Homemade Doggy Ice Cream For Summer

homemade dog ice cream recipe from radiofence.com What treat do you crave the most on a hot summer day? A nice cool, refreshing ice cream cone? Well your dog is thinking the same thing! Too bad dairy can make their tummies hurt so bad… it would be great to let our pups have a lick and get a break from the heat. 

I love to find fun, new, and exciting ways to keep my dogs entertained. I’ll search for things that we can do together at home when we’re stuck inside because it’s close to 100 degrees out. What screams “summer vacation” more than ice cream?!

Your dog can still enjoy an ice cream treat during these hot summer months as long as you make it yourself at home. And don’t worry, just like all the other recipes I share, it takes less time to make this yourself than to buy the mystery-meat “dog ice cream” at the grocery store. 

All you need is a blender/food processor, bananas, and peanut butter!

Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients

homemade dog ice cream recipeIngredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas – peeled
  • 1 tb peanut butter

See? I told you this was going to be easy! 

All you have to do is peel the bananas and put them in a dish for freezing. 

homemade dog ice cream recipeI chose to cut mine into small pieces before freezing them because my Ninja is small, but you can freeze them whole if you have a bigger machine.

Step 2: Freeze Your Bananas

All you have to do to prepare your doggy ice cream is freeze the bananas for 2-3 hours. You can always freeze them for longer if you wish, but my dogs were in a hurry!

You can see a little peak of Zoey’s raw food (Darwin’s) in the freezer… I’ll have to tell you more about that later! 

Step 3: Blend The Ice Cream

homemade dog ice cream for summerOnce your bananas have chilled in the freezer, simply stick them in the blender/food processor and blend for 30-60 seconds or until they have an ice cream-like consistency. 

homemade dog ice cream for summerI couldn’t believe how much this looked and felt like real ice cream when I was finished blending! The texture of the bananas and the refreshing cool temperature could have even fooled me into thinking this was real ice cream. Maybe we will make this a human snack tradition as well!

Step 4: Add Peanut Butter

homemade healthy dog treat recipeAdd a tablespoon of peanut butter (I just scooped a spoon-full out of the jar). It doesn’t need to be exact. Blend again until it has mixed with the bananas.

Jem says “I smell something yummy!”

This part is completely optional, but what dog doesn’t love peanut butter? You can add any ingredients to your ice cream that your dog loves or that she needs supplemented into her diet. Consider adding any of the brain foods that extend your dog’s life span

And always remember, read the label on your peanut butter to make sure it doesn’t have the added ingredient that is highly poisonous to dogs!

Zoey and Laci say, “If only we were a couple inches taller!”

Step 5: Beat The Heat and Enjoy!

homemade dog ice creamNow for the best part of all, watching your dog devour this amazing treat that you made so easily in your kitchen! Isn’t there something rewarding about knowing you made a treat for your dog yourself and watching how much she loves it?

homemade dog ice cream treatI wish we had some cute ice cream bowls or cones, but they loved this ice cream so much that they probably would have destroyed it too quickly for me to get good pictures no matter what I served it in! 

homemade dog ice cream treatAs always, Jem and Laci were the biggest little piglets when it came to scarfing it down. They were running from bowl to bowl trying to make sure to stake their claim on each one. Zoey was her usual shy self and took a couple licks before just letting them take over. As usual, I let Zoey have her treat in a separate room so she could enjoy it without the others trying to nab it from her.

homemade dog ice cream I love this recipe for so many reasons – it’s healthy for the dogs, easy for me to make, and it’s always a great back-up plan for bananas sitting on the counter that have gotten too ripe for the family to eat. I have a feeling my girls will be getting homemade ice cream pretty often as our bananas become over-ripe.

Have you ever tried a homemade ice cream recipe, and did your dog love it as much as mine did? I hope you try this recipe, and if you do let me know how they like it!

Homemade Toy & Treat Iceberg Keeps Dogs Cool and Hydrated!

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I don’t know if your dog is anything like Jem, but she is absolutely OBSESSED with ice cubes! If she hears the ice maker running as someone is filling their glass, she wakes up from a dead sleep and high-tails it over to the fridge to beg for a cube. If you are sitting in the living room drinking from a cup with ice, forget about it! She will stare at you with those big brown eyes and even resort to pawing at your cup to persuade you to feed her habit. 

