a walk or if looks like there’s a chance anyone might be going out a door anytime soon. Taking the garbage and recycling out is thrilling around here. It’s nearly impossible to get him enough exercise and he makes it really hard to want to take him anywhere because he’s such a complete spaz. He almost never gets to go in the car, poor guy, because the risk of injury to the children is pretty high. I feel strongly that having him has kept Sage young but he’s a pretty annoying little brother. Every time Sage wants to go outside, Scooter runs in front of him and turns around, ready to lung at his neck as soon as he comes out so whoever has opened the door has to physically hold him back. Unlike his brother, he never poops in the house on purpose but he does pee in his sleep, usually on our bed. He feels really bad about it though and, thankfully, this is happening with less and less frequency as time goes by.
So, they’re sort of high maintenance but, if you’re a dog lover, I know you understand that they are worth every irritating minute. Sage really is the best companion ever and Scooter, when he’s calm, is super sweet and snuggly and just wants to please. I can’t imagine life without dogs. I grew up with a German shorthaired pointer named Josh, he was my best friend, then Bob and I had our first yellow lab, Spencer, for the first ten years of our marriage and after he passed we spent about three years without a dog. It was miserable for both of us. Once we stopped traveling so much and decided we were staying here in Bend, we were able to get Sage and we were happy again.
Snuggled on the camper floor with their big, furry friend Hobbes.
In spite of their differences, they truly love each other!
These treats are easy to make and are way cheaper than the healthy, organic biscuits you can buy at your local pet boutique. After Sage got deathly ill a few years ago from some sea jerky treats he was eating I’m pretty careful with what I give him. Pumpkin is good for digestion and bananas are generally safe for adding some sweetness and boosting nutrition. It’s a good idea to research what’s safe for your own dog’s breed and size and what sensitivities they might have. Our vet told us labs need to avoid wheat so I used brown rice flour but you could substitute wheat flour if your dog tolerates it well. These treats don’t have added salt or sugar to preserve them so they will last on the counter for about a week, refrigerate to keep them longer. Hope your dog/dogs like them as much as mine do!
Pumpkin Banana Dog Treats
(makes 90 1 1/2 inch treats)
15 oz pure pumpkin puree (nothing added), canned
2 eggs
2 TB peanut butter (organic, no sugar)
1 ripe banana
3 1/2 cups brown rice flour + more for rolling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Combine pumpkin, eggs, peanut butter and banana in a mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
Add flour, mix until a non-sticky dough forms.
Roll half of the dough out about 1/2 inch thick.
Cut into shapes using sharp knife or cookie cutter (I used 1 1/2 inch square cutter).
Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or directly on un-greased cookie sheet).
Bake about 40 – 50 minutes, until hard and golden brown.
Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container for about a week – longer in the refrigerator.

From one of my favorite books, a story told from a dog’s point of view…

“When I return to the world, I will be a man. I will walk among you. I will lick my lips with my small, dexterous tongue. I will shake hands with other men, grasping firmly with my opposable thumbs. And I will teach people all that I know. And when I see a man or a woman or a child in trouble, I will extend my hand, both metaphorically and physically. I will offer my hand. To him. To her. To you. To the world. I will be a good citizen, a good partner in the endeavor of life that we all share.”
Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain