Frozen treats are a great way to keep your dog cool on a summer’s day, but which treats are safe?
As the UK faces its hottest, driest summer in decades, here are some cool treat ideas for your pet to enjoy – and how to protect them from heatstroke.
Can dogs have ice cubes?
Yes, however it is important to ensure all ice cubes are small and appropriately sized for your dog.
For a small dog, you can fill an ice cube tray and add some treats like peanut butter, salmon, or dog treats to water and freeze the whole thing.
For larger dogs, you can place treats in clean muffin tins in water and freeze them to provide a cooling treat.
There have been rumors that giving a dog ice can tempt their body to actually warm up, but this has been disproved by veterinarians, and in fact, ice cubes, cold water, or frozen treats are helpful methods of keeping dogs cool.
Because ice cubes are hard, be careful not to feed your pup anything that could damage or wear away tooth enamel or cause tooth fracture.
However, as long as your dog has healthy teeth, the occasional frozen treat is unlikely to damage his teeth.
To minimize the risk of breaking a tooth, you can:
- Soften ice cubes and frozen treats a bit by removing them from the freezer five minutes before serving
- Avoid using large freezing molds and instead use smaller molds that will make it easier for your dog to crush the ice with his teeth
What other cool treats could you feed your dog?
Battersea has a dog-friendly popsicle recipe to pamper your puppies in the summer heat. While dogs can have popsicles, it’s important to check the ingredients first to make sure they don’t contain xylitol or other sweeteners that could be toxic to your pet.
Other treats include freezing chicken or beef broth in ice cube trays, or you can pop some thinly sliced apples, carrots, bananas, or sweet potatoes in the fridge to chill and feed to your pet later in the day.
Some shops such as pets at home Sell Ice Pop mixes for freezing at home, which come in flavors like peanut butter or blueberry. They cost £3.00 for 4 treats but the reusable tube comes separately.
Alternative, Wilko sells Woof and Brew Paw Pops – a natural frozen herbal treat for your pets. They are available in packs of six of 50ml and cost £5.00.
What should you do if your dog has heat stroke?
Heatstroke is a serious condition that can affect both humans and animals.
Dogs suffering from heat stroke may show signs of:
- Heavy wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Lethargy, drowsiness, or lack of coordination
- collapse or vomiting
If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke, the RSPCA says you should:
- Move the dog to a shady and cool place
- Immediately pour cool (not cold, to avoid shock) water over the dog. Tap water (15-16°C) has proven to be the most effective way to cool dogs with heat-related illnesses. In an emergency, any water is better than nothing.
- Wet towels placed over the dog can worsen the condition and trap heat. In mild cases, towels can be placed under the dog but never over it, and in a real emergency, submerging in water or pouring water with air movement is ideal.
- Have the dog drink small amounts of cool water
- Continue pouring cool water over the dog until his breathing calms down, but not so much that he starts shivering
- Dogs that have lost consciousness stop panting, although they still have a very high temperature, these dogs badly need aggressive chilling as a priority.
- While treating heat stroke, try to avoid pouring water on or near your dog’s head as there is a risk of water inhalation, which can lead to drowning, especially in flat-faced and unconscious dogs.
As soon as the dog has cooled down, urgently take him to the nearest veterinarian.