Homemade pumpkin-peanut butter doggy frozen yogurt

Skylar loves doggy fro-yo. She gets one every night around the same time, and she even waits in front of the refrigerator, her big green eyes traveling from the freezer to me and back to the freezer. The probiotics in yogurt help regulate Sky’s sensitive stomach. The problem is, store-bought brands can be pricey (around $10 for four half-cup servings). So I decided to start making doggy fro-yo — not only is it easy and much more economical, you know where all the ingredients are coming from (and what they are).

I went to the grocery store and purchased Glad mini-round containers with lids; they come eight to a package, are made of BPA-free plastic, and are dishwasher safe. After a lot of research, I chose Mountain High Original Plain Yoghurt because it contains just cultures and milk (no gelatins or thickeners). I also use organic unsweetened crunchy peanut butter (any brand will do). Then I started experimenting with various nuts and treats tucked into the mixture. Sky loves jerky, and what dog doesn’t love bacon, so I crumble up Fruitables Thick Cut Bacon Whole Jerky treats, which I purchase at Pet Food Express (the ingredients are bacon — unsalted, of course — and natural flavor), and I tuck them into the cups of yogurt before freezing.

Sky’s favorite is pumpkin-peanut butter, and because pumpkin promotes a healthy digestive system (it’s low calorie and contains soluble and insoluble fiber), it’s my favorite, too. I use Fruitables Pumpkin Digestive Supplement for Dogs (also available at Pet Food Express), which contains fresh pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon, but any organic canned pumpkin works (I hear Trader Joe’s makes one that dogs go crazy for). Just be sure you’re not buying canned pumpkin pie filling, which contains too many spices (though you can add dashes of ginger and cinnamon to the plain pumpkin). Of course, if you’re feeling ambitious you can roast and purée your own pumpkin, but as Ina “the Barefoot Contessa” Garten says, “Why bother when, in this case, the canned version is just as good.”

Makes 8 half-cup servings

4 cups plain yogurt (Greek or regular)
2 cups Fruitables Pumpkin or plain pumpkin purée
4 heaping tablespoons organic unsweetened peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 tablespoon honey
2 or 3 Fruitables Thick Cut Bacon Whole Jerky treats or your dog’s favorite treats (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt and pumpkin and stir until well incorporated. Fold in peanut butter and honey, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally, and mix until all ingredients are well combined. Spoon the mixture into the half-cup containers, leaving a little room at the top. For an added treat, press pieces of bacon jerky or your dog’s favorite treats into the thick mixture. Cover and freeze.

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