Summer is a fun and exciting season packed with outdoor activities and delicious treats. Though our feline and canine friends can’t consume the fan-favorite summer specialties such as ice cream and popsicles, there are many cat and dog-safe summer pet treats that our best pals can enjoy.
Summer Dog Treat Recipes
As the temperatures rise and the sun shines brighter and longer, most dogs enjoy spending their time outdoors, whether that be in the yard or the pool. After a run out in the heat, your dog will most likely work up an appetite and be thankful for a little snack.
There are many options when it comes to summer treats for dogs. For instance, homemade frozen dog treats for summer can be a healthy and budget-friendly option—plus, a frozen treat can help cool your pup down on a hot day.
Another convenient part about making your own summer dog treats is that you can often use ingredients you already have around your home, such as yogurt, fresh fruit, and peanut butter. As you try new recipes, feel free to experiment with different ingredients and combinations. This can be a creative way to have your dog taste different foods and learn more about what they do (and don’t) like.
Easy Frozen Dog Treats for Summer
Though it is not a safe and healthy choice to feed your dog the type of ice cream and popsicles you eat, you can make them their own versions.
- Doggy Ice Cream
In a blender, mix one ripe banana, four ounces of plain yogurt, and one tablespoon of xylitol-free peanut butter. Divide mixture into a few different containers and freeze overnight. You can serve the ice cream from the container but keep an eye out that your dog doesn’t start gnawing on it whenever they finish their treat.
- PB & J Bites
Wash and remove the tops off one cup of strawberries, add to blender with a quarter cup of water, and blend until you get a puree. Pour into ice cube trays, a little over halfway full. Add a small dollop of xylitol-free peanut butter to each cube and freeze. Simply pop one cube out at a time for a little treat.
- Puppermint Freezie
Add one cup of plain or Greek yogurt, a small handful of fresh parsley leaves, and a small handful of fresh mint leaves into a blender. Blend until herbs are evenly mixed. Add a small amount of water to the mixture if you want a lighter consistency. Pour ingredients into an ice cube tray or silicone molds and freeze. Pop out of the molds whenever you are ready to serve.
For an easy frozen treat option, you can buy a hollow toy that allows you to fill it with food. Simply add some peanut butter to the center, freeze, and give it to your dog. Some dog parents also like the easy option of filling a pan with water and throwing in some toys and treats. Freeze completely, then pop the giant frozen block out of the container and serve to your dog. This is a wonderful way to get them to drink more water, plus it can cool them down and keep them busy as they work towards their frozen prizes. Remember—this treat is best served outside as it can get messy as it melts.
A great benefit of these frozen treats is that you can make as big or small of a batch as you would like and then keep them stored in your freezer all summer. If you live in a hotter climate that feels like summer all year, these easy treats may very well become a staple in your home.
Dog Treat Recipes for Summer
Although frozen treats can be a splendid option to help keep dogs cool and hydrated, it can still be nice to have a variety of treats available.
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Balls
In a large bowl, combine one cup of pumpkin puree, a quarter cup of xylitol-free peanut butter, two and a half cups of rolled oats, and a quarter cup of water. Mix well. Scoop out a spoonful of the mixture, roll into one-inch balls and roll each through some additional oats. Place treats on a baking pan and refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.
- Classic Biscuits
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine two cups of whole wheat flour, one cup of toasted wheat germ, and half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Add in three quarters a cup of water, a quarter a cup of xylitol-free peanut butter, one egg, and two tablespoons of canola oil—stir until well combined.
On a floured surface, roll dough to about a quarter of an inch in thickness and cut into biscuits with a cookie cutter. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 30-35 minutes or until bottoms of biscuits are lightly brown. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.
- Applesauce Banana Cake With Peanut Butter Frosting
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 6” round cake pan and line with parchment paper. In a bowl, add one large banana and mash thoroughly. Add half a cup of unsweetened applesauce and mix well.
Next, add three-quarters a cup of wheat flour, half a teaspoon of baking soda, and a dash of cinnamon—stir until combined. The batter will be thick. To reach a cake batter consistency, slowly stir in water, up to a quarter a cup.
Add batter to prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let the pan sit for five minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack—cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, combine three-quarters cup of low-fat Greek yogurt, half a cup of peanut butter, and one tablespoon of honey, if desired. Mix well and store in the refrigerator until ready to frost cake. After frosting, decorate cake with mini dog biscuits or other favorite treats.
Though your dog may try to use the power of their puppy eyes to convince you they need more of their treats, it’s important to serve them in moderation. Only a few goodies or one slice of their cake per day is best since these are the dog equivalent to dessert.
