As temperatures continue to rise and we experience hotter, more humid days, dogs can find it difficult to stay cool and hydrated.
You might have seen some popular social media videos showcasing homemade cooling dog treats – but are they safe? Veterinary surgeon, Dr Linda Simon at Pooch & Mutt, has spotted some hidden dangers that could arise if you were to try them out yourself. Here are the cooling tricks to be aware of...
A dental stick might be one of your dog’s favourite treats and freezing one in water can be a nice way to cool them down and keep them occupied, all while cleaning their teeth. But using an ice lolly wrapper to house it can be an issue and means that you will need to supervise them at all times to ensure they don’t ingest anything other than the frozen water and the dental stick.
“Ingesting things such as card and paper can cause bowel obstructions which can be fatal if not treated quickly. Ideally, I would recommend taking the frozen dental stick out of the packaging before giving it to your dog to avoid any unwanted vet trips,” Dr Linda suggests.
Treats that have been frozen in water can be a way to keep your dog cool and entertained but it is always important to give treats in moderation, to avoid the risk of overfeeding your pup.
“Overfeeding can lead to weight gain which can then lead to all sorts of issues, such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, all of which can subsequently reduce your pup's lifespan. Although this treat isn’t likely to be one you serve up regularly, I would still advise deducting the amount of food added from their main meal in order to ensure they are still eating a balanced and well proportioned diet,” Dr Linda recommends.
We all love a fruity ice lolly in the warm weather and this is a good idea for your four-legged friend too, providing that you make it suitable for them.
While many fruits are great for dogs, there are also a lot of fruits that have a naturally high sugar content, which can lead to weight gain if they’re not eaten in moderation. In addition to this, you also need to be extremely aware of avoiding any fruits that are toxic to dogs, such as grapes, sultanas and raisins.
You’ll also want to supervise your dog as they enjoy their cooling treat to make sure that they don’t ingest any of the ice lolly stick. Removing it from them as soon as they have finished it is key to avoiding any choking hazard.
“You’ll notice that when it is hot your dog will pant a lot more in order to eliminate body heat, but doing this also means they lose water via evaporation. It is important for your dog to replenish this lost water to avoid getting dehydrated or worse, heatstroke - so I can see why this hack would be a great way to encourage your dog to drink more,” Dr Linda says.
However, it is incredibly important to read the ingredients of any broth that you choose to use. You will want to avoid any that have added salt, garlic, onion or chives, particularly the latter three ingredients, which can be toxic to pets.
Dr Linda recommends avoiding broth altogether and instead, simply using water with some low sugar, non-toxic fruits and veggies to encourage your dog to drink more.
Even though serving your pup frozen fruit and other healthy treats is a great way to keep them cool, while also providing them with nourishing vitamins and minerals, you do need to take into consideration which fruits you choose to give them.
Again, be careful to choose ones which are non-toxic and low in natural sugars. You also need to be even more cautious when giving frozen fruit to puppies. If the fruits are not cut small enough or contain large seeds or pips, these could become a choking hazard.
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