Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
Puppy Ice Pops for the Dog Days of Summer
As the sizzling dog days of summer approach, your pampered dog may look at you with languid eyes as you refresh yourself with a delicious ice cream cone or popsicle. You know for a fact that those chocolate bits aren't good for him and that all those artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners can do more harm than good. That dairy in the ice cream can also cause some GI upset.
Wouldn't it be great if your dog could also enjoy a "pupsicle"? Puppy ice pops are a healthy solution that will keep your dog happy and refreshed during those soaring temperatures. These dog-friendly treats are very easy to make and use simple ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen.
Best of all, you can rotate flavors so that your dog won't ever get bored, and you can surprise him every time. It doesn't hurt to get creative, as long as you know which foods are safe and which foods are harmful. Do your research well, as there are many seemingly innocent ingredients that can be harmful to your dog.
Skip the Stick: It's a Choking Hazard
You might imagine that puppy ice pops would look similar to ice pops for humans, but popsicle sticks can be a choking hazard for dogs and may also cause an intestinal obstruction. And don't assume that if you hold the stick while your dog licks, as the picture above shows, that your dog will be safe. Countless dogs have still managed to swallow these sticks—even when they are being held by their owners. So skip the popsicle stick and play it safe by using ice cube trays or safe Kongs, instead.
7 Puppy Ice Pop Ideas
1. Banana Peanut Butter
Mix some organic peanut butter (make sure it's not sweetened with xylitol which is toxic to dogs!) with a little bit of water and about half a mashed banana. Place the mix into your ice cube tray and serve when frozen. Alternatively, you can stuff your dog's Kong with this mixture for a longer-lasting treat.
2. Treats Galore
Place some water in the ice cube trays and insert in the middle your dog's favorite treats or a few of his kibble. Once frozen, the treat will be suspended inside the ice cube and your dog will need to melt the ice cube to get to it. This is a great way to keep your dog hydrated and entertained.
3. Chicken Broth
If you have some leftover chicken, toss in a pot and make some good broth by adding a few carrots and peas. Skip the garlic and onion as they're harmful for dogs. Then strain the broth with carrots and peas and place into ice cubes or Kong and serve to your dog. Homemade broth is preferable to store-bought broth which can be too high in sodium or may contain onion and garlic.
4. Electrolyte Hydration
On a very hot day, you may be concerned about your dog not being able to hydrate enough. In this case, give your dog a treat while helping him recuperate some electrolytes. In this case, freeze some Gatorade or Pedialyte for your pooch.
In this case, use plain canned pumpkin and mix with a few crushed dog cookies. Freeze in ice cube trays or inside a Kong. Make sure that you use plain pumpkin and not the pie filling with all those spices added.
6. Yogurt Apple Butter
Mix a cup of plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1/3 cup applesauce. Place in the ice cube tray and serve these healthy treats to your pooch.
7. Strawberry Mint
Want your pooch to be refreshed and at the same time have some refreshing breath? Try to blend some organic strawberries with a few mint leaves and some coconut water. Note: avoid pennyroyal, a member of the mint family which can be harmful to dogs.
Note: These ice pops are to be used as an occasional treat. Because they can be messy, they are obviously best served outside. If your dog has allergies or any other medical condition, don't use ingredients that can trigger problems and always ask your vet about ingredients you are 100 percent not sure about.
How to Make Your Ice Pops Fancy
Your dog may care less about the shape of your ice pops, but what if you care? You may have a party and want to have some refreshments for pooches or may want to impress your family and friends. Then invest in some time on making adorable shapes that will make those dog ice pops stick out and impress. Here are some tips:
- Invest in a Kong Easy-Freeze Kit. This kit will allow you to dish out adorable dog ice pops shaped like a Kong. Best of all, you can purchase mixes that already come flavored. Will your dog have chicken soup, juicy apple, white cheddar or sweet potato tonight?
- Purchase fun-shaped ice trays. You may be lucky to find bone-shaped ice trays, dog-shaped ice trays and paw-shaped ice trays so you can stay on theme.
- Party themes. If you are hosting a party, make the dog treats shaped as the theme of the party. For instance, on a scorching fourth of July holiday, you can use ice trays shaped as flags or stars.
The sky is the limit when it comes to mixing your dog's favorite foods to turn them into refreshing summer treats. Have fun!
Dog Ice Cream Recipe from a Chef
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 29, 2013:
Thanks for pinning Victoria. This title popped up as an exclusive title and couldn't let it go since we already have 90 degree days here and was looking for some ways to cool our dogs which are already panting. The good thing is that some of these recipes sound good for me too!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 29, 2013:
Thanks for stopping by Agility Match and for the votes up! Summer is already here in Arizona and we have already 90 degrees, so were already freezing some goodies for our dogs.
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on April 28, 2013:
Awesome ideas. I'm pinning this to my pet board. I'll be referring back to this for my Gizmo this summer! Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting! Thank you for this.
Kristin Kaldahl on April 28, 2013:
Voted up and useful. I'm always freezing stuff in my dogs' Kongs. Great ideas here. :)