She’s even managed to learn how to use her (thumb-less) paws to grab onto the glass and pull it towards herself. I can’t believe how much strength she’ll put behind her efforts! 

Living in Florida, sometimes it can feel like the hot, humid summer will never end. At times the heat is so intense that our dogs don’t want to spend time outside except to mind their 1’s and 2’s. I hate to see them cooped up inside all day, so I wanted to create a fun activity for them that would allow them to enjoy the heat. Plus, anything new and fun is exciting for them! 

Doggy Iceberg Toy 

"What's mom up to in the kitchen?!"

“What’s mom up to in the kitchen?!”

Creating a doggy iceberg toy is simple, easy, and can be done again and again! 

Can you tell they're already excited?

Can you tell they’re already excited?

Homemade icebergs are so much fun to make, and watching the anticipation in the dogs’ eyes while I made it cracked me up! Before they even knew what I was doing they were already thrilled!

Step 1: Find Your Bowl and Toys

homemade iceberg toy for dogsFind a sturdy freezer-safe bowl or dish of your liking, and add a few toys or treats to the bottom of the bowl. Stay away from biscuit or cracker type treats, because these will get soggy and disintegrate before your dog has the chance to get to them. I used my homemade organic dehydrated sweet potato treats because they’re sturdy and tough. Plus the dogs are obsessed with them!

Step 2: Fill With Water & Freeze

how to make a homemade iceberg dog toy for hot summer daysFill the bowl with as much water as you’d like. If you fill it to the top, you could already be done with this project after a few hours of freezing! Or you can decide to freeze it in layers. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I’m taking the more time-consuming layered approach! 

Step 3: Freeze, Layer, Repeat

Freeze toys and treats to keep dogs cool during summerFreeze your first layer of water and toys for about 30-60 minutes until slightly solid (it doesn’t need to be completely frozen). My first layer took about 45 minutes to get semi-solid.

homemade toy and treat iceberg to keep dogs cool this summerAdd a thin layer of peanut butter to the top of this layer and return it to the freezer for another 15-30 minutes. This step is completely optional, and remember to check the label on your peanut butter because some brands include an ingredient that is poisonous to dogs!

keep dogs hydrated this summer with frozen treats and toysKeep adding layers of treats and water until you get the size of the iceberg that you want. If I didn’t have homemade sweet potato treats on hand, I was considering adding a couple of the doggy “super foods” to give them a healthy boost!

Once you have all of your layers completed, freeze the whole iceberg for at least 2 hours to make sure it’s firm. I froze mine over night because we got a thunderstorm and couldn’t play until the next day.

Step 4: Play!

homemade doggy iceberg keeps dogs cool and hydrated during summerNow you’re ready to introduce this new, fun treat to your dog! To unlock the block of ice from the bowl, simply set it on the counter for 5-10 minutes. It will loosen up enough for you to pop it right out of the container. If you’re lucky like I was, your iceberg will easily loosen without any effort. I didn’t have to set mine out to thaw – it came right out! Maybe the trick to that is letting it freeze overnight.

I had a hard time carrying it outside without getting attacked by tongues!

I had a hard time carrying it outside without getting attacked by tongues!

If you’re going to play indoors, place the iceberg inside a big, open container so as it melts the water doesn’t get all over the floor. If you’re paying outside like us, simply set it down in the grass or on a tray and play!

DSC05966If your dog seems confused by the new, odd creation just dab a little bit of peanut butter on the iceberg to get the licking started. Once your dog gets the hang of it, she’ll be hooked! Laci and Jem didn’t require any enticing before they dug in – they were instantly obsessed! We had to move our party into the porch because the mosquitos loved the iceberg just as much as the pups! Ouch!

zoey from radiofence.com

Zoey would rather mind her own business and watch!

Laci and Jem would get a little jealous of each other and trade on and off who got a turn. I have to say I was impressed at how well they shared!

What polite little girls we have!

What polite little girls we have!

I don’t think Jem could believe her luck – all of her favorite things combined into one HUGE package! 

If Jem could talk, she would say she died and went to heaven!

If Jem could talk, she would say she died and went to heaven!

