Frozen Treats for Hot Dogs
Don’t you just love summer? The beach, lemonade, sunshine… and feeling instantly sticky as soon as you step outside your door. On some hot and humid days, the last thing you want to do is take your dog for a walk. Then there are the countless dogs who can’t tolerate being out in the heat for long periods, like brachycephalic dogs (dogs who have very short muzzles). So how can we help our canine companions during the dog days of summer?*
You might already know this about us, but we love providing feeding enrichment for dogs here at Behavior United. It is a great way to burn some extra energy and provide some mental stimulation. We also like to freeze food puzzle toys so that it takes the dogs longer to get every yummy taste. You see where I’m going with this… hot summer day + frozen food puzzle = a match made in heaven. Using a Kong toy for this is a well known trick, and we do love that treat. But there are some other great products out there that we thought we’d talk about, and share some easy ways to give your dog a frozen goodie.
The products we recommend are always ones we use ourselves or ones that our clients have used and love. Links to the products may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
First, one of our favorites, the Zogoflex Toppl by West Paw. It comes in two sizes. You can put dry kibble or treats in it as one option, but we love to stuff and freeze it to use as a food puzzle toy. You can use a mix of your dog’s kibble with some canned dog food, yogurt, meat baby food, pumpkin, or anything else you can think of. You can toss in some special treats, too. Don’t be afraid to get creative. One of the things we like about the Toppl is the larger opening, which makes it easier to stuff and clean. It’s also ideal for brachycephalic dogs.
Here’s something else that’s fun: how about giving your dog the joy of froyo? You can just use plain yogurt, and flavor it yourself. Some ideas? Mix in honey, peanut butter, some bacon grease, liver pate, shredded cheese… whatever your dog likes! You can use lots of things to make these little pupsicles — ice trays or small plastic condiment cups (they have little lids!) work great for the little doggies. Inexpensive plastic cups, like kids’ cups, can also be used for a larger serving. Just fill with however much you want, and freeze. You can run it under some warm tap water for a minute to help loosen the treat when you take it out of the freezer. Something tasty to give your dog while you relax on a hot summer evening together —what could be better?
If you like the froyo idea, using a cup to freeze it probably won’t provide a very long-lasting treat for most dogs. If you want to make it last, the Toppl is a good option, as is a Kong.
My personal lazy day favorite is to take a bumpy chewbone, like a Nylabone, and smear it with peanut butter before freezing it for a yummy treat. This is such a go-to for me, because it takes almost no time at all to prep. What I mean by a “bumpy” bone is one with lots of grooves and texture, to hold a little more of the good stuff and slow your dog down. Nylabone makes some really great ones that are very durable. You don’t want to use any bone that you can easily bend. Smear with peanut butter, yogurt, cream cheese, liverwurst, etc. etc. You should get the picture by now. The Souper bone and the Dental Dinosaur remain top picks. Need to keep your dog in one place while she enjoys her food puzzle but don't have a crate? Stuff the Chase ‘n Chomp and attach it to a smooth surface. Attach it to the side of a bathtub as a great way to distract your dog during a bath!
Last but not least, you can smear whatever tasty concoction you’ve come up with on a flexible feeding mat and then freeze it. We like the Hyper Pet Lickimat.
What do you like to do to keep your dog cool in the summer? We always love to hear your favorites and ideas, so please share!
P.S.: Did you know that next week, July 15th is Amazon Prime day? Are you familiar with Amazon? We’ll assume you are.... Prime Day is a day for Amazon Prime members to take advantage of some great offers and discounts. We’ll be keeping an eye on deals for pet products and share on Facebook anything that we either know and like (or would be interested in trying).
(*Note: I want to say I’m sorry for using this very obvious pun… but I’m not. xo)