Homemade Dog Food with Butternut Squash

by Madeline Masters
You can use butternut squash in place of pumpkin in lots of dog food recipes.

You can use butternut squash in place of pumpkin in lots of dog food recipes.

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Butternut squash is a yummy fall favorite that's also great for your canine pal to enjoy. Butternut squash contains lots of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. For homemade dog food recipes, you can use fresh butternut squash or the puree, sold in the frozen foods section of grocery stores.

Rustic Roast Squash Dinner

You can easily cook your dog's dinner by simply placing all the required ingredients in the oven, and letting them do their thing. This recipe of meat, veg, and potatoes is a balanced meal for your dog.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, and clean out the seeds (you can clean these and roast them as treats for your pal). Cut 1 butternut squash, 3 peeled russet potatoes and 2 pounds of untrimmed stew beef all into 1-inch cubes. Cut smaller cubes for very small dogs. You can leave the skin on the squash because it will get soft in the oven; you must completely skin the potatoes. Potato skins are not safe for dogs to eat.
Toss the squash and potatoes in a bit of cooking oil to prevent burning. You can also add some seasonings to your veggies if you like -- for instance, cinnamon and clove to the squash, or parsley for the potatoes. Place the veggies in a baking dish. Place the dish in the oven, and set the timer for 20 minutes.
While you wait on that, place the beef cubes in a second dish, and add a cup of Brussels sprouts or another green veggie of your choice. Add a splash of low-sodium beef stock. When the timer goes off, remove the squash and potatoes from the oven, stir them up, then return them to the oven along with the beef and Brussels sprouts. Set the timer for 20 minutes.
The meat will be done when it's brown on the outside and no pink remains inside. The squash and potatoes are done when a fork slides in easily. Brussels sprouts are ready when they've turned bright green and are fork-tender. Allow the food to cool to room temperature before serving it to your favorite furry friend. Refrigerate any leftovers for your pal's next meal.
Note: Ratio for portions should be about one-half meat, one-quarter veggie and one-quarter potato.

Golden Butternut Squash Stew

This is an easy, affordable stew that you can portion out and freeze for a day when you're in a pinch and don't feel like cooking for Fido. A combination of meat, grains, and highly nutritious veggies makes this a healthy, complete dinner.
Heat a large, nonstick stew pot on medium heat. While you wait for the pot to heat, cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch chunks. Put the chicken pieces in the pot, and allow them to brown on two sides. Add 1 cup of frozen green peas to the chicken, and stir. Break up an 8-ounce package of frozen butternut squash over the chicken and peas, and stir. Cover the pot, and allow the squash to thaw for about 2 minutes.
When the squash is thawed and you can easily stir all the ingredients, pour in 1 cup of uncooked whole-grain rice or barley. Allow the liquid to bubble. When it does, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the grain is fully cooked. You can also use up leftover plain grains in this stew if you have them.
Once the grain is cooked, give the stew one final stir, then put one serving in your dog's food bowl. Sprinkle with some fresh parsley, and allow the stew to cool completely before you let your hungry pup have it.
Always store leftovers in the refrigerator. Your yield will be approximately 6 to 8 cups of stew.
Note: If your stew gets a bit thick, thin it with some low-sodium chicken stock.

Butternut Squash Tasty Treats

You know your pooch deserves something that's special and especially good for him. These cookies are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, and taste good enough to make Spot smile.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs, then add 1/2 cup of thawed butternut squash puree, 1/4 cup of honey, 2 tablespoons of milk powder, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove. Mix these ingredients, then gradually add 2 1/2 cups of whole-wheat flour as you mix. The dough will be very dry and dense, so mix it by hand.
After the ingredients are thoroughly combined, place the dough on a floured work surface. Pat your hands and rolling pin with flour, then roll out the dough to 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough with your favorite cookie cutter, then place the cookies on a nonstick cookie sheet, leaving an inch of space around each to allow room for expansion.
Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes, flip, and bake for another 20 minutes. Your puppy treats are ready when they're just browned around the edges and completely dry. Always let cookies cool completely before letting Fido chow down. Store cookies in an airtight container to keep them fresh. This recipe makes about 24 homemade doggy treats.
Note: To give your doggie treats an extra-special shine, whisk an egg and brush it over the biscuits before baking.

Butternut Squash Frozen Fun

Is your furry best friend looking at you longingly as you lick a luscious ice cream cone? Let him join in on the fun with this healthy frozen squash treat.
Place a whole package of frozen butternut squash puree in the bowl of a food processor and add 4 cups of plain lowfat yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves.
Mix the ingredients until they are smooth and combined. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an ice cream maker or to a popsicle mold. If you use an ice cream maker, allow the mix to freeze for at least 25 minutes. If you use a popsicle mold, your pops will need at least 2 hours in the freezer to set up.
When the frozen yogurt is ready, scoop or pop and serve to your hungry and deserving pup. This recipe makes about 10 half-cup servings of frozen yogurt. Because this frozen treat is low in fat, you'll need to let it sit out for a bit before trying to scoop it after it's been in the freezer.
Note: Greek yogurt is preferable, because its lower water content allows it to freeze better than regular yogurt.

Ensuring Your Dog Gets the Right Nutrients

When making your own dog food, it's important to make sure your pup gets all the nutrition he needs. Homemade dog foods should include roughly 1/2 meat, 1/4 carbohydrate, and 1/4 vegetables. Dogs are omnivores, and need all these foods for a healthy diet. If your dog only eats food you make, you may need to add supplements to his diet, such as calcium. Ask your veterinarian about guidelines for feeding your dog home-cooked food, and whether a supplement is necessary.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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