When temperatures rise outside, your dog can easily get overheated. Heatstroke is just one of the many summer hazards that can affect our dogs. There are many ways you can help keep your dog cool in the hot weather. Chilled or frozen dog treats are a great surprise for your dog. Not only will they help cool her off, they can also help relieve boredom when she is cooped up inside. Here are some ideas for healthy, cold treats your dog will love:
Doggie "Ice Cream"
Real ice cream is not healthy for dogs. The excess dairy can cause GI upset, plus there is too much sugar. "Lick-a-lots" and "Frosty Paws" are two types of healthy dog "ice cream" that dogs love. But, if you want to save money, or would rather not run out to the store, you can make a version of them yourself at home. Here's how:
You will need:
- 1 ripe banana
- 8 ounces of plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (creamy is best)
Mix ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Pour mixture into three or four different small plastic containers and freeze overnight. You can adjust the amounts of each ingredient to get the taste and texture your dog likes best. Leave the treats in the container and serve one to your dog, but be sure to supervise (so he doesn't eat the container). These treats will last longer if you don't pop them out of their containers. Experiment with mix-ins like finely diced carrots, apples, or lean meat.
Puppy Ice Pops
A fast and easy frozen "pop" dogs will love, this treat is as simple as one ingredient!
You will need:
- Chicken or beef broth (fat-free, low-sodium, no onion ingredients)
Freeze overnight in ice cube trays or mini-muffin pans. You can feed a few alone as treats for your dog. Or, try placing on top of kibble or in the water bowl to enhance flavor.
Again, experiment with mix-ins like finely diced carrots, apples, or lean meat.
Alternatively, you can cut fresh watermelon into chunks and freeze them. Dogs love these mildly sweet frozen treats on a hot day, and you might enjoy some too!
Frozen Kong Stuffing
The Kong is a wonderful stuffable dog toy that, when filled appropriately, can occupy just about any dog. There's virtually no end to what you can put in this toy. Fill it with a mushy concoction of foods and put it in the freezer (the longer it's in, the harder it will freeze, but you can serve it as soon as two hours after stuffing it). For the serious chewers, try the Extreme Kong compare prices filled with yummy food and then frozen overnight. There are other Kong-like stuffable dog toys on the market you can try. Experiment with mixtures of the following ingredients:
- Yogurt (plain)
- Canned pumpkin (no more than about a tablespoon per serving, more can cause diarrhea)
- Canned dog food
- Ground beef or other ground meat (plain, lean)
- Shredded chicken or turkey (plain, lean)
- Diced carrots and/or apples
- Mini dog treats
- Your dog's kibble
Mix the desired ingredients together. You can do this by hand or with a blender or food processor.
For easy stuffing, put the mixture in a frosting piping bag. If you don't have this, try filling a plastic zip-top bag and cutting one of the bottom corners off. Squeeze the bag's content into the Kong or other stuffable toy. Freeze for at least two hours (but overnight is best) before serving.
Baby Food Pops
Don't feel like mixing up treats? Pick up some baby food from the grocery store (the kind in plastic containers is a safer bet). Be sure to choose formulas that contain no toxic food ingredients (like onions). Beef, chicken, sweet potato, and fruit formulas work especially well. Freeze in packaging overnight, then serve. Always supervise your dog when feeding these to make sure she doesn't eat the plastic.
NOTE: When feeding dog treats, remember that treats should never make up more than about 10% of your dog's daily food intake.