 

This treat is not only a fun, easy way to keep your dog cool during the hot summer months, but it’s also a great brain-teaser to keep your dog’s mind sharp and exercised! If you worry that your dog does’t drink enough water, this is also a great way to trick her into ingesting more water without even knowing it. Next time I would probably make mine about half this size. The dogs’ tongues got tired part-way through, and as bad as it killed them to take a break, they didn’t have a choice but to call it quits! 

 

Brain Foods That Will Extend Your Dog’s Lifespan

Brain Foods That Will Extend Your Dog's LIfe SpanEating healthy is about more than looking slim and trim on the outside. Most importantly, it keeps our bodies healthy on the inside – especially our minds! And our dogs are no different. Their overall health – mind, body, and soul – is greatly affected by what foods they eat every day. 

Watching our dogs age can seem like the quickest and most gut-wrenching process of life. We want them by our sides forever, and seeing their muzzles getting grayer or their energy slowly getting weaker can make us feel hopeless. 

The nutrients in your dog’s food help support her muscles, joints, and skin. But they also affect your dog’s healthy brain function, and the right nutrients can vastly improve her lifespan. Dogs are just like humans when it comes to experiencing degradation in brain function with age. Senior dogs can develop dementia and other forms of brain deterioration that diminishes their quality of life. 

The best way to support your dog’s healthy brain function and improve his quality of life is to make sure his diet consists of the proper nutrients.

healthy foods to improve your dogs life

Omega 3 fatty acids

A very common issue for aging dogs is canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) which is extremely similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Dogs will begin to forget how to do things they could do before, become disoriented, forgetful, and have accidents in the house.

Flax is a great brain food for dogs!

Flax is a great brain food for dogs!

Omega 3 fatty acids are linked to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and have been used to treat mood disorders. Good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids for dogs include salmon or other fatty fish, flax, and krill.  

Vitamins C & E

Just like humans, dogs will experience changes in their brains such as beta-amyloid accumulation and oxidative damage causing cognitive dysfunction. Older dogs that are fed a diet high in antioxidants have shown improved learning and spatial attention within only two short weeks of the diet starting. The improvement was even greater when this was combined with mental stimulation through walks, housing with another dog, and training exercises. 

The antioxidants in vitamins C & E protect the brain from free radical damage. Diets that are high in antioxidants are believed to help delay cognitive decline. In a study conducted to test dogs’ spatial memory and ability to choose between two different objects, recognize items, and adapt to new situations, dogs on diets that were high in antioxidants tested far better than dogs that were fed a normal diet.

Berries, Kale, and Carrots are great sources of antioxidants.

Berries, Kale, and Carrots are great sources of antioxidants.

Dogs can find antioxidants in berries such as blueberries and raspberries, carrots, and leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli. 

B vitamins

B-6 helps form neurotransmitters to help with healthy brain development. B-12 is an essential vitamin for brain and nerve function. It also helps form red blood cells and DNA.

We always have spinach in the house - and the dogs love it!

We always have spinach in the house – and the dogs love it!

Studies have also shown that consuming B-6 and B-12 has positive effects on memory. Dogs will ingest B vitamins from food when they consume:  most meats, sea food, chickpeas, and spinach. 

Luteolin    

This is a plant compound that tames inflammation in the brain which restores memory. It is found in celery, carrots, peppers, and rosemary. 

Celery gives your dog's food a yummy (healthy!) crunch.

Celery gives your dog’s food a yummy (healthy!) crunch.

 Introducing Brain Foods Into To Your Dog’s Diet

As with anything in life, prevention is always better than treatment. This means that you should start as early as birth with preventing cognitive disorders through a healthy supplemented diet. Your dog will live longer and experience a more enriched life if these brain disorders are prevented rather than treated once they are developed later on in life. 

Jem and Zoey Love Brain Foods!

Jem and Zoey Love Brain Foods!

A healthy lifestyle balanced with physical activity, socialization, cognitive-enhancing activities, and an adequate intake of dietary antioxidants will vastly improve your dog’s overall health, quality of life, and increase her lifespan. 

Remember! Always consult your veterinarian or pet nutritionist before making any drastic diet changes to your dog’s routine. Some pet foods already contain high levels of vitamins and antioxidants, so you don’t want to overdo it and cause damage. If you do make the decision to supplement your dog’s food after consulting with your veterinarian, introduce the change slowly so as not to upset his stomach. Most importantly when introducing human foods to your dog: familiarize yourself with which foods are poisonous to dogs! 

