Summer is winding down, but it’s not too late for a few last hurrahs. Why not include the family dog the next time you splurge on some ice cream?

 

Several companies make frozen treats for dog, which are a good option when you’re short on time. But frankly, they seem pretty hard to find on the shelves—at least here in Colorado (maybe the manufacturers think we’re buried in snow 12 months a year?). Has anyone tried any of these? What did you (and more importantly your dog) think?

 

If you can’t find commercially prepared dog ice cream, have no fear. Making a homemade version is super simple and is certainly the way to go if your dog is on a restricted diet or has a sensitive stomach.

 

Your easiest option is just to use your dog’s current food as the base and add in a little something extra to jazz it up. Here are two simple and healthy recipes—one for dry food and one for canned:

 

Dry Dog Food Ice Cream Recipe

 

Mix one cup of your dog’s dry food with one-half cup of plain yogurt and one-half cup plain apple sauce. Microwave on high for one minute to soften the kibble. Blend the mixture together using a hand mixer, blender, potato masher, or stir vigorously with a fork. The final consistency should be similar to pancake batter. If it’s not, adjust your proportions accordingly.

 

Pour a shallow layer of the mixture into some old Tupperware containers or recycled sandwich bags and place them flat in the freezer. Because the mixture is thin, it doesn’t take long to freeze, even if the “batter” is warm. Once frozen, pop the ice cream out of the Tupperware or peel away the sandwich bag, and voilà, it’s ready to eat.

 

Canned Dog Food Ice Cream Recipe

 

Mix one-half can of your dog’s canned food with one-quarter cup of plain yogurt and one-quarter cup plain apple sauce. Blend the mixture together using a hand mixer, blender, potato masher, or stir vigorously with a fork. The final consistency should be similar to pancake batter. If it’s not adjust the proportions accordingly.

 

Pour a shallow layer of the mixture into some old Tupperware containers or recycled sandwich bags and place them flat in the freezer. Because the mixture is thin, it doesn’t take long to freeze. Once frozen, pop the ice cream out of the Tupperware or peel away the sandwich bag, and voilà, it’s ready to eat.

 

You’ll hear recommendations to use old ice cube trays to make ice cream for dogs, but I worry that the resulting shape (and slipperiness) makes them a choking hazard. I think a flatter/thinner shape is much safer.

 

Using a dog’s regular food as the base for their ice cream means that you don’t have to worry too much about giving them an upset stomach. All but the most sensitive of dogs should be able to handle the addition of a little bit of apple sauce and yogurt to their diet. But if you’re looking for something a little more exotic for your dog, try pureeing and freezing:

  • peanut butter, apple slices, and yogurt;
  • soy nut butter, banana, and cottage cheese; or how about
  • carrots, cooked white meat chicken, and chia seeds soaked in broth.

 

Of course, there are some toxic foods that should NEVER be fed to dogs, chief among them: avocados, chocolate, coffee, garlic, onion, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, or the artificial sweetener xylitol. (Read more about why these foods are harmful.) But as long as you avoid these ingredients and limit treats to less than 10% of total caloric intake, go ahead and indulge your dog with some canine ice cream before summer is over.

 

 

Dr. Jennifer Coates

 

 

Image: S Curtis / Shutterstock