Summer Treats for Your Cats
Though cats do not spend time outside like dogs, they may enjoy sitting in enclosed patios or sunrooms. Of course, many cats also are a fan of lying in the sunrays that come through the doors or windows. Whether your cat spends their summer in screened-in porches or the air-conditioned house, they will still appreciate a frozen treat to help keep them cool.
Frozen Cat Treats for Summer
One of the many benefits of these frozen treats is that their main ingredients are items you probably already have in your home. Plus, once you make a batch, you can easily store them in your freezer for the entire summer.
- Tuna Cubes
Using one can of water-packed tuna (or a can of salmon), dump into a food processor with half a cup of water. Blend until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach desired consistency. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Store in tray or pop-out cubes and keep in a zipped bag in the freezer.
- Yogurt Bites
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix a container of Greek yogurt with a can of smooth cat food—run through the food processor if too chunky. Pour mixture into a plastic bag and cut off one corner. Make dollops of the mixture along the prepared baking sheet and freeze.
- Feline Freezie
Pour your preferred amount of goat’s milk into ice cube trays, silicone molds, ice pop molds, or muffin tins. Add a stick to larger molds to help hold your cat’s treat or sprinkle a few small bits of treat into the molds for a little surprise. Freeze the milk completely, remove from molds and serve.
Not only are these treats easy to make, but they are also budget-friendly. With each recipe only requiring a few ingredients, you can easily half or double the recipe, depending on how many cats you are serving.
Summer Cat Treats
If you would like some variety in your cat’s treats or your feline friend is not a fan of frozen treats, you may find it helpful to try out some other homemade recipes.
- Carrot and Catnip Squares
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine two tablespoons of olive oil and one cup of flour. Mix in one tablespoon of dried catnip and three-quarters a cup of finely shredded carrots. Stir in one egg and add a little water if too dry—need the mixture to hold together. If the mixture is too wet or sticky, add additional flour.
On a floured surface, roll out dough to a quarter of an inch in thickness. Using a fork, prick dough all over. With a pizza or pastry wheel, cut dough into little squares and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. You can bake longer for a dry and crunchy texture.
Store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze them for longer shelf life. For softer treats, store in refrigerator.
- Cat Cookies
Preheat oven to 350°. Place two cups of dry cat food in a blender and mix until it becomes a powder. Pour the powder into a bowl and gradually mix in about a cup of water, slowly adding more until a dough is formed. Scoop out small amounts of dough, place on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with the black of a spoon—they will resemble people’s cookies. Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy.
Add a quarter cup of oats, a third of a cup of peas (canned or frozen), half a cup of canned tuna (not drained), and one tablespoon of parmesan cheese to a food processor. Puree, adding olive oil as needed to help form a dough. Scoop out dough and roll into half-inch balls—nothing too big your cat couldn’t eat. Keep the prepared treats in the refrigerator.
Try experimenting with a few different ingredient combinations and adding items you know may be your cat’s favorite.
Foods Safe for Your Pet
Summer is the perfect time to grill out, have campfires, and invite people over for parties. With these types of gatherings, you may have more food sitting around on the counters or being dropped on the floor or in the yard, all of which your cat or dog could get ahold of.
Luckily, there are many common summer foods that are okay for your pet to consume. In fact, some fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy for pets as well. Safe foods for your pet include:
- Green Beans
Of course, there are still some restrictions and precautions you should take if your pet is eating human food. The items should be unseasoned, cut into small pieces, and given in small portions. Meat needs to be cooked, lean, and free of bones, while fruit should be peeled and have any stems, seeds, or cores removed.
Keep a particular eye on peanut butter, which needs to be xylitol-free, and dairy products your pet consumes. It’s not unusual for pets to experience minor digestive issues if they consume too much dairy.
Foods Your Pet Should Avoid
Although there are many delicious fresh fruits and veggies that come along with the summer season, there are also a handful of other food items common in summer that your pet should avoid. Ones to keep in mind include:
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw meat
- Salty snack foods (i.e., pretzels, chips, salted popcorn)
In addition to these foods, your pet should never be given coffee or alcohol. In many cases, though not all, whenever a cat or dog consumes a food item they shouldn’t eat, it can cause effects that range anywhere from depression and diarrhea to vomiting and even death.
It's additionally crucial to remember that just because your pet can eat something doesn’t always mean they should. Like people, cats and dogs have certain foods that may upset their stomachs. As you try new recipes, keep an eye on how your pet reacts. In no time, you’ll discover which treats are their favorites and, thus, which treats they will want you to make time and time again.
Reminder: Treats such as these should not make up more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake. Also, stomach upset may occur in pets who do not tolerate dietary changes well. The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
title: Summer Treats for Your Pets
author: Emily W.