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Summer Treats That are Good for Your Dog

Published on: June 8, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

dog eating watermelon

Every pet parent knows you shouldn’t share “people food” with cats and dogs. But let’s get real here. It is impossible to resist that twitching tail and longing stare 100% of the time. And now that summer is here, surely your best friend would like some treats to help them beat the heat.You could plan a vacation with your dog to some cooler international destination. Or you could bone up on summer treats that are actually good for your dog, of course. You can easily create a variety of healthy, refreshing snacks that are ideal for handing out at home or packing along on hikes and other summertime outings.

You can share your backyard BBQ with your dog

Take it from Cesar Milan. He might be best known as a dog obedience expert, but it turns out he has some dog-appropriate foodie advice, too. He’s cooked up some summer recipes that are not only fast to make but equally yummy for dogs and their masters. Finally, you can share your picnic with your pooch, guilt-free! Check out his grilled turkey sliders with sweet potato “buns.”

As you’re preparing grilled veggies for your family’s dinner, thickly slice some yellow squash for your dog. Skip the olive oil and seasonings on your dog’s serving, but sprinkle the slices with minced parsley as soon as you remove them from the grill. (You can also oven-roast the squash instead.)

You and your four-legged dining companion can share dessert, too, thanks to Milan’s recipe for strawberry-coconut milk ice cream. Blend a 28-oz. can of coconut milk with 3/4 cup hulled strawberries, 1/4 cup honey, and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Spoon it into a freezer-safe container and freeze. It will take several hours for it to set up like ice cream, so be patient.

What else can you freeze?

  • Mash a banana with a cup of peanut butter and a quarter-cup of water.
  • Low-sodium chicken stock – by itself, or with minced parsley or chopped cooked chicken.
  • Coconut milk mixed with chopped mint. (Coconut oil is good for your dog’s skin, and mint will freshen his breath.)

Most dogs love plain dog-safe fruit as a treat, but you can also turn any fruit into a frozen summer cooler. Simply puree about 2 cups of fruit (try different combinations) with a tablespoon or two of honey (optional), then mix with a cup of yogurt and spoon into an ice tray. Take it up a notch by adding a dollop of peanut butter on top of each cube. Or stick a dog biscuit into each cube before it sets to create pupsicles. Sweet.

Once the cubes are frozen, you can transfer them to a ziploc bag for storage in the freezer.

Dog-delicious fruits

Summer fruits are bountiful and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However there are a few fruits you should NEVER, ever give your dog, because they are toxic to canines:

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Persimmons

So what’s good, and tasty, too?

  • Apples and pears – slices make nice quick snacks and help clean your pup’s teeth.
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries and raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon
  • Cranberries
  • Kiwis
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries

Always wash fruit and remove any parts you wouldn’t want to eat yourself (such as banana and watermelon skins, seeds or pits).

Sweet potatoes make super-nutritious dog treats, too. Slice up a baked sweet potato and hand out the slices as is. Or make dog cookies with mashed sweet potato. (Add some peanut butter or minced, cooked bacon and you’ll really be popular!)

It wouldn’t be summer without s’mores, right?

All that melty chocolate and gooey toasted marshmallow on sweet graham crackers – soooo good. And yet so wrong for your dog. Fret not, though. Your dog can share their own version of this decadent treat. Just smear a swath of Greek yogurt on a dog biscuit, swipe some carob spread on another biscuit, and press together to make a sandwich.

The key to s’more safety for your pup is using carob. Chocolate can be poisonous to dogs. If you can’t find carob spread, get some powder and mix it with water or yogurt.

Calories count, so summer treats call for restraint

Just because ingredients are healthy for dogs doesn’t mean they are calorie-free. Snacks can pack on the pounds if you aren’t careful, so dole them out judiciously.

Whether you keep it simple with pieces of fresh fruit, or get creative with culinary variations using your grill or freezer, your pooch can chow down tail-wagging treats all summer long. And you can relax, knowing those treats aren’t just tasty and refreshing, they’re good for your dog as well.

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