By Cassie Johnston
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I swore up and down before I became a parent that I’d never be one of “those” people who has a baby and stops giving attention to their pets. My older siblings all warned me. They told me you just don’t have as much “dog patience” when you’re dealing with a screaming baby or tantrum-ing toddler. I scoffed. I’d be different! I’d still dote on my dogs and take them for long walks every single day and never, ever get frustrated with them!
Except…nope. Spoiler alert: the list of things I swore I’d never do before having a child and now do could fill a book. And this one would be on the first page. The truth is: I just don’t have nearly as much margin in my life to give my animals (particularly my dogs) the attention that I once did. Don’t get me wrong, they are nowhere near neglected with their premium dog food, regular vet visits, frequent snuggles, and fenced-in yard. They still lead lovely, happy, healthy lives—just with a little less of me in it.
I try not to feel too guilty about it (after all, I’m working hard to raise a kind, compassionate, empowered human here!), but there are times throughout the year that I feel like I need to give the puppers a little more love to make up for my absence. And this is one of those times.
This is one of the busiest times of year for me both personally and professionally, which means my already small amount of one-on-one time with the dogs has shrunk. The cure for my guilt? Regularly scheduled long walks with the dogs (it’s literally in my planner) and a totally over-the-top gift basket complete with all kinds of goodies from my local Meijer store!
The idea for this started when I was browsing the aisles of Meijer killing time before I had to pick up my daughter from school one day. I stumbled into their massive Pets section, and I found a particular toy and thought, “Hey, I bet Ivy would like this!” and it ended up in my cart. And then, because I’m all about fairness, I went to pick up something for our other dog, Rory. And the shopping spree continued until my cart was jam-packed with toys and treats for the girls, and an idea to surprise them with an “I’m sorry I spend so much time playing Legos and so little time taking you on hikes” gift basket.
I also needed to pick up a few cans of pumpkin puree (because hello: it’s fall), so I popped over to the baking aisle and knew immediately that I had to bake the puppers some homemade pumpkin dog biscuits to go in their basket.
I have a homemade dog treat recipe already on Wholefully, but it uses wheat flour. I created that recipe before our vet recommended both our dogs go on a grain-free diet. It was time to get back in the kitchen and start working on new, grain-free dog treats! I snagged a few more ingredients from the Meijer baking section (including a cute bone-shaped cookie cutter!) and headed home to get started.
What I ended up creating was a treat that not only made the puppies excited but also added a bit of a nutritional boost to their diet! The treats are packed with ingredients that can really help nourish your canine friends like:
A caveat here: there are tons of (many times conflicting) reports about what and what not to feed your dog. As with all decisions regarding the health of your loved ones, it’s probably best to check with a trained health care professional when introducing any kinds of new foods. A vet can give you a definitive “yes” or “no” on what should end up in your pup’s bowl.
That being said, the ingredients below avoid any products that are well-known doggie no-nos (like, say, chocolate!) and focus on ingredients that are generally accepted as good for doggie-dom. Just like with human food, it depends on the individual. So keep a close eye on your puppy any time you give them a new food or treat. Even though these grain-free dog treats are formulated to be as gentle on their systems and give them as many added nutritional benefits as possible, they still might not agree with some pooches.
In the recipe below, I include how to make the (adorable!) peanut butter glaze for on top of the treats, but it’s absolutely not necessary. I can tell you from experience that the dogs couldn’t care less if there is a cute drizzle on top of their treats or not. They scarfed both versions equally.
The dogs were very pumped about their gift basket. They ate a few of these homemade treats each, and then each of them grabbed one of the rawhide retriever rolls (their favorite) and happily chomped on them for a few hours. I don’t think they’re feeling so overlooked anymore. I hope your dogs enjoy these treats as much as mine did!
Show your pets some love with Grain-Free Pumpkin Coconut Dog Treats, made entirely from ingredients you already have in your kitchen!
Keywords: pets, dog treats, homemade gifts
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Fresh-ground peanut butter is better than anything in a jar, and I doubt that any dog cares whether his treats look like bones or have a glaze, so I just spoon a slightly softer dough and squoosh it with a spoon. Cooks up well, and a great dog treat. I hadn’t considered using turmeric or cinnamon until you pointed out that they’re great anti-infammatories. Thanks for the suggestion. My Sheltie is on a raw diet and only gets cooked treats when I’m agility training. Carrying around bits of raw meat is not fun.
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