It’s a hot summer’s day and the garden thermometer is creeping up to 100°F. Fido is sitting in the yard, panting heavily. Is feeding Fido a delicious ice cream a good idea? A couple of licks for your pooch can’t be that bad?
Before we share with you a delicious homemade ice cream recipe, you must first understand the four reasons for why feeding your dog commercial ice cream can be a bad idea:
1.Humans are one of only a few mammals who consume milk after infancy; dog’s do not. In other words, after a puppy finishes weaning, they do not consume dairy in their natural diet. The only reason matured dogs drink milk is because their owners choose to feed it to them.
2. Many mature dogs are lactose intolerant. This can result in Fido becoming constipated or vomiting.
3. Commercial ice cream has a massive amount of sugar which can lead to obesity in your dog; over 50% of canines in America are obese. Dog’s historically had a protein and fat dense diet with minimal carbohydrates. Ice cream is the complete opposite in nutritional balance of this, with heavy carbohydrates and not much protein.
4. Many organizations choose to use additives such as xylitol (i.e., sugar sweetener) and theobromine (i.e., chocolate flavorings); both of which are very dangerous and toxic to your dog.
So, to be safe, no commercial ice cream for Fido. A combination of the four reasons above can result in your dog suffering from bloating, diarrhea, vomiting or constipation and an unwanted vet trip if overfed on ice cream.
However, this doesn’t mean Fido should miss out on a delicious frozen treat to cool him down during those hot summer months.
While some pet owners may opt for something easier such as a slice of frozen pineapple for their dog. We want to share something a little bit more adventurous.
So, if you’re feeling a little bold and really want to give your dog a treat, they won’t forget. Then it’s time to make some homemade dog ice cream. We have included our favorite two recipes below, both of which are well balanced, nutritional dog treats for those hot summer days.
Creamy Banana Dog Ice Cream
Bananas are considered a superfood packed with high levels of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6. What better treat for your dog than a superfood in a delicious creamy form?
To start with, we need to get the supplies in. We will need bananas (our superfood) Greek yogurt (less dairy than milk) and Peanut Butter (natural thickening agent and packed with protein).
Our Shopping List
- 1 x 12 Ice Cube Tray
- 1 x Banana
- 1 cup of non-dairy Yogurt (i.e., ¼ of a liter)
- ¼ cup of Peanut Butter
Once we have returned home with our ingredients at the ready, peel and prepare the banana by cutting it into 1cm slices.
Top-Tip: A Dog should never be fed banana peels, they are not healthy for your dog and can cause an upset stomach.
Once the banana is sliced into even chunks, measure out 1 cup of Greek yogurt and place it into a blender. Finally, add a quarter cup of peanut butter onto the top and turn on that blender!
You should blend the mixtures until it becomes creamy and smooth, this should take between 30 to 60 seconds; once blended pour the mixture into your ice cube tray. Now place it in the freezer for two hours.
Test the Ice Cream
The ice cream should be creamy and full, while not being frozen solid.
Your Pooch is now ready to eat some ice cream!
Strawberry and Coconut Dog Ice Cream
Like Bananas, Strawberries are also considered a superfood; as is coconut. Packed with Vitamin C, fiber and manganese, Strawberries are an excellent fruit choice for Fido.
Our Shopping List
- 1 x 12 Ice Cube Tray
- ½ cup of Strawberries
- 1 cup of Natural Yoghurt
- ½ cup of Coconut Butter
Like last time, prepare the fruit first.
Take your half cup of strawberries and prepare them by removing the tops and slicing in half.
Once the strawberries are prepared, place them inside a blender with the natural yogurt and coconut butter. As this mixture is a little lighter than the creamy banana recipe, you should aim to blend for between 15 and 30 seconds to get the right consistency.
Once the mixture is smooth and well mixed, without any lumps, pour it into the ice cube tray. Place your tray in the freezer for up to three hours.
Again, make sure the delicious snack hasn’t frozen solid but is more of a smooth frozen surface that Fido can easily consume.
Feeding Your Dog Ice Cream
Regardless of whether you decided to make a creamy banana dog ice cream or the strawberry and coconut variety, you need to make sure you don’t overfeed your pooch these delicious snacks.
Feeding a dog ice cream is not much different than feeding your dog a healthy snack. It should be supporting a well-balanced protein dense diet for your dog.
A quick rule of thumb is to use the 10% rule. Snacks, treats, nibbles, and scraps should not account for more than 10% of your dog’s calorie intake. If they exceed this threshold, it’s likely your dog isn’t getting a nutrient balanced diet.
When we consider smaller dogs, who sometimes only need to consume 300 calories a day, this really isn’t that many snacks.
If your dog weighs 40lbs, they would consume around 800 calories per day. This assumes they aren’t a puppy or an active dog; in which case, their calorie intake would be far higher.
In this instance, for a 40lb dog, your pooch’s snacks should not exceed 80 calories per day.
Given the delicious doggie recipes above, this would equate to around 30 calories per cube of doggie ice cream. So, Fido is safe to enjoy between two to three cubes of creamy banana ice cream on a hot summers day.
Remember: Overfeeding your pooch on homemade ice cream can be just as bad as overfeeding them on commercial ice cream. Bananas fed in excess can cause constipation for Fido.
So, there you go. Two superb, easy to make, dog ice cream recipes.
Next time you feel the heat rising and see the thermometer climbing, make sure to prepare some delicious frozen snacks for Fido rather than serving commercial ice cream.
Choose from either the Creamy Banana Dog Ice Cream or the Strawberry and Coconut Dog Ice Cream recipes, and you will have a very happy dog!
About the Author
John Woods is a dog lover, enthusiast and author at All Things Dogs. He has studied animal behavior and welfare and is on a mission to educate 40M dog owners on how to care for dogs.