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Arts & Life

Summertime Treat

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bazzadarambler [Flickr]
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Most of us eat some things that we know are not good for us, especially around holidays or family get-togethers and celebrations.  The problem with letting your furry friend indulge is that some things are not just "not good" for them but instead may be harmful.  It is up to us to make sure our pets stay healthy so we can all be happy!

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In the summertime most of us enjoy something refreshingly cool and sweet – like ice cream. And our four-footed friends like it, too – dogs especially, but some cats will often lap up what’s left in our bowl if we let them.

The problem is that adult dogs and cats are very often lactose intolerant, meaning their systems do not process milk products well. Consuming ice cream could cause them to suffer mild to severe gastrointestinal problems. And regular consumption of ice cream with its high fat and sugar content may result in some of the same issues we experience, including weight gain, heart and liver problems, even high blood pressure.

Another concern with feeding your furry friend ice cream is what else might be in the container. Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs. You might not notice the caffeine in coffee flavored ice cream, but a small amount can harm your pet. One big risk is Xylitol, an artificial sweetner that can kill dogs.

Instead, make a frozen treat your pet will love that won’t put its health at risk. It’s pretty easy to do. You will need a ripe banana, cut into chunks and frozen, plus two tablespoons of plain yogurt and two tablespoons of peanut butter (the kind without sugar). Toss it all in a blender or food processor. When it is thoroughly mixed and blended, pour it into containers or molds – even ice cube trays - and freeze it. A few hours later, you will have a yummy frozen treat for your furry friend that is healthy and safe.

Or, freeze cantaloupe chunks, then blend a few with plain yogurt until you have a pet-friendly cantaloupe sherbet.

If your pet has serious lactose intolerance, replace the yogurt with coconut yogurt or coconut milk for either recipe.

While it may be tempting to share your ice cream cone, or even what’s left in the bottom of your dessert bowl, with your furry buddy, providing a tasty alternative will help to keep your best friend happy and healthy throughout the summer, when you’re speaking of pets.

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