Keeping it cool, furfriends! Looking for easy DIY dog treat ideas? Frozen and chilled dog treats are some of the easiest homemade dog treats to make. Here’s an introduction to making frozen and chilled treats, safe treat storage, and a few handy tips and tricks.
Caution: Just like people, some dogs don’t like cold treats. If your dog doesn’t enjoy frozen goodies there are plenty of other yummy options. Other dogs love them a little too much. Highly aggressive chewers or dogs with dental issues may be better with softer options to avoid damaging their teeth.
Making Frozen Pupsicle Dog Treats
Frozen Pupsicle DIY Dog Treats
Frozen pupsicle dog treats are some of the easiest treats you can make. Any dog safe liquids (including semi-liquids and purees) will work. 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 freezing things. If you’re working from a recipe, the ingredients can be easily scaled and you can adjust the mixture ratio measurements in any way you’d like to suit your pet and personal preferences. It’s also very easy to make up your own recipe.
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 do this if you’d like the treats to be a little lighter.
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.
Caution: Go natural or take care when shopping to avoid artificial sweeteners in ingredients like yogurt or peanut butter for your dogs – xylitol (also identified as sweetener E967) is particularly dangerous for dogs.
Pupsicles are meant to freeze firm, so silicon moulds 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 and hold the treat the whole time, there isn’t much point. Other than fun and extra treats, of course!
Our dogs don’t use food or treat filled chew toys or boredom busters. However, if you use a rubber Kong-style toy or similar with you dog, plugging the end and making a frozen Kong pupsicle can be cooling boredom busting fun for a sizzling summer day.
With or without a stick, pupsicle licking can be messy business. Frozen treats are best enjoyed over a bowl for easier clean-up or outdoors.
Making 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 your own dog-friendly ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. Spread your treat mix thinly on a lined pan (this will make it easier to break up later) and 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. Depending on your mixture, if 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 this way, too.
If you’d prefer a softer serve ice cream texture, prepare as above, but add plain yogurt (or another dog safe liquid that suits your treat flavour and preferences) to the frozen mixture whilst blending. Serve straight away without re-freezing. To consolidate the prepwork, 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 in the same way you would for making a human smoothie. In the summer, I like to freeze plain yogurt cubes and use these with frozen fruit and milk to make myself smoothies that are also safe for sharing with the boys.
Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Frozen dog-friendly fruits or vegetables can also be yummy treats on their own. You can experiment with ready-frozen dog-safe foods or make your own. Frozen banana slices are one both you and the dogs might enjoy sharing! To help with small quantity use when baking, spread and freeze on lined tray, then transfer to a container for 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 which improves the yum factor.
Safe Storage for Homemade Frozen Dog Treats
Homemade frozen dog treats should (of course) be kept frozen until served. Once you’re newly made treats are frozen solid, they can be removed and transferred from their trays or moulds into a sealed container and returned to the freezer 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, after removing, spread them out on a suitable plate/pan and refreeze to take away any softness or condensation before swiftly popping them into their container.
Making Chilled Dog Treats
Ingredients that set firm without freezing, such as carob drops, coconut oil, or gelatin (we’ll talk about gelatin gummies in a separate post) can make great chilled treats as an alternative to frozen cool-down treats.
Homemade Carob Dog Treats
Carob drops can be melted, set, and kept at cool ambient temperatures or refrigerated (check out our homemade dog Easter egg carob treats for an example) or 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. Pawfect! I usually have a jar of small homemade coconut oil dogs treats in the fridge. 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.
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 veggies. 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 varies depending on the treat type and ingredients used, but generally a week or less.
The exception is chilled coconut oil treats, plain or made with stable add-ins, which can stay refrigerated for a very long time without degradation. I’ve never had an issue. Although consumption makes for quick turnover at our place. Haha! The theoretical safe life would likely depend on the best before of your ingredients. These can also be kept frozen, if you wish.
Keen to Try a Few Treats?
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
We have all sorts of treat related posts here on the blog. 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.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can also use use the category and tag labels above/ below this post to find other 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.