Dog Days of Summer: Cool Off Your Pup With Frozen Treats
Pretty much everyone loves PB&J -- even Fido. Here's how to turn the schoolyard sandwich into a frozen summer treat.
Keeping your pets active year-round is important, but that can be tough during the summer months when it’s just So. Darn. Hot. To help your dogs cool down on a scorching day, try these DIY frozen dog treats. They’re easy to make with only three ingredients, and they’ll keep your pup busy for, well, maybe a few minutes. (My dogs, who typically gobble down their food in seconds, had to work on them for a little bit.)
I made these treats with peanut butter, strawberries and blueberries for a PB&J theme, but you could make them with lots of different ingredients depending on your dog’s tastes: bananas, sweet potatoes, plain yogurt, chicken broth or veggies. Just be sure to steer clear of foods that are poisonous or otherwise unhealthy for dogs. (Refer to this list from The Humane Society.)
- 1/4 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/3 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter (Make sure your PB doesn't contain sugar substitute called xylitol, which is toxic to dogs)
- ice cube tray (For bonus cute points, use a silicone mold with paw print or dog bone-shaped cavities. Ingredient measurements may vary depending on the size of your tray.)
Combine the strawberries and blueberries in a blender and blend to a smoothie-like consistency. (You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to get it thin enough.) Spoon the berry mixture into your ice cube tray, filling each cavity about halfway.
Fill each ice cube cavity the rest of the way with peanut butter.
Freeze for at least two hours, pop the treats out of the tray and let your pup enjoy! You can store extra treats in freezer-safe food containers in layers separated by wax or parchment paper.
If human desserts look just as good as they taste, why shouldn't pet treats? Spoil your four-footed friend with treats from online bakeries like Two Tails Dog Bakery. Since the long-lasting goods don't usually require refrigeration, you can keep them out so they're easy to grab when your best friend needs a nibble.
Make a Statement With Mats
Instead of basic rubber mats designed only to protect the floor from splashes, opt for indoor/outdoor 2x3 patterned rugs. Many styles are made from recycled materials which breathe and are easy to clean with just a garden hose.
Couches for Canines
Sofas for dogs? Yep! For decades, furniture manufacturers have been offering everyday furniture scaled down to toddler scale, a size which is also ideal for small and medium breeds. So hit your local thrift store or consignment shop for an inexpensive, secondhand kids' sofa then have it reupholstered with pooch-friendly fabric.
When it comes to pet-proofing in style, indoor-outdoor products are always your best bet. This kid-sized sofa was reupholstered using a Trina Turk indoor-outdoor fabric from Schumacher. Made to resist moisture, UV rays and most stains, this sophisticated fabric turned a juvenile piece of furniture into a showstopping conversation-starter.
Go Zen for Your Best Friend
Buck traditional dog bowls for something more on-trend. Many pet supply manufacturers have created high-end lines for every type of product from blankets and bowls to collars and coats. Zen-inspired feeding bowls with simple, Asian lines are both sculptural and utilitarian. Sites like Pet Squared offer modern Zen and Asian styles sure to please both man's best friend and their master.
Same Old Food, New Tricks
Interior designers often choose furniture with metal legs for homes with teething puppies or scratch-obsessed kittens, but the same principle can also apply to their feeding station. Industrial dog bowls mix materials like natural wood with durable steel, aluminum and other metals — all certain to stand up to even the most chewy of teething pets.
Squeaking With Style
Rubber squeaky toys are 100 percent fun for pets, but 50 percent eyesore and 50 percent annoying racket for pet owners. Instead, opt for fabric pet toys, made from natural materials like cotton, wool, linen, felt or hemp. They're machine washable and cute enough to hang out on the sofa instead of being hidden away in the toy box. Etsy favorite Wags and Wiggles is a great online source for affordable fabric pet toys.
Most everyday dog treats aren't much to look at. Instead of storing them in clear jars or stashing them away in boxes, store them in graphic ceramic canisters featuring colors and styles which complement your kitchen. The Newport Collection from Unleashed Life is an online favorite.
Outdoor Toys Head Indoors
While Frisbees aren't exactly something you and your pet typically play with indoors, knit versions may change that. Many pet boutiques carry knit Frisbees for doggie roughhousing that won't break a window — or the bank. These can be found online affordably through Pocket Disc, or learn how to make them yourself at Worth A Knit's blog.