Everyone knows that dogs love treats. As temperatures rise over the summer months, you may feel tempted to share your refrigerated or frozen desserts with your four-legged family member. However, many human foods are unhealthy or even hazardous for pets. The good news is that you can craft your own homemade dog treats out of healthy, safe ingredients your dog will love. Check out these cool and refreshing recipes for summertime treats for dogs!
1. Frozen Dog Treats - Fruits or Veggies
Frozen treats for dogs can make summer both more comfortable and more delicious. These treats can be as simple as a bowl of frozen fruits or vegetables. Pineapple, backberries, raspberries, and banana slices all make healthy frozen treats for dogs. They can also safely consume frozen green beans, cucumbers, carrots, or celery.
As healthy as these treats are, dogs can still get too much of a good thing. The natural sugars or fiber in these frozen goodies can cause digestive discomfort if your dog overindulges in them, just as an excess of yogurt can cause discomfort for lactose-intolerant pets. Play it safe by serving modest portions. As an added safety measure, you may also want to give the treats a moment to defrost and soften slightly before subjecting your dog's teeth to them.
2. Chilled Yogurt and Fruit Treats
Yogurt and fruit can combine to make a creamy, sweet treat perfect for summertime. Try dipping whole strawberries in yogurt and placing the yogurt-dipped berries upside-down in the freezer until frozen (repeat these steps if you want to create a thicker coating of yogurt.) You can also freeze a blend of yogurt and blueberries in silicone molds or ice cube trays.
Don't assume that you can use just any fruits in your homemade dog treats. Some fruits, especially grapes, are toxic for dogs. Stick to berries, bananas, pineapple chunks, and various types of melon for safe choices that taste great.
3. Peanut Butter Freezies
Dogs seem to love peanut butter as much as their owners do. Take advantage of this fact by treating your dog to a healthy chilled blend of peanut butter and fruit, checking in advance to make sure the peanut butter doesn't contain xylitol. Two fruits that go well with peanut butter include bananas and strawberries.
You can create peanut butter and strawberry freezies by pureeing strawberries in water, placing the mixture in ice cube trays, and then adding a dollop of peanut butter before freezing.You can also mix banana, peanut butter, yogurt and blueberries to produce a frozen or refrigerated yogurt treat.
If your dog loves both peanut butter and its favorite Kong toy, you can combine those two pleasures by serving up a frozen Kong treat. Stuff the kong with a mixture of peanut butter, honey, and cottage cheese, let it freeze, and then watch your dog have a genuinely cool experience while also getting a healthy dose of protein.
4. Cool Mint Refreshers
Even without the benefit of your refrigerator, mint naturally conveys a cool taste and feeling due to its active ingredient, menthol. If your dog could use a little extra refreshment on a hot summer day, make it some mint freezes out of yogurt, mint leaves, cucumber, and parsley. (The freshening effect on your dog's breath serves as a delightful fringe benefit). Simply blend the ingredients until you achieve the desired consistency and then put it into molds or ice cube trays for freezing.
This summertime treat packs a healthy punch in the form of antioxidants and probiotics. You can enhance the health benefits further by adding a touch of apple cider vinegar, which is good for your dog's heart. If your dog doesn't like this concoction, try another batch without the apple cider vinegar.
5. Watermelon Delights
Dogs enjoy the water content, texture, and sweet taste of watermelon. Of course, they don't realize that they're also getting some serious nutritional benefits from this humble summertime favorite. Watermelon is rich in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
Instead of simply giving your dog a slice of watermelon to gnaw on, which may lead to gastrointestinal problems, you can feed him a safer frozen treat in the form of watermelon popsicles.
Making watermelon popsicles is as easy as blending seedless watermelon chunks into a smooth mixture, pouring the mixture into popsicle molds, and popping the molds into the freezer. Ice cube trays will suffice if you don't feel the need to create classic popsicle shapes.
Watermelon's versatility lends it to a variety of other summertime treats as well. For example, you can blend your pureed watermelon with yogurt, mint, and/or cantaloupe for a more sophisticated snack. You can also choose to keep things as simple as possible by simply refrigerating some watermelon chunks for a cool, hydrating delicacy.
Give Your Pup a Cool, Healthy Taste of Summer
As you can see, it's relatively easy and affordable to create a whole summer's worth of refreshing, nourishing summer treats for dogs using easy-to-find ingredients from your local grocery store. Give the above recipes a try, let your canine critic give them a taste test, and make a note of any favorites! They might go on to become summertime traditions for you and your furry friend!
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