Learn more about brain stimulating tricks for your dog at Modern Dog Magazine!

URGENT: Some Peanut Butter Brands Are Deadly For Dogs

RadioFence.com reports that some peanut butter brands contain Xylitol which is poisonous to dogsIf dogs could talk, I’d imagine that most of them would say they’ve tried peanut butter before – and loved it of course! Whether their human used it to hide a pill, let them lick the spoon, or gave them a dollop to witness how funny it is when it gets stuck to their tongues. Peanut butter has kind of always been associated as a healthy treat for our dogs to indulge in. 

But what happens when the manufacturers change the recipe? Would they tell us? And do we always read the food label on the jar without fail before giving our dogs a taste? If you’ve been buying the same brand of peanut butter for many years the answer is probably no. You may think you know what ingredients are in your favorite peanut butter, because there’s no way it’s changed since you started buying it…right?

Wrong! Some peanut butter manufacturers have added xylitol to their ingredients! Why are they adding xylitol? Because they’re trying to lower the calorie count while still preserving the sweet flavor. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that you see most commonly in candy, desert, and especially gum. It’s even hidden in some vitamin supplements and medications. It’s a relatively newer ingredient in food items that is extremely poisonous to dogs, so we have to start being extra careful to read labels before feeding our dogs any human food. 

Nuts N More Contains Xylitol which is toxic to dogsNuts ‘N More, P28, and Krush Nutrition: Nutty By Nature brand peanut butters all contain xylitol. However, these are not necessarily the ONLY brands that contain xylitol, which means it is up to you to check the ingredients in the brand you are purchasing before you feed it to your dog. According to Dr. Kathryn Primm, dogs can’t properly process xylitol the way humans do, so it causes a drop in blood sugar and liver damage that are both life-threatening. Dogs that are poisoned with xylitol will stagger when they walk and collapse. If your dog is poisoned, it is critical that she is rushed to the vet. 

Most of the peanut butter brands that contain xylitol are the ones sold in health food stores that specialize in vitamins. For now most, if not all of the big-brand peanut butters are safe and so are our dogs. We’ve used peanut butter to give our dogs medication countless times, and we also use it in some of our homemade dog treat recipes.

Jem and Laci love Smucker's Organic Peanut Butter! Only 2 ingredients: peanuts and less than 1% salt.

Jem and Laci love Smucker’s Organic Peanut Butter! Only 2 ingredients: peanuts and less than 1% salt.

 As for any food or treat you give your dog, it’s always vital that you check the ingredients list for anything that could be poisonous to her. Make it a habit to read every ingredient on the list, and if you ever see a word you don’t recognize ask your vet if it is safe for your dog to consume. There is a long list of human foods that are poison to dogs, and it’s important to have these printed out on the refrigerator or some place where family members and guests that may not have experience with dogs can view it to remind them of what is acceptable and unacceptable to share with your dog. 

Buddy loves the occasional tasty peanut butter treat!

Buddy loves the occasional tasty peanut butter treat!

Spreading the word about what is safe and unsafe for dogs to eat can save thousands of lives! Make sure your friends know the rules :) 

Has your dog ever eaten anything she wasn’t supposed to?

 

Help Your Dog Love Bath Time in 3 Easy Steps!

Train Dog To Like BathsSome dogs love the water whether it’s jumping after a stick into the lake on a hot day, jumping in the waves at the beach, or leaping into the pool to swim with the family. Other dogs are not so thrilled at the idea of getting soaking wet, feeling the pressure and hearing the noise of rushing water, or fearing that they’re trapped inside a big tub with no escape. Our dog Jem is one of those dogs that absolutely freaks out at the sign of water, so bath time has always been a chore to say the least. 

If your dog is one of those that absolutely hates bath time, fights and scratches to avoid it, and thrashes water all over the house in protest, don’t worry – there’s hope! Every dog wants to hear those two magic words: “good dog!” They love to be obedient, feel comfortable, and make their parents proud. It just takes a little bit of training on our end to get them to that point. 

Luckily there are tried and true methods for training your dog to love bath time and feel comfortable. It only takes a few 3-5 minute training sessions!

