Treat Your Pooch to a Dog-Friendly Popsicle This Summer

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In the heat of summer, few things hit the spot more than a refreshing popsicle or ice cream bar. While your dog may look longingly at you as you indulge in that sweet, creamy goodness—and you may be tempted to share with them—there are some important things you should know first. Keep reading to learn more about what is and isn't safe to give dogs as a frozen treat, as well as to discover dog-friendly popsicles that you can give your furry friend instead of ones from your supermarket.


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Why many store-bought frozen treats aren't good for dogs

In general, giving your dog store-bought popsicles (and ice cream) isn't always a good idea due to potential health concerns. While a small amount of popsicle or ice cream may not immediately be harmful to your dog, it's generally not recommended to give them to dogs.


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Most store-bought popsicles contain additives and ingredients that can be harmful to dogs, such as artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is toxic to dogs and can cause a severe drop in blood sugar levels. Additionally, many popsicles contain flavors, colors, and preservatives that may not agree with a dog's digestive system and can cause gastrointestinal upset.


Like humans, some dogs also develop lactose intolerance, making dairy products harder for them to digest, which for some dogs can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Many store-bought dairy products contain milk that has been highly processed, removing some of the nutritional value and making it harder for some dogs to consume.


However, some dogs love dairy products, and depending on the food's lactose content, they may be able to safely enjoy certain dairy products like string cheese or plain yogurt in small or moderate amounts. But until you know your dog's lactose tolerance levels, there's always the risk that giving them store-bought ice cream or frozen treats with dairy may make them sick.


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Alternatives to human-friendly popsicles

However, that doesn't mean there aren't safe ways to share a frozen (or unfrozen) popsicle treat with your dog. In fact, when made with safe ingredients, a dog-friendly popsicle can be a great and fun way to supply your dog with extra hydration on particularly hot days.


If you want to provide a cool summertime treat for your dog, it's better to opt for safe alternatives specifically designed for dogs. Some pet stores offer frozen treats that are made with dog-friendly ingredients.


Or, you can make your own at home using dog-friendly ingredients like plain yogurt (which is often healthier for dogs than milk), puréed fruits (without seeds or pits), or even freeze-dried dog treats or dog biscuits mixed with water or chicken broth and frozen in ice cube trays. Even a frozen banana can serve as a suitable stand-in for a real popsicle.


Whether you want to purchase pet-approved popsicles specifically designed for dogs, or want to try out your own frozen dog treat recipes and make your own "pupsicles" using safe, simple ingredients, we've rounded up some of the best dog-friendly popsicles and dog popsicle molds for you to get started.


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Remember to always introduce new treats gradually and in moderation, observing how your dog reacts to them. If you're unsure about a specific ingredient or treat, it's best to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice.

1. Woof Pupsicle Line

This unique dog treat toy and line of dog popsicles (called "Pupsicle Pops") proves that dog popsicles don't need to be sweet in order to be enticing. But just what Pupsicle is can be a little confusing at first.

At Woof, the term "Pupsicle" actually refers to a rounded dog toy that houses the treat itself, called a Pupsicle Pop, which you can purchase separately in refill packs or add to your Pupsicle toy purchase as the Starter Pack or Alpha Pack (more on those below).

The Pupsicle itself is a rounded dog toy that's not quite spherical, but at the same time, less cylindrical than a car tire (it's kind of in between). Since it's not a perfect sphere, it doesn't roll around just like a ball, but your dog can still have fun pushing it around with their nose and paws, as it skids easily across the floor.


