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Healthy Summer Treats for Pets

With summer and the warmer weather here, it is important that your pets do not get overheated. Brachycephalic (smooshed face) breeds and breeds with thick hair coats can be at an especially high risk of overheating in the hot months. We have compiled some fun and safe treats that you can try to help keep your pets cool and happy!

On even the hottest days of summer, cat owners often find their kitties lounging in the sun. While you’re sweating in your t-shirt and shorts, your cat can be found soaking up as much warmth as possible. As much as cats seem to delight in their daily dose of sunshine, cats can overheat and even experience heatstroke. Cats can’t cool themselves as easily as we humans can, so they require access to a shaded, well-ventilated area with access to clean water on hot days. In addition to providing these essentials, there are other ways you can help keep your kitty cool in the summer heat.

Before heading to the kitchen, there are a few ingredients you should always avoid when baking for your pets. NEVER put xylitol (an artificial sweetener that can sometimes be found in peanut butter), raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, or chocolate in your pets’ treats! But what about yogurt or ice cream? Cats lack the lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose, a type of sugar found in milk. Without this enzyme, consuming dairy is likely to give your cat some unpleasant digestive side effects. While traditional ice cream may be a no-go, many cats are able to tolerate yogurt. Just make sure it doesn’t contain artificial additives and isn’t overly sweetened (especially with xylitol). Yogurt is a great base for frozen cat treats, but if your cat doesn’t tolerate dairy well there are still plenty of options. You can always use water, broth, or even organic goat’s milk as your base and throw in cat-friendly add-ins like flaked tuna, catnip treats, or wet cat food.

Homemade Dog Recipes:

 Peanut Butter and Fruit Freezies

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup berries (strawberries, blueberries or raspberries)
    • ¼ cup water
    • A few tablespoons of peanut butter that doesn’t contain xylitol (check the label!)
  • Method:
    • Wash and clean fruit (cut tops off strawberries)
    • Puree fruit in a blender with water
    • Place fruit puree in an ice cube tray or silicone mold, filling ¾ of the way
    • Add a small amount of peanut butter to each mold
    • Freeze until completely frozen

Fruit and Yogurt Freezies

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup fruit (berries, apple, melon, banana, pineapple)
      • Remember: NO GRAPES!
    • 1 cup Greek or plain yogurt
  • Method:
    • Clean and prep fruit – dice fruit to small pieces that will fit into the ice cube tray
    • Place diced fruit into ice cube trays or silicone mold
    • Fill mold with yogurt
    • Freeze until completely frozen

Frozen Kong

  • A Kong toy can provide hours of entertainment for a dog and it can be filled with many different types of ingredients. Pre-made cheese-like aerosol products or peanut butter can be used to fill the Kong and then freeze, or you can make your own delicious mixture! Following are a few examples:
    • Cheese Kong: 1 cup of boiled potato, ½ cup plain cottage cheese, ½ cup low-fat cheese
    • Fruit Kong: 1 banana, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tsp. honey
    • Chicken and carrot Kong: 1 cup cooked sweet potato, handful of shredded, boiled chicken, handful of cooked carrots, 1 tbsp. yogurt

Homemade Cat Recipes:

Making frozen cat treats at home is quick and easy – you probably already have the ingredients for at least one of these recipes. As an alternative to making homemade cat treats, you can also try putting a lickable treat like Tiki Cat Stix or Churu in the freezer for an hour before serving it.

Tasty Tuna Treats

Open up a can of water-packed tuna and dump it into your food processor. Add a half cup of water then blend until it’s nice and smooth, adding more water as needed to get the desired consistency. Pour the liquid into silicone ice cube trays and freeze for a couple of hours. When the treats are frozen, pop them out of the tray and store in a freezer bag. You can also try this recipe with canned salmon.

Frozen Pate Cubes

Take a can of your cat’s favorite pate-style wet food and scoop it out into a mixing bowl Stir in a few of your cat’s favorite soft treats or a sprinkle of dried catnip. Spoon the mixture into small paper cups or into a silicone ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Pop the treats out the tray or peel away the paper to serve the frozen treat.

Homemade Horse Recipes:

Horse Popsicles  

For this recipe, you can use whatever horse-friendly fruits and veggies you have on hand. Examples include apples, celery, carrots, bananas, watermelon, lettuce or squash.

Directions: Thoroughly wash all your fruits and veggies. Dice them up into small pieces (the smaller the better) or alternatively, you can put them in the blender. Using plastic cups or popsicle molds, add your fruits and veggies, then fill with diluted apple juice, unsweetened applesauce, or water. Freeze overnight and feed the next day!

Melon Mint Pops

Another popsicle idea is to use chopped or pureed watermelon or honeydew melon and add in some fresh mint, which is a nice, cooling herb and great to feed in the summer. Add melon pieces or puree into popsicle molds and add a little water, diluted apple juice, or unsweetened applesauce. Freeze overnight and add to your horse’s water bucket or feed these treats by hand.


Remember, give healthy treats in moderation to avoid excessive calories. Pet owners should also know that eating a large amount of food too fast can lead to bloating and abdominal pain. Also, some dogs and cats can be very sensitive to eating new things like yogurt and this can lead to upset stomach (vomiting and diarrhea). We hope your pet enjoys these tasty treats and stays cool this summer!

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