Although our main focus is usually on food for human consumption, with the weather oh-so-toasty lately, our four-legged friends are also in need of a little refreshment. Snacks for pets are always less expensive to make yourself and we've rounded up 10 ideas to keep them cool and your wallet full all at the same time!
Without getting into the world of what's actually healthy for dogs to eat, we'd like to give you a few options of great frozen snacks for dogs and cats alike. We're not big on adding fruits and vegetables to this mix, but you're welcome to do so (though we suggest researching it first). We'll be sticking to meats and proteins and staying away from sugar.
Here are a few of our favorite frozen treats for pets:
1. Ice Cubes: Plain, simple and easy.
2. Frozen Yogurt: You can buy pre-made or simply freeze regular yogurt containers. It's as good for their digestive tracks as it is for yours. Helps those animals that are especially gassy! (older animals might require less dairy, try mixing half yogurt/half water for those who need a little help)
3. Frozen Liver: Cut chicken/beef liver into small bite size pieces and place on a sheet pan covered in parchment paper. Feed 2 or 3 pieces daily (unless raw feeding and then you may feed regular daily amount). They keep well in a zip lock once frozen.
4. Frozen Egg: Although this one is best eaten outside, toss an egg or two in a blender (including shells) and blend till smooth. Freeze in an ice cube tray (half way full) for easier dispensing. Do not feed more than 1 per day to ensure proper nutrient absorption.
5. Tuna: There isn't much a cat or a dog won't do for tuna. For them, it's just as tasty cold, so freeze in small bite size pieces or mounds on parchment, or even blend with any of the ingredients above before freezing.
6. Organic Low Sodium Broth: Broth is a good base to mix in all sorts of things. Add a bit of peanut butter or assorted meats. If you tape off the end of a Kong toy (for dogs or cats) and fill the toy with broth, they'll be able to slowly lick at it as it melts.
7. Cheese Chunks: You can freeze them as is, or try freezing them in something else (broth or water) for extra visual appeal.
8. Hot Dog Bits: Although you can freeze almost any meat and we're believers that raw meat is better than cooked, we still don't know a dog who says no to a hot dog. We do suggest cutting them length wise (in strips) so your animal doesn't try to swallow it whole and choke.
9. Baby Food: Try to find one that doesn't (or shouldn't) contain onion powder and your pets will do almost anything for it! Freeze in mini muffin cups for easy feeding.
10. Commercial Retail Popsicles: If you check your local grocer, they often sell doggy popsicles right next to the human ones. We've tried them on several occasions and our pups won't go near them, but we know many who do. We have personally taste tested them ourselves (what, we were curious?!) and we're pretty sure the options above will be far tastier!
Do you have a favorite frozen treat to feed your pet? Just in case you'd like to experiment on making your own, here's a list of items that are toxic to dogs and cats, so make sure to review or check with your vet before you begin!
Related: Question: Do You Let Pets "Clean" Your Dishes?
(Image: Flickr member Dryfish licensed for use by Creative Commons)