Is there any better feeling than offering a homemade meal or snack to someone you care about? Well… sure, there are probably better feelings out there, but the joy you get from watching someone eat something you created, along with the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what was used in that dish still goes a pretty long way. The same thing applies to the dog snacks we make for our canine friends, and with summer just around the corner, there are a whole slew of seasonal foods that you can include in your DIY dog treat-baking routine.
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Summer ingredients for dogs
While it's fairly common knowledge that certain foods should never enter the mouths of our canine friends (we're looking at you, chocolate and raisins,) there are plenty of "people" foods that are safe, and even healthy, for dogs to enjoy. According to the American Kennel Club, that list includes summer staples like watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, cantaloupe, and cucumbers, among others. Using these fruits and vegetables, you can easily make an assortment of snacks for your dog to enjoy on a road trip or hike, or add water and freeze them for a hydrating option that may cool your canine down on a hot day.
DIY summer recipes
One of the benefits of making homemade dog treats is that you're able to customize the ingredients you use to meet the needs and wants of your dog, and what dog doesn't love peanut butter? To make these treats featured on HGTV, you'll need:
- ½ cup fresh or frozen berries of your choice (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are all safe for dogs to enjoy)
- ½ cup xylitol-free peanut butter
Mix the ingredients with a couple spoonfuls of water in a blender until smooth, then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight before serving as a special treat to your dog.
When it comes to staying hydrated there's no better fruit to get the job done than the one named after the ultimate thirst quencher: watermelon. Watermelon ice cubes are an easy treat to whip up — just take care to remove any seeds before adding melon to this recipe from fellow dog lover, Rachael Ray. To make these sweet snacks, simply cut watermelon into ½" cubes, or to a size slightly smaller than your ice cube tray. Then, just drop the pieces in the tray and freeze overnight before serving to your canine friend for a cool treat that's fun to eat.
Crunchy Carrot Snaps
If savory flavors and dry biscuits work better for your dog, Baking Mischief offers an easy carrot and apple treats recipe that your four-legged friend is sure to enjoy. The ingredients you'll need for this snack are:
- 1 large grated carrot
- ½ cup of oats
- ½ cup of flour
- ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce
To create these cookies, simply mix all ingredients in a large bowl, then spoon small pieces onto a baking sheet once everything is mixed. Pop the filled baking sheet into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, and allow the biscuits to cool before serving as a snack.
Of course, if whipping up a homemade treat isn't something you have the time, or willingness, to do, there are plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables that most dogs love to snack on. The ASPCA suggests offering a few carrots to your canine pal as an easy option to snack on, especially if he's trying to lose a few pounds as carrots are low in calories, as are raw green beans if you're looking to stick with veggies. For a fruit-loving dog, apples and raspberries are other great-tasting, low-calorie options your four-legged friend may enjoy.