WASHINGTON — What’s sweeter than a cool treat on a hot summer day? How about sharing it with your pet? As we continue digging into what you need to know during these “dog days” of summer, we VERIFY what you can and shouldn't share with your furry family members.
What summer treats are safe for dogs?
Dr. Sage De Rosa, D.V.M., Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency & Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
WHAT WE FOUND:
Frozen ice treats can be OK, but beware of anything that’s “sugar free.”
If it’s sweetened with xylitol, that’s dangerous for pets.
“The ones for kids are going to be purely juices more natural, less sugar content. Those will be safe,” said Dr. Audrey Weaver, Partner Doctor at Heart + Paw.
Ice cream can be OK as well, but beware of chocolate, and all the sugar and dairy could be tough on some pups’ bellies.
“It's not one that I would give every day as their treat,” said Dr. Weaver. “It does have a lot of sugar, a lot of calories.”
“In general, I would say I wouldn't recommend humans sugary treats for our pets because I think it's very possible they cause gastrointestinal upset,” said Dr. Sage De Rosa, Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency & Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “I think ones that are intended for dogs might be a little bit safer and kinder on the gastrointestinal tract. But again, there may be some dogs that don't tolerate that and still get GI upset.”
Some fresh fruits can be a refreshing, healthier alternative to typical treats–still keep sugar content and portions in mind though. Watermelon, cucumbers, pineapples, berries: the APSCA labels all of these as “pet safe snacks,” removing seeds, stems, and peels.
“It’s tasty and it's different from their kibble,” said Dr. Weaver. “So they usually get excited about things that are different and not routine.”
Do not share citrus or grapes.
You might love an icy cold drink — and dropping some ice cubes into your pet’s water bowl is a good way to keep the water from getting too hot.
“I would say like room temperature or cooler water is just fine and preferable, but certainly prevent it from getting really hot,” said Dr. De Rosa.
But vets say if the water is too icy it could lead to an upset stomach. Very cold water shouldn’t be used to cool a very hot dog who is showing signs of heat stroke.
“You don't want to cool them down rapidly because that really can lead to shock situations to different organs, and it can be a bad situation,” said Dr. Weaver. “If it’s just a normal hot day with a normal pet, yeah, break a few ice cubes in the water bowl.”
Also, our experts remind us that dogs can’t safely metabolize alcohol and it can be deadly. So when you’re out sipping a tasty adult beverage, keep it to yourself. Ask for a water bowl for your pet instead.