Healthy summer treats for cats and dogs

July 13, 2020

You feel like treating your pet but, in this heat, don’t want to fire up the oven and bake. Here are some simple, delicious treats for the dog days of summer.

You’re looking for hot-weather treats—a change from those stinky winter chews—to keep your pet busy, hydrated and happy? You’ve come to the right place. But beware: treats can mess with your animal’s appetite and should never exceed 10% of their daily calorie intake, according to Drs Krista Williams and Robin Downing from VCA Hospitals. Here are some healthy options. 

1. Water-based vegetables
A suggestion from VCA hospitals: Beans, broccoli or cauliflower. Frozen or fresh. Placed in your dog’s Kong®. The American Kennel Club suggests blending beans (or banana, strawberry, blueberries, peach) with coconut milk—served frozen.

2. Air-popped popcorn
Hold the salt, butter and oil. Dogs love the crunch. This treat is low in calories and works well as a training reward. Exercise moderation!

3. Frozen broth cubes 
A summer classic. Just pour the broth into an ice cube tray. Add finely chopped parsley and/or mint to sweeten Fido’s summertime breath.

4. Frozen apple with peanut butter
It’s high in calories but most dogs go nuts for peanut butter (spread lightly!). Check out the Ontario SPCA’s “how to” video.

5. Canine candy corn
This Halloween recipe from the BC SPCA is low on candy and works well in summer. Just make sure your dog isn’t lactose intolerant. Ingredients include non-fat plain yogurt, pumpkin purée and banana. Mix and freeze.

For a simple stand in, there’s no beating a solo frozen sardine to give your dog a healthy kick of protein and mental activity.


1. Ice cubes

Simple and straightforward. Ice cubes—plain or flavoured with broth—are a perfect summer treat for cats and according to Queen West Animal Hospital are a great way to increase their water intake.

2. Sliced-up frozen cat food
Almost as simple as frozen water. Slice or dice your feline’s regular wet food and serve frozen. 

3. Frozen tuna with Perrier
Just joking. Tap water works fine: mix some with a can of tuna. Pour into an ice cube tray. Serve frozen and watch kitty’s delight.

4. Well-cooked asparagus 
Hard to believe but (frequently) true. Cut into manageable-sized servings and serve at room temperature. A summer treat for people and—strangely—felines alike!

5. Frozen delight à la Tupperware
Combine a small can of tuna and sliced (cooked) asparagus into a small Tupperware container. Cover with water. Freeze. Serve frozen … for several hours of summertime pleasure.

No scoops for the 4-legged folk
It may be summer but don’t share ice cream with your cat and dog. They can be lactose intolerant and allergic—or extremely sensitive—to sugar, added flavours, salt, texturizers, and preservatives. Read this article to find out about other foods not to give to your pets.

Remember to consult your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your pet and be sure to give your buddy healthy doses of exercise, drinking water, love and attention.

Happy summer!


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