Summer’s not quite over yet, and September can still bring sultry temps that require a little cooling off for man and his best friend. While we have the convenience of the neighborhood ice cream truck making the rounds, our pets rely on us for refreshing treats that not only taste good but serve to cool them down. Unfortunately, ice cream isn’t the best thing for dogs, as dairy doesn’t always agree with them. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of other frozen concoctions we can’t come up with for our four-legged friends to beat the heat. Sure, you can toss a few ice cubes their way and they’ll crunch their way to happiness, but why not add a little flavor and even nutrition in your frozen dog treats?
Broth Cube Popsicles
This first suggestion is actually pretty well known, but I’m including it just in case you’re not aware of this super easy frozen treat your pet is sure to love when it's hot outside. Go ahead and grab yourself an ice cube tray and fill it with broth. It can be chicken, beef, seafood of even vegetable, but all you have to do is pop it in the freezer and wait for the cubes to set. If you think that’s just too easy and the guilt is creeping in for being a lazy pet mom or dad, try adding a cup of frozen berries and/or a bit of fresh chopped parsley. Just place all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and then freeze.
Creamy Fruit Melts
The list of fruits and vegetables dogs can have is actually quite surprising. Of course, it needs to be washed and any seeds, pits or skins that we humans would consider inedible — like banana peels, orange peels or rinds — be discarded. For creamy fruit melts, just pick something like peaches, apricots, pears or even bananas for the recipe, and don’t be shy about mixing it up with, say, a banana and an apple or a peach and a plum. Plums, like cherries, though, MUST have their pits removed. Besides a chocking issue, they contain cyanide.
You can also substitute a piece of fruit for a cup of mixed berries. Chop two pieces of fruit into small pieces. Combine them with a ½ cup of all natural yogurt or kefir and 1 or 2 tbsps. of Brewer’s yeast and mix well. Spoon the mixture into ice trays or a muffin tin and freeze.
Beef & Vegetables
If your pup is a meat and potatoes kind of dog, we’ve got something for him or her, too. The next time you’ve got left over pot roast or old steak after a weekend bbq, make use of it for a frozen dog treat. You’ll need roughly a cup of chopped meat, 2 cups of vegetables, fresh or frozen, 1 tsp of Brewer’s yeast and a cup of water. Toss/pour all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and then combine until a smooth consistency is reached. After that, pour the resultant mixture into ice trays, a muffin tin or small molds and freeze.
Fruity Poultry Pops
For this recipe, you’ll need one cooked chicken or turkey breast chopped into small pieces, 2 cups of frozen fruit, 1 tbsp. of Brewer’s yeast and a cup of water. Once again, add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. By this point you should know the drill, so pour the mixture into ice trays, small molds or a muffin tin. You can also use the plastic molds for popsicles you use for your family. You can usually find them at big box stores and bargain outlets like dollar stores. Ramekins will work, too, if you have them.
Frozen Dog Treat Tips
By now you’re probably getting the point that you can combine fruits, vegetables and cooked meat of most any kind into a mixture and freeze it for your pets. It’s important to know which fruits and vegetables are off limits to canines to avoid illness or tragedy, so refer to the link provided in the section “Creamy Fruit Melts” before diving in blindly. It’s also important to note that you should never feed dogs grapes or raisins, so avoid these at all costs.
There are other healthy ingredients packed with protein you can use such as peanut butter instead of meat, too. Be creative. In place of water, low sodium broth will work. And remember, Brewer’s yeast is said to be good for ridding your pet of fleas and ticks. Now, go forth and make your dog happy!