Almost all dog parents have experienced having their canine friends rushing over whenever they unwrap a frozen treat for themselves.
And while it can be extremely hard to deny our pets anything when faced with puppy eyes and wagging tails, giving in is just not an option sometimes. So are popsicles one of these things you’ll have to break your dog’s heart over?
The Short Answer
Yes, dogs can eat popsicles, but you have to ensure that they don’t contain xylitol because this sweetener is very toxic to dogs.
You can buy dog-specific popsicles or make some yourself using dog-safe whole foods.
What Kind of Popsicles Can Dogs Eat?
Dogs can eat any popsicle that doesn’t contain xylitol; it’s an artificial sweetener mostly used in food, beverages, and snacks, and it’s highly toxic for dogs. So consuming it in the smallest of amounts can cause your dog digestive disorders, low blood sugar levels, and seizures.
Dairy products, too, can cause several health issues. So, we highly recommend steering clear of frozen yogurt, cheese, or any dairy-containing frozen treats. Yes, some dogs can have dairy in small amounts, but we prefer taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach.
Another option is buying dog popsicles, or you can actually make the treats yourself and freeze them in popsicle molds/ice-cube trays. That way, your dog can enjoy the cooling treat without experiencing any allergic reaction.
What Frozen Treats Can I Give My Dog?
You can give your dog any ready-made treat that’s free of xylitol, dairy, and sugar. But it’s actually better to make the frozen treat yourself.
There are several dog popsicle recipes you can try out. You’ll need a food processor, ice cube trays, or popsicle sticks. So here are a few cool (pun intended) recipes:
Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Technically, all you need for this recipe is a dog-safe fruit or vegetable and a (maybe) blender. You can serve the frozen treat as is or blend it beforehand.
If you’re going the blended route, simply blend the fruit or veggie with some water, place the smoothie in an ice cube tray, freeze it, and voilà! Your canine friend can now enjoy their tasty dog popsicles.
“Flavors” that are safe for your canine buddy include carrots, blueberries, pineapples, green beans, bananas, strawberries, and peach. You can even buy the fruits/veggies already frozen to save yourself some time.
You can also spice things up by using trays that take the shape of a bone as an extra treat.
Meat, Herbs, and Broth
For this recipe, you’ll be putting together some bone broth, shredded meat, dog-safe natural herbs (basil, for example), and drops of olive oil for good measure. Then, freeze the blended ingredients for a few hours and feed your dog these meaty popsicles.
Greek Yogurt Popsicle Sticks
Mix some yogurt and milk together and freeze them in a bone-shaped silicone mold or an ice cube tray, and watch your dog enjoy these homemade popsicles with so much delight!
However, since this recipe is very dairy-heavy, it’s safer not to treat your dog to it frequently. That is, of course, if your dog isn’t dairy-intolerant in the first place.
Banana and Peanut Butter
This is another recipe where you need to make sure that your dog isn’t allergic to the ingredients.
So, if you’re certain that peanut butter doesn’t upset your dog’s stomach, all you need to do is puree some banana chunks using a food processor.
Then, uniformly mix your pureed banana with a few scoops of peanut butter, place the mixture in a popsicle mold or an ice cube tray, and freeze the mix for about four hours. Finally, feed your dog and observe its reaction closely.
Can Dogs Eat Jolly Rancher Popsicles?
Yes, they can. Jolly Rancher popsicles don’t contain xylitol, so they aren’t necessarily toxic for dogs. That said, these popsicles are very high in sugar, so treating your dog to one should be a very rare occurrence. It’s also best to observe your dog for any allergic reaction when first introducing the treat to them.
Benefits of Popsicles to Your Dog
There are several benefits your dog can get from consuming these frozen treats. Of course, these benefits depend on what ingredients the popsicle is made of. We’ve listed some of its advantages below:
Cooling Effect and Hydration
Being that they’re cold treats, dog popsicles have a cooling effect on your dog just like they have on you, and there’s no living creature that doesn’t relish cooling off on hot summer days.
Better yet, because a popsicle is mainly made with water, it can be very hyperdating for your dog. You can even use it as a reward for their good behavior.
Vitamins and Minerals
Homemade dog popsicles provide your dog with some nourishing benefits. The fruits and veggies you’ll be using are full of vitamins (mainly A, D, E, C, and K) and minerals like potassium and bromelain.
These vitamins and minerals can boost your dog’s immune system and improve their vision and awareness of their environment. These nutrients can also go a long way in easing anxiety.
You can probably guess how rich in protein meat and broth-based popsicles are. So, regularly (but moderately) serving these treats to your dog would be great for their overall health.
Body cell repair and a standard immunity are among the goodness the proteins in some popsicles can give your dog.
Risks Popsicles Pose to Your Dog
When feeding your dog these tasty frozen treats, you need to be aware of a couple of risks:
Some risks associated with feeding your dog popsicle treats include digestive-related issues such as tummy bloats, gas, and irregular bowel movement.
These symptoms are especially common when adding dairy and dairy-based ingredients to your popsicles. Several dogs are lactose intolerant, and even non-allergic dogs can’t digest milk and dairy as easily as most humans.
So if you must use milk in making popsicles for your dog, then introduce it in very small amounts and carefully observe the dog’s reaction.
Commercial popsicles contain some amounts of artificial sweeteners such as xylitol and mannitol. These ingredients and some others, such as raisins and cocoa powder, are toxic to dogs, no matter their amounts. Therefore, we recommend avoiding them in dog popsicles.
You may end up exposing your dog to cardiac, gut, and nervous system complications when some of these risks are overlooked.
Canine obesity is another risk you might just expose your dog to when it comes to popsicles. Most ready-made popsicles are high in sugar, even dog-specific ones. So these treats should never be given frequently.
However, if you just can’t resist the puppy eyes no matter what, then make these frozen treats at home to ensure that they’re low-calory and sugar-free.
One of the risks that might skip your notice is the popsicle stick itself.
Your dog could enjoy the popsicle treat so much that they end up munching on the popsicle stick as well, which is obviously a choking hazard. So either keep a close eye on your dog when they’re eating the popsicle or serve it in their food bowl in the form of ice cubes.
All in all, it’s best to consult your dog’s vet before introducing popsicles to their food palate. You’ll get to understand some ingredients your dog can’t tolerate and the right amounts and portions you should give at a time.
It turns out you don’t have to resist your dog’s puppy eyes after all! You can share your popsicle with your dog if it doesn’t contain xylitol.
Or, better yet, have homemade dog popsicles at hand so you can rest assured that you aren’t exposing your dog to any toxic or irritating ingredients. So don’t hesitate to explore the dog popsicle recipes we shared above.
Also, always speak to your veterinarian before introducing dog popsicles to your dog, and make sure to serve them in moderation to avoid any stomach discomfort.