It’s the middle of July, and as we brace ourselves for the next heat wave, I’m thinking of ways to keep my pup cool, too. The evening news features footage of zookeepers serving frozen treats to captive animals – from frozen bananas and fruit juice to whole frozen fish and bloodcicles (awesome if you’re a tiger, I suppose) none of the animals deny a frozen treat for a few minutes of relief from these oppressive temperatures. So, what can we offer our pets at home? There are plenty of options.
Chances are, you know your dog’s appetite better than anyone. If you know what he likes, then making your own pup-cicles will be fun and easy. Start with a clean container that you can fit into your freezer. You can use anything from ice cube trays to plastic jugs, rubber toys (kongs work great) or even buckets depending what kind of dog or how many dogs your preparing treats for – muffin tins and popsicle forms also work great.
Next formulate your mixture. There are lots of possibilities when creating frozen treats for your pet. It can be as simple as filling some ice cube trays with natural or low sodium chicken or beef broth or stuffing a kong toy with peanut butter and oatmeal. Or you can get more creative with the mix. Add some kibble, training treats or even some cooked lean meat to the broth before popping the cubes into the freezer for a special surprise. It doesn’t have to be entirely meaty either. Most dogs have a taste for fruits and veggies, too. Add sliced, chopped or pureed bananas, apples, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot parsley or pineapple and see what he thinks! You can even go full fruit or veggie if your dog likes it that way. Non-fat plain yogurt, lactose-free milk or cottage cheese can replace the broth to create creamy treats. Depending on the size of the treats you create, your dog will be loving you in a matter of a few short hours. Insert a bully stick or other stick-like chew when the treats are half frozen as a tasty and tantalizing holder if you like, but all frozen treats should be served outside to save you the melting mess inside.
Cash and Carry
If creativity and food prep isn’t your thing, have no fear. Plain ice cubes or crushed ice can be a refreshing addition to the water bowl, free and effortless. If you allow your dog to chew bones, frozen marrow bones can be a long-lasting distraction under a shady tree. Just be sure to watch your pet if you gve them a bone to enjoy and discard it when the marrow is all licked out. And of course companies, like Frosty Paws, are now creating doggie “ice cream” that’s ready to serve in portioned cups. You can often find these or similar products in many pet stores and even in some grocer’s freezers.
Next time you sip a shake or smoothie, be sure to have a frosty treat ready for your four pawed friend, too, you may be surprise how much they appreciate it!