By Madisyn Marker, Animal Care Technician for the Humane League of Lancaster County
With summer coming up, there’s no better time to learn new ways to keep your pups cool in the heat. First, let’s talk about why it’s so important to keep dogs cool when it’s hot out. For starters, dogs don’t sweat like humans can so they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature. Overheated dogs can suffer heat exhaustion, heat stroke or sudden death from cardiac arrhythmia. While these are all serious issues people run into, there are plenty of ways to help prevent it.
Frozen dog snacks are a great way to help keep your forever friend cool in the summer. Not only is it tasty and refreshing but they can make great enrichment too! Frozen snacks can vary from ingredients to size to complexity. What’s your dog’s favorite snack? Is it something you can incorporate into a frozen treat? The answer is likely yes and here’s how.
Frozen water bowls are fun and enriching for the brain. They are super easy to make too. All you need is a container that will fit in your freezer. Your container can be a dog bowl, an old box laying around or Tupperware. Your container of choosing has to be able to hold water without leaks. You can fill the whole container up, freeze it and serve as is or you can make it a fun game. If you want to add a little pizzazz to it there are different routes you can go. If you’re uninterested in making layers all you have to do is fill your container, drop some of your dog’s favorite snacks (fruit, veggies, etc.) freeze it up and serve. If you want to go all out, you can freeze different layers with different snacks. Example: Fill the container just a little bit, drop some cut carrots in and freeze. Next fill the container up a little more, drop in some chopped watermelon and freeze. Lastly fill the rest of the way, drop in some chopped banana and freeze. Viola! Now you have a complex, layered treat and awesome enrichment for your dog. This will not only help keep your dog cool on those hot days but it’ll give them something to work for as they try to lick their way each frozen treat.
If you are looking for a special frozen goodie for your dog, don’t worry I have just the thing. Now, my dogs love watermelon but that’s not the same for every dog so this recipe will vary depending on what fruit your dog likes. All you need is fruit, molds for fun shapes (cupcake tins will also work) and plain Greek yogurt (optional). Of course, yogurt and other snacks should be given in moderation but every good boy and girl deserves to be a little spoiled from time to time. First, you’ll start by placing a little Greek yogurt in the bottom of your tin or mold. You can surpass this step if your dog is lactose intolerant or if you don’t want your dog to have yogurt. Next, blend your fruit until liquid and pour into tin or molds. Lastly, place your work of art in the freezer and once frozen, serve. These treats are sweet and satisfying.
Even though frozen treats will help cool your dog down, please remember that if your dog is outside they should have access to fresh water, shade and the option to go inside if they choose. These are a couple frozen choices but the possibilities are endless! Now that you’re a pro at making some pawsome frozen fun, get creative and explore new ideas! Don’t be afraid to get your paws a little dirty and have a blast while bonding with your furry friend over ice cold snacks.