Arlington, VA

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

By Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Nothing says summer like enjoying a sweet frozen treat like ice cream or a snow cone.

While you might be inclined to let your dog have a lick, many desserts are artificially sweetened with Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. So instead of sharing your summer dessert, try one of these easy pet-friendly treats to beat the heat.

Frozen Fresh Breath Treats 

  • 1 cup of plain or Greek yogurt
  • Small handful of fresh parsley leaves
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves

Blend all the ingredients until the herbs are evenly disbursed. If you’d like the consistency to be a little thinner, add a splash of water. Pour into an ice tray and freeze. The parsley and mint will help freshen your dog’s breath, while also providing other health benefits.

Parsley can reduce inflammation and aid digestion, while mint is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral to help prevent bacteria growing in your dog’s mouth.

Doggie S’mores

  • Dog biscuits
  • 1 cup of carob chips or 1 tablespoon of carob powder
  • 1 cup of plain or Greek yoghurt

Put carob chips in a bowl and melt over boiled water. Once melted, mix with the yogurt. For carob powder, mix it directly into the yogurt. Dip the top of the dog biscuit into the mixture, then place another biscuit on top to create a sandwich. Line a tray with as many s’mores as you want, then freeze.

Since chocolate is toxic for dogs, regular s’mores aren’t an option, but carob has a similar taste and texture to chocolate, and also contains healthy nutrients to help flush toxins from your dog’s body.

Bark + Boarding Ice Cream

  • Equal parts plain yogurt
  • Peanut butter, pumpkin puree or chicken stock

Blend ingredients together. Pour into ice trays, then freeze until solid. Here at Bark + Boarding, our doggie-friendly ice cream is always a hit! Using the pumpkin puree has the added benefit of aiding your dog’s digestive health. If you go with peanut butter, make sure you get a naturally sweetened brand without Xylitol.

Tennis Ball Surprise

Combine two of your dog’s favorite things: tennis balls and treats! Carefully cut a slit into a tennis ball, revealing the hollow center. Fill it with treats, then give it a toss. This is sure to liven up any game of fetch, and will also give your active dog something to keep busy as they snuff out the treats.

Frozen Kong

Kongs can keep dogs entertained for hours, and also provide a tasty frozen snack to cool off with in the summer. Try one of the several recipes below. Simply blend or mash the ingredients together, spoon into your Kong, then freeze.

Hardy Helping

  • 1 cup of boiled potato
  • ½ cup of plain cottage cheese
  • ½ cup of grated low-fat cheese

Mediterranean Delight

  • 1 cup of plain or Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 banana

Protein Power

  • 1 cup of cooked sweet potato
  • Handful of shredded, boiled chicken
  • Handful of cooked carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of yogurt

Sweet Treat

  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1 cup of natural peanut butter (Xylitol-free)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Of course, dogs shouldn’t get all the fun! Here are some treats that your cat can have this summer too!

Frozen Tuna Treat

  • An ice cube tray
  • Can of water-packed tuna (or canned salmon)
  • Approximately ½ cup water

Without draining the tuna, mash it with the water. Blend the tuna until it’s a light puree.  Fill an ice cube tray and freeze. If your cat is being a picky eater as the weather warms up, this is a great way to entice them to eat something filling.

Kitty Snow Cones

  • 8-10 ice cubes
  • ½ cup water
  • Tuna juice, chicken broth or flavoring of your choice
  • Dry cat food (optional)

Place the ice cubes and water into a blender and blend until the mixture is slushy, but not liquid. Scoop out a serving into a bowl. Drizzle the flavoring your cat prefers over it and serve. If you want, sprinkle crushed dry cat food over the top for a crunchy garnish.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

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