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by Heather Buzby
We all want to choose the best food for our dogs.
No doubt that the food you feel was carefully selected. You probably tried to pick a good quality food that your dog liked and chances are you pay a pretty penny for it. The fact is though, even a good kibble can get a tad boring when you feed it day after day. Not everyone has the time or desire to cook full time for their pets, so this year, we’ll be sharing some easy kibble toppers to make your dog feel like they’re getting a home cooked meal every time you fill their bowl. Plus, squash is really low calorie and a great way to help pooches on a diet feel more satisfied with less kibble.
Pumpkin (as well as other squash such as butternut, acorn and spaghetti) makes a great kibble topper.
Very healthy and provides fiber, which helps them feel full and stay *ahem* “regular” in the bathroom department. While it’s pretty cheap to buy canned pumpkin puree, it’s also very easy to make your own squash puree at home.
Here’s what you need:
Squash or pumpkin
Wash off the pumpkin. Just a quick rinse with plain water is fine.
Set the pumpkin in a glass baking dish and take out your aggressions by getting stabby with that pumpkin! Ok on a serious note, CAREFULLY use a very sharp knife to pierce the pumpkin several times, evenly spaced. This provides vents for heat and air to escape during roasting. Some sort of roasting or baking dish is recommended since some liquids will escape AND your pumpkin will get soft during the bake.
Bake your pumpkin at 350°F for 2-3 hours. The bake time is all going to depend on the size of the pumpkin you are using. Periodically poke the pumpkin with a fork to test it – if it seems super soft and the fork inserts and removes very easily, you’re good to go. I chose to turn off the oven and let it cool with the pumpkin still inside (I had other things to get done at the time).
When your pumpkin is cool enough to handle, use a large knife to slice it in half. Note that there will be juices! It’s probably best to leave it in whatever pan you cooked it in.
Scoop out the guts and seeds. You can either wash the seeds and roast them or if you were sick of pumpkin seeds by this point like I was, you can do what I did and just toss it all in a freezer bag to be used in the future when making stock.
Scoop out the meat – this is what you’re going to puree, so scoop it into a large bowl. I suggest using a large metal serving spoon, and be sure to scrape as much of the meat from the rind as possible. You can discard your rind or add it to your bag of stock scraps.
Puree the meat! An immersion blender works great for this, but you can also use a regular blender or food processor.
Storage: Pureed pumpkin and squash CANNOT be safely canned at home, so dividing it into portions and freezing is the best for long term storage. I like to freeze mine in ice cube trays and pull it out a tablespoon at a time to go over kibble.
What kind of kibble toppers do your dogs love?
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