The dog days of summer are definitely here. And just like us, our pets enjoy a cool treat when it’s hot outside.
To find out the safest options, we turned to Dr. Wayne Mercer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at SouthPark Animal Hospital.
“The safest ‘cool down ‘ treat for dogs is crushed or shaved ice — but in moderation,” Dr. Mercer says. “And no ice cubes because they can fracture teeth!”
If your dog has been outside, he says to be aware that too much of something cold on the stomach of a hot dog can cause nausea.
Whether you choose to buy frozen treats, such as Purina’s Frosty Paws, or make your own homemade versions, Dr. Mercer recommends limiting the amount you give your pet the first time. “There are always dogs who eat something new, or too much of something different, and they’ll develop diarrhea,” he says. “It’s best to try it in moderation and see how they do the first time to make sure your dog’s GI track can tolerate it.”
Even if your dog can tolerate store-bought processed snacks such as Frosty Paws, because of the ingredients Dr. Mercer recommends limiting it to just a once-a-day treat.
For a healthier homemade recipe freeze layers of pureed pumpkin, mashed bananas and Greek yogurt in a silicone mold. For fun, try the Paw Print Muffin Pan Ice Cube Mold from Pawsome Doggie ($11.99). It makes tiny two-inch treats and can also be used for mini doggie cakes or muffins.
Freezing broth (chicken, beef or bone) in an ice cube mold is another option. Or pureeing and freezing their favorite fruit (The O Report’s resident dog is wild for watermelon).
For cats, Dr. Mercer says they like pumpkin and dairy also, so you could freeze those or their other favorite ingredients, too., as long as you follow the same rules for dogs (make sure your cat can tolerate the treat and only give it to them in moderation).
Whether it’s your dog or cat, what’s the easiest cool down solution of all? “Just put ice in their water,” Dr. Mercer says.