The toy includes a cap that you unscrew to place a tasty, premade Pupsicle Pop inside the toy. The cap contains a hole that exposes the top of the Pupsicle Pop for your dog to lick, providing 20 to 40 minutes of dog play as your dog slowly licks the treat into oblivion. It's designed to be mess-free and is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. The Pupsicle comes in three sizes to cater to smaller and larger dogs alike:

  • Small:‌ 2.9" x 2.2" (D x H)
  • Large:‌ 3.6" x 2.8" (D x H)
  • X-Large:‌ 4.78" x 3.8" (D x H)

As for the Pupsicle Pop treats, there's actually an entire line of "pops" you can purchase to place inside the Pupsicle, including two different Vitamin Pops and a variety pack, but the classic Pupsicle Pop is a great place to start. It's made with just nine high-quality ingredients: beef or chicken, dog-safe peanut butter, tapioca starch, beef tallow, rice syrup, vegetable glycerin, soy lecithin, gelatin, and blueberry powder. No, it's not particularly sweet, so it may not remind you much of a regular popsicle, but it's more nutritious and longer-lasting than a traditional frozen treat.

Oh, did we forget to mention? You ‌don't‌ need to freeze (or even refrigerate) Pupsicle Pops. You certainly can—to make them even more irresistible—but freezing isn't necessary.

The balls are conveniently premade (all you have to do is drop them inside the Pupsicle) and each refill bag contains 10 small balls or seven large balls.

For a great deal on these goodies, you can purchase a Starter Pack or an Alpha Pack, if you're really committed. The Starter Pack is available in three sizes and includes the Pupsicle toy, a DIY treat tray (which you can also use to freeze Pupsicle Pops), and a bag of Pupsicle Pops.

The Alpha Pack takes things a step further and includes everything in the Starter Pack, as well as a bag of Doggy Broth, a bag of Love Nuggets (dog treats), and a Doggy Broth bottle for mixing Woof Doggy Broth. You can also buy the Pupsicle treat tray separately (again, available in three sizes) if you want to freeze your Pupsicle Pops or use it as a mold for making your own frozen dog treats.


2. WholeHearted Slushy Squeeze Peanut Butter Dog Treats

For a yummy treat that's much closer to a traditional popsicle (that's dog-friendly, of course), these WholeHearted Slushy Squeeze dog treats are a great option that are made with human-grade ingredients. They're primarily made with filtered water, glycerin, apple juice concentrate, and dog-safe peanut butter, giving them a fruity and creamy taste that your pooch will love.

Each bag comes with six 2-ounce slushy tubes; simply stick them in the freezer and then squeeze the slushy chunks into a dog bowl and serve. You can also squeeze the frozen treat out of the tube like an ice pop and let your dog lick it up, if you aren't afraid of a little mess.

3. Paw Pops Dog Slushy Frozen Dog Treats

Another similar option are these slushy dog treats from Paw Pops. They also come in six 2-ounce tubes and are also made from human-grade ingredients like apple juice concentrate and dog-safe peanut butter (dogs love peanut butter!). Just freeze the pops for at least four hours, massage them until they're a little mushy inside, and squeeze out the contents into your dog's bowl. They're a slightly sweet and refreshing treat that will provide your dog with some extra hydration on a hot day.

4. Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up! Pureé Pumpkin Dog and Cat Treats

These pumpkin-based pureé treats are delicious to dogs and cats alike, and there are so many possibilities. Not unlike the Pupsicle Pops from Woof, you don't have to freeze them and they're ready to eat right out of the pouch, but you can definitely freeze them and stick popsicle sticks inside to make delectable "pupsicles" or "catsicles," or use a tray mold to create tasty and long-lasting frozen pumpkin cubes.

The variety pack comes with three flavors—pumpkin puree, pumpkin with ginger and turmeric, and pumpkin with coconut oil and flaxseeds—and includes four pouches of each flavor for a total of 12 pouches. You can choose between 1.05-ounce pouches or 2.8-ounce pouches. Since pumpkin is a superfood in its own right that's packed with natural fiber and is great for gut health and stool quality, you'll have no qualms serving this as an occasional frozen treat. They even work as wet toppers for cat and dog food.


