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Ah, summer. Longer days and warmer temps mean it’s the perfect season to get out and play with your pup. And there’s no better ending to a day in the sun than a tasty frozen treat—for humans and dogs alike.
Your local park might not have a dog-friendly ice cream truck on duty, but don’t sweat it. With just a freezer and a few simple ingredients, making your own frozen dog treats couldn’t be more simple. From savory to sweet, these lick-worthy wonders are a favorite of the people and dogs at Rover.com–they’ll give your dog a true taste of summer.
Blueberry Banana Bites
These cool little cubes are great for smaller dogs, and easily personalized to fit their tastes (or whatever’s in your fridge). Mix peanut butter, plain Greek yogurt and a mashed banana in a bowl, then transfer to a clean ice cube tray or muffin tin. Top off each treat with small pieces of dog-safe fruit like blueberries or apples and freeze for at least 2-3 hours—then let the licking commence. (Note: If your dog’s preferred method of eating is “gulp it down as fast as I can,” try making one large treat in a loaf pan. It will take longer to freeze, but prevent them from inhaling the treats too quickly.)
Looking for a meaty twist on summer treats? Mix the low-sodium broth of your choice with water. Sprinkle in some small cooked chicken pieces or dog food pieces (if you like), then pour into an ice cube tray and pop into the freezer. Once the treats are slushy, stick a biscuit, bone or rawhide stick vertically into the center of each treat (like a popsicle stick), and freeze until solid.
Patriotic PB&J Pops
Perfect for your 4th of July party (before the fireworks start), these pupsicles are oh-so-impressive, and deceptively simple. All you need is time since each layer freezes separately. For the first layer, blend strawberries with plain yogurt. Pour an inch or so of the mixture into the bottom of small plastic or paper cups. Freeze until slushy, insert an edible handle (like a rawhide stick), and freeze until solid. Repeat with a blend of peanut butter and yogurt, then blueberries and yogurt. Voila! Red, white, blue—and delicious.
Ring Around the Berries
It’s more than a frozen treat—it’s also a Frisbee! (Or should we say froze-bee?) Thin out some peanut butter by mixing it with water, and pour into a bundt pan. Add chopped berries, flax seeds, and/or other solid treats, and freeze. Remove from the mold and toss to the nearest dog in sight. Bonus: it’s a great use for those leftover farmer’s market berries sitting in your fridge.
Ice Lick Surprise
Have a pup you want to keep cool and busy? Try the “more is more” approach, and make a giant ice lick full of all their favorites! Place a mix of chew toys and treats in a large bowl or bucket. Mix water with chicken broth or peanut butter, then pour into the bowl until just covering the solid items. Freeze until solid, then place outside (since this is bound to get messy) and let your dog have at it.
Have a homemade frozen dog treat recipe that your pup loves? Share your favorites below!
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A worrying proportion of dogs in the US are overweight or obese, and like in humans, this is largely down to their diet. As powerful as those puppy-dog eyes can be, remember that you’re in control of what your dog eats, and ultimately, the state of their health. A lot of dog owners manage to fall into various bad feeding habits over the years. Dropping the following ones could work wonders for your pooch’s health.
Leaving Their Dry Food Out All the Time
The habit some people call “free feeding” is filling a dog’s bowl with dry food, and letting their dog eat it as and when they want, then filling it up again when it gets empty. Many people think that this is harmless, reasoning that the dog will stop eating when it’s had its healthy fill. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Wild dogs are scavengers, and their domesticated cousins are naturally inclined to eat whatever food they can, whenever they find it. You really can’t depend on your dog to watch what they eat, and put a cap on the dry food they eat when they’ve got a seemingly endless supply! By giving them a free license to overeat, you’re upping their risk of becoming overweight and obese. Start giving them a set amount each day. They’ll stop whining soon enough!
Giving Them Too Many Treats
Image source: Pixabay
Obviously, you want to let your dog know how much you love them. However, showering them with treats isn’t the healthiest way to do it. The simple fact is that treats carry extra calories, which your four-legged friend could usually do without. Sure, you can eliminate some of the fat, salt and additives from their diet by getting the best natural dog treats on the market, and treats are an excellent motivator when you’re trying to train your dog. Still, you need to be mindful of just how many treats you’re tossing to them. Those bone-shaped biscuits might be small, but they can add up quickly if you’re not paying attention to them! If you’re not keeping their treat intake in check, try phasing out some of those treats with other rewards, such as petting and play time. If you’re squeezed for time, you can also use food puzzles to reward them, and keep a cap on their calories at the same time.
You Always Feed Them from the Table
Tossing your dog scraps from the table at dinner, very occasionally, is relatively harmless. However, if you’re doing it every evening, all those extra little morsels could send them on the fast track to excessive weight gain, and ultimately obesity. Aside from that, the food you’re giving them may have come into contact with certain human foods that are poisonous to dogs, such as raisins, chocolate, and garlic. No matter how much they whine and beg, or how adorable their big, shiny eyes are when they look up at you, stay strong! Make sure everyone in the household drops this bad dog-care habit, and soon enough your pooch will get used to the idea.
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If you’re a dog owner, chances are you’ve glanced enviously at someone else’s perfectly behaved dog before and wished that your dog would stop jumping up, trying to eat everything, and sniffing the crotch of everyone within a five mile radius. Training your dog can be hard work – but here are some tips to help.
Go To Obedience Classes
First of all, obedience classes are absolutely worth a try. Not only will they teach your dog to do things like walking without pulling on its leash, but they’ll also teach you how to be a better dog owner. The main key to it is patience and repetition – you might get bored and irritated but that’s the only way to make sure your dog learns over time that certain actions have consequences, whether that’s sitting down and behaving perfectly and getting a treat, or jumping up at someone and not getting a treat. Obedience classes are also excellent if you want to try to socialise your dog a little more. One of the most important things about your pet is that they don’t alarm people by barking loudly or being aggressive towards other dogs, so it’s important that they get used to being around other people and pups.
Work On Tricks At Home
After your obedience classes, make sure that you continue that good work when you go home. No one’s saying that you have to teach your dog to dance like some incredibly well trained dog on a TV talent show, but it is important to make sure that you maintain their good work by being as consistent as possible all the time. When you’re out on walks with your dog, make sure that you have a pocket full of treats so that you can reward them for walking well. When you’re practising calling your dog when they’re off their leash, make sure you do it in an enclosed location – you don’t want them to run off, after all, but it is important to work on their recall as much as possible. It’s also a lot of fun to work on tricks at home using dog training collars – teaching your dog to roll over, sit and shake hands is a great way to spend time together and to make your dog a treat for other people to be around.
Spend Time Together
Finally, the most important thing is to build a strong bond with your dog. The best way to do that is by spending as much time with them as possible – check out local places that allow dogs, particularly over the summer where you can relax on terraces with your canine pals. It’s also a great idea to take them out to dog parks so that they can socialise with other dogs and so that you can meet new dog owner friends. Let’s face it, people who love and own dogs are pretty much uniformly friendly and sociable – it’s a great way to meet new people and find out good places to socialise your pup.