We're still right in the middle of these glorious summer days. As beautiful as they are, temperatures can be scorching - and our dogs can use a nice cool treat just as much as we can! Fortunately, making a few frozen homemade dog treats isn't that hard.
Ice cube trays for a convenient way to freeze small-sized treats. We find the flexible ones are the easiest to use since it's much faster to pop out the treats. You might want to grab a colour that alerts you that the frozen cubes inside aren't meant for human use - I'm guessing that a frozen yogurt-beef-bits cube in your iced tea is probably not what you had in mind!
If you have a bigger dog and want a larger sized treat than ice-cubed size, look for the flexible silicone muffin pans (they come in various sizes). You don't necessarily have to fill the muffin trays to the top - if you want, you can just fill your trays enough to create a flat, disc-shaped treat.
Thinly slice canned dog food and place on waxed paper to freeze. If the canned food is a little on the watery side, you can try refrigerating it overnight to help it firm up a bit before slicing.
Instead of slicing, you can instead mix in a bit of water, then spoon the food into ice cube trays or muffin pans.
Try different varieties of canned food. Our dogs really love frozen canned tripe (just try not to get too close - it's pungent!).
Plain, non-fat yogurt is a great base for frozen treats. You can mix in all sorts of things:
- Canned tuna or salmon (packed in water - don't drain).
- Finely chopped up bits of lean meat (chicken, beef, turkey).
- Raw beef or chicken livers - use only a small amount, as organ meat is very rich! Our dogs prefer it blended with the yogurt, but you can also chop it into bits instead. Use it sparingly!
- Blend the yogurt with the small amount of peanut butter (or peanut butter and mashed banana).
- Use fruit like bananas, apples, blueberries, or strawberries. The fruit can be pureed with the yogurt, or you can simply chop it into small pieces and drop them into the yogurt.
- Puree the yogurt with pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!).
- Shred raw carrots or add green beans and mix into the yogurt.
- ... Or just freeze the yogurt by itself!
Look for low-sodium beef or chicken broth. If you make the broth at home, make sure you strain it, refrigerate overnight, and then skim off the fat. To make these broth-based treats, it's usually easiest to first fill the ice cube trays with whatever mix-ins you want to use... then pour the broth on top. Here are a few suggestions for mix-ins:
- Use any type of leftover lean meat you have, chopped finely. For a little bit of extra richness, sprinkle on a small amount of cheese.
- Use chopped, cooked eggs.
- Veggies are great - shred some carrots or chop up green beans (or use the beans whole if your container is big enough).
- ... Or just freeze the broth, plain! Dogs still love the basic frozen broth 'pupsicle'.
Remember to offer these treats sparingly - the extra calories add up. Make sure the treat isn't so small that it presents a choking hazard, and always supervise your dog while he enjoys his treat.
Frozen treats are best served outside since they can get quite messy as they melt! Wishing you and your furry friends a fantastic summer.