Cool Nutrition: The Best in Summer Pet Treats

summer pet treatsThe heat is on, and the rising mercury means that our pets are at an increased risk for heat-related illness. Dehydration and heatstroke are no joke, and it’s up to us to protect our four-legged friends during the summer months. Besides providing plenty of fresh water and shade, and never leaving a pet in a parked car, chilled or frozen treats are a fun and tasty way to help pets keep cool.

The ideas for summer pet treats are nearly endless, and you are only limited by your imagination! The team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital came up with our favorite healthy options, sure to delight even the pickiest pet.

Keep It Healthy

Raw fruits can make a delicious, low-calorie addition to your pet’s diet. While you should avoid grapes, raisins, and most citrus fruits, the following options can be enjoyed (be sure to peel, core, and deseed first):

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Pineapple
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Many pets enjoy cooked veggies, and they pack a nutrient punch as well. Lightly steam and then freeze or chill any of the following:

  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Please let us know if you have any questions about which people foods your pet can safely enjoy.

    Summer Pet Treats

    You don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen to come up with your own ideas for tasty summer pet treats. For example:

  • Mix a fruit or veggie mentioned above with broth, water, or plain yogurt, and pour into single-serving yogurt containers and freeze
  • Combine peanut butter (Xylitol-free) with canned pumpkin and bits of banana, and freeze in ice cube trays
  • Dip strawberries in plain yogurt and freeze on a cookie sheet
  • Stuff a Kong with peanut butter and a few of your dog’s favorite treats, and freeze
  • Try your hand at a recipe, such as the Catsicle or Chicken Pop.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of plain, old-fashioned ice to cool your pet on a hot day. Many dogs enjoy playing with, licking, and chewing on ice cubes, and a few cubes can be added to a pet’s water bowl to increase his or her interest in water and encourage drinking.

    Watch Those Pearly Whites

    Consider bringing your pet in for a quick dental check before allowing him or her to chow down on your frozen creations. Chewing on hard or frozen surfaces can compromise enamel in some pets, so it’s best to make sure your pet’s chompers are healthy enough for summer pet treats.

    Remember that treats are not a substitute for proper nutrition and should be given in portion controlled volumes.  If you have questions regarding their pet’s nutrition and the best options and amount of treats for your pet, please contact your veterinarian.

    What are you making for your pet this summer? Snap a photo of your pet’s favorite frozen delight and post it to our Facebook page!

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