Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cool Treats for Hot Dogs

A Previous post mentioned some ways to keep dogs cool on the road and outside - this post will offer some ideas for cool treats for your hot dogs!

Frozen Yogurt
Both my guys prefer banana flavor over vanilla.
Back when Frosty Paws (r) came on the market I took one look at the ingredients and thought "self, there's got to be a better way". The main ingredient of frosty paws is soy - not exactly my impression of a wholesome or nutritious product - I basically pictured a cup of frozen coffee creamer - made by Purina. YUCK.  

There are alternatives of course - you just have to be creative. Back when I had lots of extra time (and only one dog) I used to make my own frosty paws from a simple recipe that reflected whatever I had in the fridge or pantry at the time: usually including some combination of the following bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, carrots or peanut butter mixed in a blender with a yogurt base and individually portioned into paper cups and frozen individually (sample recipe below if you're interested). It doesn't take a lot of time of course to make homemade frosty-paws, but eventually I got a little lazy and switched to children's yogurt cups. They come in multi-packs - which is handy. Watch the big name brands like Yoplait and Dannon which come in weird flavors (who really eats watermelon yogurt?) with HUGE amounts of sugar. I often buy the Stonyfield Farm multi-packs (they have O'Soy multi-packs too for dogs that need a non-dairy treat). Eventually I just started buying whatever yogurt was on sale at Shaws - typically stocking up on the store brand non-fat 6oz sizes when they're 25 for $10. Yes - I'm one of THOSE people who will buy 50 cups of yogurt at a time :-)
Murph with a post-swim frozen yogurt.

Pop the yogurt in the freezer and take them out as a treat when you need to occupy your dog for a bit - WAY less work than keeping kongs around (WAY healthier than peanut butter too) and they're always ready to go when you need them.

The savior of puppy teething! Buy Cantaloupe, use an ice cream scoop to make the melon meat into strips, freeze strips and you're good to go! (Outdoor treat).

I know the dogs don't digest them, but carrots are a handy snack to have around for the pooches. Baby carrots can be tossed liberally on the floor (frozen or chilled), or tossed into the pool to play the carrot game.
Full-sized carrots make great rawhide replacements for the wee ones. Even at 13.5 weeks it still takes Kipling a few minutes to work through a carrot. I don't peel them, but I DO cut the nasty tops off and rinse them before feeding.

Partially frozen fish, chicken necks and marrow bones
For the raw feeders these are great cool and settle treats. I've stopped buying turkey necks in bulk because I kept getting more tom necks than hen necks and I prefer the slightly smaller size of the chickens. Marrow bones of all shapes and sizes are (apparently) delicious on a hot summer day!

Frozen Kongs
Kongs can get messy, but a frozen kong is generally less messy and can be tailored calorically to individual dogs. Favorites in frozen kongs around here include peanut butter, greek yogurt, coconut milk (solids), easy cheese, cream cheese or chevre (if you want to share your chevre) and fruit (bananas pressed into a paste mostly).

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