by Kea Grace
Summertime is hot! Everyone loves a cool treat during this warm season… even animals. Frozen dog treats are always a hit with furry friends. You can use items you already have in the kitchen to whip up some homemade, budget-friendly goodies for your working or service dog.
You don’t need to be a culinary whiz to impress your pooch. Frozen dog treats are far more simple to make than most people would imagine. Commercial varieties often cost $3 or more per treat, which makes them unaffordable for many teams. But all you need are a few simple ingredients and an ice cube tray, and you’ll be on your way to a happy, refreshed dog.
Silicone ice cube trays or baking molds work really well for frozen dog treats. They’re easy to find, inexpensive and simple to clean. Amazon, for example, sells a paw print mold for just $5.29 and a double pack of paw print and bone mold for $11.99.
Ingredients for Frozen Dog Treats
Frozen dog treats use a simple premise. Take a base that will freeze solid enough to handle with ease and then add accents like fruit, cheese, shredded meats, nuts, kibble, peanut butter, etc. — the pup-pleasing possibilities are endless! Use ingredients your working or service dog will like and add tidbits with some health benefits. Some ideas for the base include plain yogurt, pumpkin, wet dog food, applesauce, avocado and Parmesan cheese mixed into water to form a paste. You need something dog-friendly with high moisture content that’s soft when not frozen.
You can also blend bases. Yogurt mixes really well with pumpkin, peanut butter or both. Applesauce is great with pumpkin or mashed bananas and peanut butter. Don’t be afraid to get creative… your dog will love trying new treats! Texture will vary depending on your ingredients and how you mix them. If you blend everything in a blender, they’ll be much smoother than if you mix them with a spoon or swirl them. Just like their human partners, different dogs like different things, so go ahead and experiment.
Accent ideas for frozen dog treats are endless. Berries, bananas, shredded carrot or sweet potato, chunks of meat or cheese, kibble, green beans and so on. The list is limited only by safety and things your dog likes. Any ingredients you add should be low-sodium, chemical or additive free, and free of artificial sweeteners of all kinds. Avoid grapes, raisins, onions and other unsafe foods.
Frozen Dog Treats Instructions
Once you’ve selected your ingredients, grab a mixing bowl and a spoon. Mix or blend your bases. Spoon enough of the mixture into the mold to cover the bottom of each section. Next, add your accent foods to the bowl. Stir thoroughly to evenly distribute them throughout the remaining mixture. Use your spoon to fill each mold section to the top, making sure to smooth the treats across and scrape excess mixture away from the edges.
Finally, consider any additional add-ins. Does your dog take a daily pill? Put the pill in the center of the treat. How about powdered joint supplements, like Nature Farmacy’s PhytoFlex? Stir a day’s worth or half a day’s worth into each section with a toothpick. As long as your add-in isn’t bitter, your dog probably won’t even notice it’s there.
Freeze your treats until solid, which is about 4 hours for most bases. Pop them out of the mold once they’re ready, and label a baggie with “DOGS” and any medicinal ingredients in the mix. Even if there isn’t medicine in the treats, label the baggie with “DOGS” to avoid confusion. Place all the treats in the baggie and store in the freezer. Share one or two a day with your pet, depending on size.
Originally published by Anything Pawsable; reprinted with permission. Feature photo credit: Anything Pawsable.