We All Scream for Ice Cream, But Is It Safe For Dogs?
July is National Ice Cream Month! Nothing says summertime more than cooling off with a delicious frozen treat. But, is it okay to feed your dog ice cream? Or, is there something more canine-friendly to serve up?
An occasional lick or two of ice cream may be okay, but only if your dog is not lactose intolerant and does not have a medical issue such as diabetes, obesity, dairy allergies, gastrointestinal issues, etc. For a dog with Canine Epilepsy, a little bit of natural vanilla ice cream can be given post-seizure to help raise sugar levels, but always check with your veterinarian, who is familiar with your dog’s health record, before giving any new foods or treats to be sure they are safe for your pet.
When it comes to ice cream, there are actually several reasons why you should resist giving it to your dog:
It’s made from milk. Many dogs are intolerant or allergic to dairy and if eaten, it can make them sick.
It contains sugar. Also, beware of “low sugar” or “no sugar” versions as they may contain a sugar substitute, including xylitol, which is known to be toxic to dogs.
It may be full of flavors and add-ins dogs should not eat such as chocolate, coffee, raisins, nuts, salt, garlic (yes, there is garlic ice cream), alcohol (and yes, there is alcohol-infused ice cream), as these items can be toxic to dogs and top the ASPCA’s list of foods to not feed a dog. (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets)
So, what’s a pet parent to do when their beloved dogs are drooling for some ice cream?
Head on over to the kitchen and whip up healthy alternatives they can eat! You may even discover that you like a few of them, too! All you need is a high-performance blender; some ice cube trays, silicone molds, mini-muffin tins, or ring molds; the ingredients; and a little imagination!
Here are some of my FiveSibes favorite homemade frozen treat recipes (adjust ingredient amounts to preferred consistency):
Berry Nice! In a blender, whip up fat-free plain organic yogurt with some frozen organic ripe blueberries or strawberries, or, use fresh organic blueberries and strawberries together with the yogurt, crushed ice, and blend, both for tasty and creamy smoothies! You can also pour the mixture into mini-muffin pans or paw print shaped molds, and freeze for a cool treat!
Bananas for Peanut Butter! Blend together a banana and some organic creamy peanut butter* with organic plain fat-free yogurt. Spoon into silicone shapes and freeze! (*A note about peanut butters: they are not all dog friendly. Be sure to read the ingredient label to avoid unnecessary sugar, and also no sugar substitutes, such as xylitol, which, as stated above, is known to be toxic to dogs).
Pumpkin is an Anytime Flavor! My FiveSibes get pumpkin added to their food all year long to help keep them healthy. Mix a little pumpkin pureé (NEVER pumpkin pie filling) with some organic plain fat-free yogurt, a drizzle of organic maple syrup, a pinch of cinnamon, then pour into the molds and freeze!
Pup-Friendly Ice Pops. Blend organic ripe blueberries, strawberries, or seedless watermelon with water, pour into molds, toss in a few cut-up berries or pieces of watermelon, and freeze!
Frozen Food. Pureé and freeze some of your canine’s favorite foods, such as home-cooked beef or chicken with a little homemade bone broth, water, or unsweetened organic applesauce. You can even add some veggies to it, like cut-up or pureéd green beans!
Salmon is Sweet! Do your dogs love salmon? My Siberian Huskies sure do! Mix some cooked boneless salmon into a little water, spoon into an ice cube tray or bone-shaped mold, sprinkle the tops with crushed treats, and pop into the freezer!
With so many healthy alternatives for dog-friendly versions of ice cream to make, you can whip up a new flavor every day! For more delicious ways to make your dog frozen treats, reference reliable online canine recipe sites, such as:
Here’s to a happy summer filled with lots of tasty licks for your favorite canine!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books: What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the FiveSibes.com, an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed and Canine Epilepsy information, as well as her international award-winning FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.
Dorothy is a 9-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2017 and 2016 for her writing, photography, and design. Her book EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy received the 2018 Independent Press Award for “Excellence” in the Reference Book category and 2017 NYC Big Book Award for “Excellence” in the Animal/Pet book category. Dorothy was also named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign and partnered with The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for #Paws4Purple Project, both inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram(@FiveSibesMom).