On those hot, hazy days, we all want to stay cool and comfortable outdoors. While humans can keep cool through sweating and dressing appropriately for the heat, our canine friends don’t have it so easy, especially considering they wear fur coats all year long!
Dogs rely mainly on panting to keep cool; using air outside the body to cool the blood inside the body through their tongue. This is a pretty inefficient way to keep cool, so we cannot always rely on panting alone to safely regulate our dogs’ body temperature, especially when the heat and humidity are high. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real risks that affect hundreds, if not thousands of dogs annually.
Keeping your canine companion cool doesn’t always mean taking a trip to the beach. One of the most effective cool-down solutions is found no further than your freezer – ice! Getting creative with iced treats can be healthy, delicious, and will keep your pooch as cool as a cucumber when it’s needed most. Why not give it a try and check out our tried-and-true, cheap, and easy to make iced treat recipes!
Peanut Butter & Banana Blast
1 cup smooth peanut butter (organic, if possible)
1 cup water or low sodium broth
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until well mixed. Add more or less water depending on your desired consistency. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Give a few to your pup as an outdoor treat on hot days.
Not only are these treats delicious – what dog doesn’t like peanut butter, right? – but they contain healthy fats, and the potassium in bananas helps to maintain proper fluid balance throughout the body.
The Breath Buster
1 sprig fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh mint
1 cup non-dairy yogurt or coconut milk
½ cup blueberries
Combine parsley, mint, and yogurt or coconut milk and gently blend on medium speed for 45 seconds. Add the blueberries after blending. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Give a few to your pup as an outdoor treat on hot days.
While the mint and parsley will help freshen your pup’s breath, the yogurt or coconut milk will add great texture and flavour. Blueberries are low in calories, but packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fibre. Depending on your dog’s breath, some dogs may need more than others to keep bad breath at bay.
The GOAT (Greatest of all Treats)
This is where you can have lots of fun and show off your creativity. Begin by selecting a sealable, freezer-friendly container, such as a Pyrex or Tupperware container. Go for a container as big as you can fit in your freezer.
Add a combination of your pet’s favourite consumables: kibble, biscuits, veggies, fruits, meats, you name it. You can even add toys, raw bones, or chicken necks, and pretty much anything else that can fit in the container (as long as it’s freezer safe).
Pack all the goodies in the container and fill with water or low sodium broth, then freeze! Because this is a larger container than an ice cube tray, it will take much longer to freeze throughout.
While the ice cubed treats listed above are typically consumed in quick fashion, this particular treat will/should last a while. It’s perfect for those heatwave-type days when you need a long-lasting cool-down treat. Watch as your dog reacts in amazement as each lick reveals new yummy surprises.
Of course, it’s easy to change any of these recipes to best suit your dog’s individual palette. There are endless options for tasty and nutritious iced treat combinations, so get creative and stay cool this summer!
Brandon Forder – also known as The Pet Expert – is vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection, a family-owned and -operated business located in Meaford. He has over twenty years’ experience specializing in pet nutrition, behaviour and lifestyle. Canadian Pet Connection is an industry leader committed to providing their clients with the highest levels of personal, attentive service. Learn more at www.CanadianPetConnection.ca.