From Whole Dog Journal

By CJ Puotinen

Published:June 21, 2022Updated:June 30, 2022

If your dog is too hot this summer, cool her off and make her happy with healthy homemade frozen dog treats like “pupsicles”!

popsicles for dogs
For “pupsicles,” use an edible “stick” such as a slice of carrot. The downside of frozen treats is that they melt, and melting treats can be messy. If you’re feeding indoors, try serving frozen dog treats on a towel, mat, or other surface that protects furniture and flooring.

Our dogs are just as fond of ice cream, popsicles, and other frozen treats as we are. But frozen treats, including those sold for pets, can be high in sugar, difficult to digest, expensive, or contain artificial flavors, colors, and even potentially dangerous ingredients. 

Fortunately, it’s easy to save money, add variety, improve the nutritional content of your dog’s treats, and help your hot dog cool down as temperatures climb with these homemade frozen dog treats.

How to Make The Best Frozen Dog Treats in Town

Ingredients: Avoid ingredients that are harmful to dogs, such as the sweetener xylitol, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, onions, and chocolate. Prevent unwanted weight gain by limiting fruits, fruit juices, and other sources of sugar, and feed all “extra” treats in moderation. 

Many dogs are lactose-intolerant, which can make regular ice cream and frozen milk products indigestible. Substituting fermented dairy products like yogurt or kefir, or using unsweetened coconut milk, which is lactose-free, helps dogs avoid digestive problems.

Equipment: Recommended equipment includes a sharp knife and cutting board, blender or food processor, and something to hold and shape treats during freezing, such as simple ice cube trays, sturdy rubber chew toys, popsicle molds, paper cups, silicone molds, wooden strips, and edible sticks.

Storage: Once treats are frozen, place them in air-tight freezer containers or zip-lock bags for freezer storage. This prevents sublimation, during which frozen foods dehydrate, and it prevents the transmission of odors to and from other foods. 

Frozen Dog Treat Disclaimer: If your dog loves to chew ice cubes, she’s not alone – but ice cubes are potentially hazardous. According to Tennessee pet dentist Barden Greenfield, DVM, “Dogs have a tendency to chew too hard and the force of breaking ice is substantial. This leads to a slab fracture (broken tooth) of the upper 4th premolar, which many times exposes the pulp, leading to tremendous oral pain and discomfort. Treatment options are root canal therapy or surgical removal.” 

The risk of breaking a tooth increases with the size of frozen cubes, so avoid this problem by freezing small cubes, offer shaved ice instead of cubes, or add ingredients that produce softer cubes, such as those described here. Small amounts of honey, which can have health benefits for dogs, help prevent a “too hard” freeze. 

Use whatever safe ingredients you have on hand, and experiment with quantities. There is no single “right” way to make a frozen treat that your dog will relish. An easy way to predict whether your dog will enjoy a frozen treat is to offer a taste (such as a teaspoon) before freezing. If your dog loves it, perfect. If not, add a more interesting bonus ingredient.

Simple Frozen Kong Ideas for Easy Frozen Dog Treats

Nothing could be easier than filling a sturdy dishwasher-safe, nontoxic, hollow, hard rubber toy such as a Classic Kong with any of the following ingredients before leaving it in the freezer. Block any extra holes to prevent leakage, leaving one large hole open for filling. Popular dog-safe ingredient options include:

  • Mashed ripe banana
  • Pureed soft fruit or vegetables (remove seeds or pits before blending)
  • Canned dog food
  • Nut butter (look for sugar-free peanut butter or other nut butters that do not contain xylitol)
  • Diced apple
  • Chopped or shredded carrots
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut
  • Plain unsweetened yogurt or kefir
  • Dog treats

Combine your dog’s favorite ingredients and fill the hollow toy. If desired, seal the top with a layer of peanut butter, squeeze cheese, or a dog treat paste such as Kong’s Stuffin’ Paste. Store the toy so its contents remain in place while freezing. For storage, keep frozen Kongs in a sealed freezer container or zip-lock bag. 

Another simple summer treat is a few chunks of frozen dog-safe fruits or vegetables delivered by hand or in a small bowl, such as banana, apple, peach, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, or green beans.

frozen dog treats made some ice trays and popsicles for dogs

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