Step 1: Practice Being In The Tub

For some dogs, the act of standing in the tub is intimidating enough, nevermind having the water rushing out of the faucet and getting soaking wet.. The slippery texture and surrounding walls are unfamiliar and scary for some. If you practice having your dog just hang out in the tub to start with, this will give her a chance to get used to the environment. 

"Peanut Butter Kong?! Count Me In!"

“Peanut Butter Kong?! Count Me In!”

Putting down an inexpensive bath mat can make all of the difference in the world for your dog. This will make it so the tub isn’t slippery and gives your pup a stable place to stand. Sometimes the slipperiness is one of the most intimidating parts of bath time and can be resolved easily with this simple trick. 

I bought a bath mat for $5.00 that didn’t have too much texture. I didn’t want any of the “massaging” ones that would feel weird on her sensitive paws. 

Step 2: Associate The Tub With A Tasty Treat

The fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The same is true for your dog! If your dog associates being in the bath tub with having his favorite treat, then he is sure to look forward to bath time! It’s best to choose a treat that will last awhile and require your dog to do some work.

Peanut butter solves everything!

Peanut butter solves everything!

A bone or peanut butter-stuffed Kong works great! I let Jem sniff her Kong before introducing her to the bath time to catch her attention. I placed the Kong in the tub, and she practically jumped in by herself to get to it. I placed her in t he tub, and once Jem got busy working on her Kong her anxiety about being in the tub slipped away within a few minutes. While your dog relaxes and works on the treat, gently and calmly brush her so she associates getting cleaned/groomed as a positive experience. 

A peanut butter Kong and a back massage?! Heavenly!

A peanut butter Kong and a back massage?! Heavenly!

 Repeat this process until she becomes calm, relaxed, and comfortable with the experience of being in the bath tub. Her anxiety will subside as long as you take things slow and practice this process on several separate occasions until she shows signs that she is comfortable.

Time to search the house for more peanut butter Kongs!

Time to search the house for more peanut butter Kong’s!

Jem became comfortable being in the tub and wanted to stay in during this part of the training until her Kong was out of peanut butter, and then she was on to the next adventure! She jumped out of the tub which I was happy about. If I can get her used to jumping in and out by herself, then she can feel like she’s more in control and relaxed. She did so great after only her first session! I was thrilled that such a simple trick made all of the difference in the world for her. And on our first try!

Step 3: Gradually Introduce Water

Rather than turning the faucet on and drenching your pup from the get-go, which can be intimidating, have a container of warm water ready to gently and slowly pour onto the floor of the tub. And before you have your dog get in the tub, wet the bottom of the tub so she can get used to the floor being wet and a little more slick. 

Pouring water indirectly onto the bottom of the tub is non-threatening

Pouring water indirectly onto the bottom of the tub is non-threatening

 Introducing the water slowly will make your dog feel like she is still in control of her emotions without shocking her with too much too fast. I poured a little bit of water next to Jem slowly and pulled back when she showed signs of fear. When she looked like she wanted to jump out of the tub, I would pause and let her step back into the comfort zone of chewing her Kong. She slowly felt comfortable with me pouring more and more water close to her. She even let me pour it on her foot and the Kong!

Jem quickly became comfortable with more water poured next to her

Jem quickly became comfortable with more water poured next to her

A running faucet can bother some dogs because the sound affects their ears. Repeat this process of introducing water and increase the length of time spent in the tub until your pup feels comfortable having the water poured onto her side, back, or feet. You can gradually introduce more water until you’ve moved on to having a full bath from start to finish. 

Jem went from a skittish, and scared pup to a dog that loves baths!

Jem went from a skittish, and scared pup to a dog that loves baths!

I was honestly surprised at how well these training techniques worked with Jem. She’s by far our most skittish, nervous, and fearful dog when it comes to water. The trick was to take the training slowly and trust her to show me how quickly she wanted to progress through the training steps. It required me to be patient and confident that she would learn to love bath time at her own pace. I remained calm and positive while giving her positive reinforcement and words of encouragement every step of the way. If Jem the “scaredy-cat” can learn to love bath time, I believe any dog can!

Does your dog love or hate bath time? And do you know any tricks to make the process more enjoyable for both pups and pup-parents?

These training techniques were adapted from PetFinder.com