Drool for cool, furfriends! Looking for easy DIY dog treat ideas? In this instalment of our pet chef help series, we’re chilling out with homemade frozen dog treats and chilled snacks. These are some of the easiest homemade dog treats to make. And as a bonus, these types of recipes offer lots of no-bake options for hot weather treat prep or little helpers in the kitchen. Here’s an introduction to making frozen and chilled treats, safe treat storage, and a few handy tips and tricks.
Just like people, some dogs don’t like cold treats. If your dog doesn’t enjoy frozen snacks then there are plenty of other yummy options for tasty treats. Other dogs love them a little too much. Highly aggressive chewers or dogs with dental issues may be better with softer treats to avoid accidently damaging their teeth. We have lots of homemade dog treat recipes in the archives if you’re looking for ideas.
Making Frozen Pupsicle Dog Treats
Frozen Pupsicle DIY Dog Treats
Frozen pupsicle dog treats are some of the easiest homemade treats you can make. Any dog safe liquids (including semi-liquids and purees) can be used to make pupsicles. The potential flavour combinations and add-ins are endless. Perhaps the best part is that it’s almost impossible to mess up a pupsicle since you’re just mixing and freezing things. If you’re working from a recipe, the ingredients can be easily scaled for batch size or to fit moulds. You can adjust the mixture ratio measurements in any way you’d like to suit your pet and personal preferences. It’s also easy to substitute ingredients or to create your own secret recipe from scratch. Everything is flexible and easy. How pawfect is that?
Ingredient Options for Making Homemade Pupsicles
Since you don’t need to worry about things binding, gelling, or other typical treat making processes, you can use almost any dog-friendly ingredients to make pupsicles. A dog-friendly liquid is all that’s needed for a simple pupsicle. Pour, freeze, and enjoy! From there, you can get creative with blending base liquids and other add-in ingredients.
Dog-friendly base liquids include dog-safe stock or broth, plain yogurt, kefir, various milks, pureed fruit, pureed vegetables, or even plain water. If your base is thick, you may find it helpful to dilute the mixture and/or tap the moulds before freezing to avoid air pockets in your treat. You can also dilute the base mixture if you’d like the treats to be a little less rich.
Liquids can be mixed, layered, marbled (if thick) and/or other ingredients can be added to the base for scent and flavour, extra nutritional value, or just because you feel like it. You can experiment with compatible flavours using carob powder, herbs, spices, chopped cooked meat or fish, tinned fish, chunks of fruit or veggies, or anything yummy and dog safe. Its also easy to split the pupsicle base and make a mix-and-match variety of pupsicles with different flavour add-ins or natural food colours.
When choosing ingredients for treats, remember to check the labels. Take care to avoid extra salt, artificial sweeteners, and other unwanted content in things like yogurt or peanut butter. Xylitol (also identified as sweetener E967) is particularly dangerous for dogs.
Pupsicles are meant to freeze firm, so silicon food moulds (affiliate link) or ice cube trays are good options for freezing in single serving treat sizes. If you’re including something stinky, like pureed fish, you might want to use a designated dogs-only mould or ice cube tray. Strong scents and flavours may linger even after cleaning and infuse into future contents. You can freeze an edible “stick” into the treats, if you wish, but unless you’re going to try to hold the treat the whole time, there isn’t much point. Other than fun and extra treats, of course! With or without a stick (we prefer without), pupsicle licking can be messy business. Frozen treats are best enjoyed over a bowl for easier clean-up or outdoors.
Our dogs don’t use food or treat filled chew toys or boredom busters. However, if you use a rubber Kong (affiliate link) or similar with your dog, plugging the end and making a frozen Kong pupsicle can be cooling boredom busting fun for a sizzling summer day. Different styles of lick mats (affiliate link) can also be frozen before serving, whether for prep storage or for longer cooler licking. See below for softer style ice creams and smoothies that could be smeared on for serving, or cool treats that could be served from the fridge instead of the freezer.
Making Soft Ice Cream and Other Frozen Dog Treats
Dog-Friendly Homemade Ice Cream
If you want to make a softer frozen dog treat and don’t have an ice cream maker, you can still make dog-friendly ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. Spread your treat mix thinly on a lined pan to make it easier to break up later, then freeze. Crumble the frozen mixture into a food processor. Whiz it well and serve. Alternatively, place in freezer-safe container(s) for storage until serving. Frozen texture will depend on your doggy ice cream mixture. If it’s re-frozen in a large container instead of as single serve, you may need to allow it a little time to soften before scooping. You can make homemade human ice cream and sorbet using this method, too. Or maybe even share with the dogs.
If you’d prefer a softer serve ice cream texture, prepare as above, but add some plain yogurt or kefir (or another dog safe liquid that suits your treat flavour and preferences) to help soften up the frozen mixture whilst blending. Serve it straight away without re-freezing. To consolidate the prep work, the frozen mixture can be prepared, frozen, and then stored for blending as single serving soft-serves.
Dog-Friendly Smoothies and Milkshakes
You can also prepare dog-friendly milkshakes and smoothies by further diluting a treat mix as blended for soft serve above, or by using dog-safe ingredients the same way you would for making a human smoothie. In the summer, I like to use plain yogurt cubes and/or frozen fruit to make myself smoothies. As long as the other ingredients are dog-friendly, these are safe for sharing with our boys. Too easy!
Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Frozen dog-friendly fruits or vegetables can also be yummy treats just on their own. You can experiment with ready-frozen dog-safe foods or freeze your own for ready-use. Frozen banana slices are one both you and the dogs might enjoy sharing. To help with small quantity use, spread on lined tray or plate, freeze, and then transfer into a container for continued frozen storage and free-flow use.
Other Frozen Dog Treats
Dogs can also enjoy other types of dog-safe foods or homemade treats straight from frozen storage, but defrosting to ambient temperature increases the scent and yum factor. For example, our boys would never pass up a frozen meatball dog treat and have happily nibbled many a frosty snack. But a warm meatball is even more doggone irresistible. I’ll usually defrost these types of treats instead.
Safe Storage for Homemade Frozen Dog Treats
Homemade frozen dog treats should (of course) be kept frozen until served. Once your treats are frozen solid, they can be removed and transferred from their trays or moulds into a sealed container and returned to the freezer for continued storage until use.
Depending on their shape and size, when freezing treats stacked in a container, you may find it helpful to use baking or freezer payer between layers to reduce the risk of treats sticking together. Alternatively if things have gotten a bit sticky during unmoulding, you can do a quick re-freeze before storing. After removing, spread the treats out on a suitable plate/pan and refreeze to take away any softness or condensation from handling before swiftly popping them into their freezer container.
Making Chilled Dog Treats
Ingredients that set firm without freezing, such as carob drops, coconut oil, or gelatin can make great chilled treats as an alternative to harder and colder fully frozen snacks. We’ll talk about gelatin gummies, one of our favourite types of treats, in a separate post. Ideas for other types of cooled and chilled treats are shared in the treat-making intro below.
Homemade Carob Dog Treats
Carob drops can be melted, set, and kept at cool ambient temperatures or refrigerated, like our homemade dog Easter egg carob treats. Carob can also be used as an icing or dip for other dog treats. Add-ins in most carob drops (unlike plain carob or powder), however, make this a special naughty indulgence to enjoy in moderation. Make a small batch, store for future nibbles, or share with friends.
Homemade Coconut Oil Dog Treats
Coconut oil can be melted and set for easy chilled treats. If you’re into supplementing your dogs with coconut oil, setting it turns that supplement into treats. Our dogs enjoy them plain, and I’ll occasionally do a special batch with add-ins such as carob, peanut butter, or turmeric. As an oil, coconut oil is difficult (or impossible) to mix with many liquids and powders. Expect some floating or setting of solids, and allow the mixture to thicken before you pour to set if trying to create a suspension.
Note: When this post was first shared, coconut oil was recommended as a dietary supplement for dogs by many holistic vets and dog nutritionists; however, it has recently come under debate. You can see our post on super simple coconut oil dog treats for more information as well as links on the benefits of coconut oil and potential issues to consider.
Homemade Dog-Friendly Truffle Treats
Truffle style dog treats (bliss balls), can also be made using dog-safe ingredients and kept chilled. Unlike the more stable treats above, refrigerated life will be limited by what you include in the mixture.
Gelatin Gummy Dog Treats
Variety is the spice of life, but gummies are by far our personal favourite chilled dog treats. In case you missed it above, we love them so much that they have their own fully detailed intro to making gummy dog treats in our pet chef help series. They have their own recipe filter category in our blog archives too, so you can navigate straight to all the gummy dog treat recipes.
Safe Storage for Chilled Dog Treats
Some homemade chilled dog treats have a limited fresh storage life due to their ingredients. Truffle treats, for example, have a limited fresh storage life since they’re often made with fruits and/or vegetables. These types of treats can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for short term storage, and can be frozen for longer term storage. Refrigerator life for chilled food varies depending on the treat type and ingredients used, but generally a week or less.
Chilled coconut oil treats, plain or made with stable add-ins, are an exception. Many can be refrigerated for a very long time without degradation. I’ve never had an issue with these going off. Although consumption usually makes for quick turnover at our place. Haha! The theoretical life would likely depend on the best before of your ingredients. Coconut oil treats can also be kept frozen, if you wish.
Keen to Try a Few Treats?
We have all sorts of treat related posts in the Dalmatian DIY archives. You can sniff around our DIY dog recipes, use our categories and tags to navigate, or use the internal search function to look for specific types or treats or treat ingredients. You can also hop over to our DIY Dog Treat Recipes board on Pinterest for ideas from here and all around the web. We’ve also started a Pet Chef Help board on Pinterest with handy links on things like ingredients, substitutions, conversions, tinting, and more.
Sniffing for some more snackspiration? Treat temptation? Check out the full mini-series topic for an introduction to the main categories of different homemade dog treats we make and share here on the blog:
- Why (and How) to Make Homemade Dog Treats
- Frozen and Chilled Homemade Dog Treats
- Homemade Gelatin Gummy Dog Treats
- Homemade Dehydrated Dog Treats
- Homemade Birthday and Special Occasion Dog Cakes
- Homemade Baked Biscuit (Cookie) Dog Treats
- Decorating Homemade Baked Biscuit Dog Treats
- Homemade Baked Dog Treat Shelf Life and Storage
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our archives. You can use the category and tag labels above/ below posts to find recipes that might be of interest or use our internal search tools to find something specific. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas from treats that we’ve made ourselves for our pets, but different animals have different preferences (likes/dislikes), just like people. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.