Summer is a time equally enjoyed by canine kind as it is by us humans. Tuning into the holiday spirit, dogs lap it up at the beach, at picnics and on road trips where they can chase new sticks and receive delicious summer treats. Whether you’ve got an adult pup or a puppy in training, we’ve dedicated this article to summer treat ideas and recipes just for them.
Psssst! Be summer smart
As a general rule, remember to keep your furry baby super hydrated on warmer days, especially if they’ve been active. Unlike us, dogs can’t sweat to cool down. This means that if they get too hot, their internal body temperature can be high enough to cause dehydration and heat stroke. Also keep in mind that your pups can burn their footpads on hot surfaces and should steer clear from chlorinated pools (itchy skin and tummy upsets are common reactions). On that note, let’s move on to the fun part: cold treats for dogs in summer!
1. Iced Bell & Bone Freeze-Dried Treats
You might have read our raving reviews about freeze-dried dog treats in previous articles - and that’s because they are truly something to write home about. These nutritious, raw snacks are perfect pick-me-ups and dog training treats. Not to mention, they are ideal frozen dog treats for summer. You can choose from our Chicken, Broccoli and Ginger range for balanced gut health and sensitive tummies, Kangaroo, Spinach and Kelp for increased energy levels or our Salmon Carrot and Kale treats for shiny coats and skin. For Bell & Bone treat serving recommendations, head to the end of this article.
How do I freeze them?
Simply place freeze-dried treats inside an ice cube tray, submerge the tray in water and freeze (a second time!). Once frozen, let your pup enjoy them outside. The ice will keep your furry baby hydrated and cool in the warmer days - and the strong scent of the treats will keep your dog chasing these frozen goodies around the garden!
2. Frozen Greek Yoghurt Icy Poles
Are you surprised? Frozen yoghurt icy poles are absolutely delicious. High in calcium and protein, Greek yoghurts are typically full of live cultures and active bacteria which act as a prebiotic for the digestive system. As far as the berries go, blueberries are famously rich in antioxidants, fibre and vitamins C and K. In moderation, they’re a great addition to any homemade dog treat and summer snack.
Psssst! If your pup is new to dairy products, there’s a chance it could be lactose intolerant. To introduce yoghurt safely, first give your furry baby a small amount and see how they respond. If you see any signs of a tummy upset, keep clear of dairy products.
How do I make this?
Scatter strawberries and blueberries into your ice tray or dog treat mold. Spoon over Greek yoghurt, smoothing over the top and filling in evenly. Tap your tray or mold on the counter to ensure the mixture is evenly distributed and that air bubbles can escape. Freeze overnight or for a minimum of 5 hours. Once frozen, tap on the counter to loosen and turn the mould out. You can store these frozen dog treats in the freezer for up to 3 months!
3. (Some) Summer fruit
When summertime comes around, our kitchens become populated with nature’s candy. Fruits of all colours and flavours, rich in fibre, nutrients, minerals and vitamins, make their way onto our picnic blankets and straight into our diets. These summer staples are perfect treats for your pup and can be enjoyed at room temperature or frozen for a well-deserved refreshing doggy training snack.
Psssst! Like everything, moderation is key. While fruits do contain the above health benefits, they also contain sugar. In small amounts, this is perfectly fine. To avoid overdoing it, cut fruit into small portions and moderate your snack-giving.
Watermelon is a summer favourite and if you ask your dogs, they’ll agree with you wholeheartedly. Not only is it the perfect afternoon pick-me-up snack but it also packs a mighty nutritional punch. Full of vitamins A, C and B6, your pup will be enjoying a treat that supports its immune system, coat and skin, cell regeneration and even gut health (thanks fibre). Not to mention, watermelon is mostly - you guessed it - made of water!
Psssst! Whilst this treat is super hydrating and low in calories, avoid feeding the seeds and the rind to your pup. They are difficult to chew and digest and could pose a threat to your dog's teeth and digestive tract.
Kiwi is safe for dogs and contains healthy doses of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. It also contains flavonoids and carotenoids, antioxidants famous for cell rejuvenation, immune system support and disease prevention. The soluble dietary fiber found in kiwis can also help stimulate regular and healthy digestion. Oh, and like watermelon, kiwis are mostly made up of water (80%).
Psssst! Whilst this summer treat is soft and chewy, remember to cut off both ends of the fruit. These parts are harder for your pup to digest and could result in tummy issues for sensitive guts. As with all fruits, wash the skin to remove pesticides.
4. Coconut Oil and Frozen Berry Drops
If you’re familiar with our Superfood, Freeze Dried and Dental treat ranges, you’ll know that we’re big advocates of coconut and coconut oil. That’s because coconuts are famous for their superfood properties that support immunity, the digestive system, bone health, shiny coats and glowing skin. Oh, and your pup will absolutely love treats containing them.
Psssst! As we always say, quality counts. Don’t skimp on your coconut oil. Instead, look for organic, extra-virgin coconut oil in glass jars. You also want to find cold-pressed coconut oil. With these treats, moderation is also very important. Be judicious in handing them out to your furry baby.
How do I make frozen berry drops?
Place frozen blueberries into each ice mold and set aside. Then, in a small saucepan, heat ½ a cup of coconut oil until it liquefies. Allow coconut oil to cool for a few minutes, then carefully pour oil into the ice mold. Leave ice tray in freezer to solidify and remove once the coconut oil drops are solid. You can keep these frozen dog treats in the freezer for up to 3 months!
5. Cold fruit and vegetables with a little bit of peanut butter
You might be surprised to learn this, but your dogs also love peanut butter! To spruce up your pup’s fruit and veggie summer treats add a little bit of PB for a drool-worthy flavour. This can be frozen to be enjoyed on a hot summer day.
Pssst! This is definitely an occasional snack. Peanut butter is high in fat so with this summer dog treat, less is more. Look for PB options that are natural, containing only peanuts. Look out for Xylitol (a sugar substitute found in lower or sugar-free products) in the ingredient list as it’s toxic for pups.
How many Bell Bone treats should I give my dog per day?
The number of treats your dog should have each day will depend on its breed, size, age and activity level. Something to note is that Bell and Bone is a treat, it should be fed as a snack not to replace meals. The following guide is intended for dogs with regular exercise and a healthy weight.
Should I use dog treats to train my dog?
As mentioned above, there are a variety of treat options to suit any type of pup. These delicious treats, when given together with praise, are the perfect way to help train your dog. However, there are some things to consider when training your dog using treats. Treating in moderation is vital - it is important not to overfeed your dog using treats as it can upset their sensitive stomachs. Also, choosing the correct type of treat that is both healthy and natural is super important for your dog’s general wellbeing.
Being a dedicated dog owner often involves asking the right questions, seeking the right advice and, most importantly, checking in with your pup to make sure that it's healthy and happy. When in doubt, or in the event of health concerns, always consult a professional. Head to our FAQs page for more answers to dog treat-related questions. If you have any other questions, please feel free to get in touch with me and I'll make it a priority to keep you informed and empowered.
Featured photo credit: @mavandlil