With the intense heatwave we’ve been soldiering through lately, we’re not the only ones in need of a little refreshment – our four-legged friends could do with some relief from the heat too!
Never fear, we have the lowdown on how to cool down your beloved pup this summer while nourishing them at the same time.
We caught up with RSPCA South Australia dog behaviour specialist Tenelle to come up with 5 ice blocks that are easy for you to make, and even easier for them to enjoy.
“Toys or treats frozen in water or stock are really nice for dogs to chew on and they’re cooling at the same time,” Tenelle says. “It’s soothing for their gums – especially for puppies who are teething.”
I thought ice blocks were bad for dogs?
There’s a rumour floating around that ice blocks are an unsafe way to cool canines down, but rest assured this is a myth.
“We always make ice blocks for dogs at the shelter to cool them down in a safe and refreshing way,” Tenelle assures.
“The only time you should avoid using ice blocks is if you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stress.
“In that case, the worst thing you can do is try to cool them down really quickly yourself – take them to the vet immediately instead.”
With that out of the way, here are our top 5 picks!
1. Dog biscuit and stock ice blocks
Take the beloved dog biscuit to the next level by making it into an ice block on a hot day.
“Old, clean butter or yoghurt containers make ideal moulds for ice blocks,” Tenelle says.
Simply pop a biscuit or two (depending on size) into your container, fill with low-sodium, liquid stock and freeze before presenting the final product as a surprise to doggo.
Your canine is sure to love both this and you!
2. Frozen pigs’ ears
Guaranteed to provide long-lasting contentment, these are a super entertaining, yummy and nutritious chew for dogs. When frozen, they have the benefit of cooling your pup down too.
To make this one, Tenelle recommends adding a pig’s ear to your container, then filling it with a low-sodium, liquid stock and adding it to the freezer.
We promise it will keep your dog entertained even longer than a pig’s ear on its own.
3. Peanut butter and banana ice cubes
A creamy and delicious treat, frozen peanut butter and banana is sure-fire way to make your fur baby happy! Full of protein and heart-healthy fats from the peanut butter, and potassium and fibre from the banana, this cool snack is a winner for your pup’s health too.
Simply add a tablespoon of pure peanut butter and one peeled banana to a container and fill the rest with water before freezing. (Just make sure you choose a peanut butter brand that doesn’t include xytlitol, as this can be dangerous for dogs.)
For smaller dogs – or even just smaller portion sizes – freezing one teaspoon of peanut butter with one slice of banana in an ice cube tray is also an option.
Blueberries are also a great substitute for banana if you want to switch things up!
4. Mixed berry block
Another sweet option is the yummy combo of mixed berries. Take a handful of fresh or frozen berries, add to a container and fill with water before popping in the freezer.
The healthy, refreshing, and entertaining choice of a berry ice block is simply a win-win. Filled with antioxidants and fibre, it’s also sure to give your pup glowing skin 😉
5. Ice cold toys
For something a little different, Tenelle suggests popping a dog toy of your choice into a container, filling with low-sodium liquid stock and freezing. Rope bones are an ideal choice for this one!
The surprise this treat presents will help keep your dog stimulated and engaged as well as refreshed – what more could you want?
What else can I do to keep my dog cool?
While ice blocks may be a fab refreshment for your pup, during hot temperatures it’s vital to make sure you’re doing everything else you can to keep them cool.
“Dogs suffer from the heat just as badly as we do,” Tenelle says.
“During extreme heat, keep your dog inside with the air-conditioning on,” she recommends.
If your four-legged friend is outside, you can cool them down by putting out a clam shell filled with water. And, of course, make sure they have plenty of shade and water.
For more tips on how to protect your pets during extreme heat we’ve got you covered with this complete guide.
We’d love to see your handiwork! If you make any of these ice blocks, don’t forget to post a photo of your happy pup with your creation and tag us at @rspcasa and #rspcasa.
For a heads up on which foods you shouldn’t be feeding your dog in general (and what you can feed them instead) – head over here.