5. PetCakes YumYum Bones Frozen Yogurt Mix With Dog Bone-Shaped Pan

As we briefly mentioned earlier, plain yogurt can be healthier for dogs than milk, and the active cultures can even be beneficial to their gut bacteria, so if you're sure your dog doesn't have a problem digesting lactose, this fruity frozen yogurt mix for dogs can be a safe treat for them.

There are no artificial colors or flavors and only a handful of simple, natural ingredients: dried yogurt, collagen, dried honey, turmeric, and either pineapple and coconut power or blueberry and strawberry power, depending on which flavor you choose. All you have to do is add water and freeze. To make things even easier, the mix comes with a cute dog bone-shaped treat mold for freezing, so you can serve your pooch the perfectly-sized amount of frozen yogurt on a hot day.

6. Diggs Groov Crate Dog Training Aid

This useful little product isn't specifically a pupsicle mold, but it works really well as a mold for frozen treats if you decide you'd like to make your own healthy, dog-friendly popsicles.

The original intent behind the product is for you to be able to smear any sort of dog-friendly treat, like peanut butter, onto the training aid and then use it to coax your puppy or new dog into their crate (it's designed for you to place the training aid between the bars or lattice wire of most Revol and wire dog crates, where your pup can lick it to their heart's content while getting used to the crate).

However, you can also use the training aid as a pupsicle mold for homemade dog popsicles; it even comes with a plastic sheath to make the molding easier. The training aid is made from high-quality, food-grade silicone that's BPA-free.

For a simple pupsicle recipe, consider filling the mold with plain Greek yogurt and berries, peanut butter, mashed up bananas or cantaloupe, or a fruit purée and then placing it in the freezer to make a variety of nutritious frozen treats for your dog.

If you'd like more dog popsicle recipe ideas, check out this easy recipe guide for low prep time, hydrating DIY dog treats.

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Harmful ingredients to avoid giving to dogs

Whether you're scanning your popsicle box's label for dog-friendly ingredients or want to make your own dog popsicles at home, there are several foods that are not safe for dogs and can be toxic or harmful to their health. Some common foods and ingredients to avoid feeding to dogs include:

Xylitol:‌ Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free products, such as candy, gum, baked goods, and some peanut butters. It can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels. Xylitol ingestion can result in symptoms like vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure.

Chocolate:‌ Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizures, and even death.

Macadamia nuts:‌ Macadamia nuts are especially delicious to humans when covered in chocolate (another no-no for dogs), but ingesting these nuts can cause vomiting, tremors, weakness, and hyperthermia in dogs, so you'll want to avoid adding them to any homemade pupsicle or frozen treat for your dog.

Caffeine:‌ Foods and beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate, can be harmful to dogs. Caffeine can affect a dog's central nervous system and cardiovascular system, leading to symptoms like restlessness, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, tremors, and seizures.

Alcohol:‌ Alcohol is extremely dangerous for dogs. Even small amounts can cause alcohol poisoning, leading to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, and potentially coma or death.

Avocado:‌ Avocados contain a substance called persin, which is toxic to dogs in large amounts. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.

Grapes and raisins:‌ Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Even small amounts can be toxic and lead to symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and increased thirst and urination.

Onions and garlic:‌ Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. Symptoms may include weakness, pale gums, elevated heart rate, and collapse.

Excess sugar:‌ While natural sugar is safer for dogs than artificial sweeteners, too much sugar isn't good for dogs, either. That's why many "pupsicles" or dog popsicles don't try to emulate the sweetness of human-friendly popsicles or ice cream bars, and instead go the savory route using nutritious ingredients like bone or chicken broth, or peanut butter. Freezing dog-friendly fruits like bananas and strawberries or mixing them with frozen plain yogurt can provide the perfect touch of sweetness to treat your dog without going overboard with the sugar.

It's important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are other foods that can be harmful to dogs. If you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic, it's crucial to contact your veterinarian or a pet poison helpline immediately for guidance.


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