With Independence Day just a day away, many of my readers will be enjoying cookouts and parties. Where there are parties, there’s always food! Sometimes, dogs are a part of those festivities, and it’s smart to plan ahead with some special treats that are healthy and safe for your dogs to eat! No one wants to be up all night with their dog’s tummy troubles for eating too much junk food! I’m no chef, so believe me when I say there’s a lot of value to me in keeping things simple!
When we think of dog treats, we often think that we need to go to the pet store to get commercially made treats. I like having a balance of some commercial dog treats with some yummy homemade treats. Because I’m making them, I know exactly what goes into them, and I know that they are safe for my dog! And it’s also a little bit of a labor of love, because Rugby’s eyes almost pop out of his head when he gets something extra special from the hands of his Uprights!
Because it’s so hot this time of year, I’m going to give you some ideas for cool treats that require no cooking. These can easily be transported by a cooler if you’re traveling to someone else’s home. You can do something as simple as cutting safe fruit or veggies and freezing on parchment paper. Frozen banana or apple slices will be very welcome to your dog, and the same can be said of carrot slices or green beans. For teething puppies, frozen baby carrots can be a good way to help provide an edible chew toy! Pop them in a ziploc bag and you’re good to go!
If you want to create something more elaborate, you can easily make frozen delights in an ice cube tray. Spray the tray with non-stick spray to make your treats easier to remove later. Fortunately, most dogs really aren’t picky, so if you mix and match some tastes, you’ve got a good chance that your dog will still eat it! Canned pumpkin (not pie filling) can make a great base for so many things! You can easily mix in peanut butter or plain lowfat yogurt (I use Greek) and freeze in ice cube trays. This makes it easy to transport, and you’re offering portion control as well. Remember, you don’t have to fill each compartment to the top. If you fill them partway, you’ll give your dog more goodies to enjoy, which won’t hurt his feelings one little bit!
Think about chopping safe fruits or veggies to mix into the pumpkin cubes, and you’ll have a great treat that’s healthy, easy to prepare, and fun for your dog. You can also use kibbles or other small treats to mix in as well if you like. I tried putting in a few Rice Krispies, and it was so fun listening to them “snap, crackle and pop” when mixed with the pumpkin! Be creative and have fun with different tastes and textures.
If you prefer to keep your dog occupied for a longer amount of time with his treat, you can freeze the fillings into a standard Kong toy as well. If he doesn’t get all of the goo out, you can easily wash the Kong in your dishwasher on the top rack just like a glass.
Just a word of wisdom: More is not always better when it comes to how many treats our dogs get! Most dogs in America are overfed and under-exercised, because to many Americans, food = love. Try bringing some of your dog’s kibble along in a baggie, and you can offer your standard dog food as a little extra nibble now and then too. If you offer a smaller breakfast and supper, you’re making room for some special treats for your dog throughout the day without adding on pounds or making your dog sick.