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Summer Toys and Treats

Val Cairney May 27, 2022 102

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Hi everyone, and welcome to this episode of Val Talk’s Pets. Well we are launching into summer and I hope you accessed my episode on summer safety and tips.  So, to take things a bit further I thought I would go over some of the toys and treats that we can get for our pets, dogs in particular in this episode to make them have a happy and fun summer.

Not every dog is a swimming dog so we have to think of ways to let them have fun on the shore or from the pool deck or from under a shady tree. Obviously chewing toys will be one of the best ways to keep a dog occupied, but let’s have a look at some of the options.  One really good idea a customer told me was that they will fill their dog’s Kong toy with peanut butter and some chewy treats and then freeze it.  This way it takes the dog longer to work on getting the tasty treats out of the Kong but also, they are nice a cold.  What a great idea.  But, remember the peanut butter has to be peanut butter only, no

sugar and no xylitol or sugar birch as it is being marketed on some products.  You could also put pureed pumpkin in the Kong and freeze that.  Some people like to give their dogs the real bones with marrow inside.  If the bones are high quality this could be a great idea however, Tundra took one of his bones outside and before you knew it, the whole thing was covered in ants inside and out.  So, I threw it out and never did that again.  Another problem that some pet owners have experienced giving their dog bones or edibles like pizzles or tendons etc. is that their dog goes and buries it.  Well, that could be a downside especially if you don’t want holes dug up in your lawn.  If your dog loves to do this, perhaps this kind of treat isn’t the best choice.  You could however get a rope chew.  I like the ones made from old t’shirt material.  Soak these in water and then freeze them.  Your dog will love chewing on this cold treat.  And this is also a great trick to sooth a puppy’s gums when teething.  

Another option to keep a dog occupied is a treat puzzle or puzzle toy.  A treat puzzle has multiple compartments that a dog has to figure out how to move to get to the treat.  If you have a curious and treat motivated dog this could be just the thing.  A treat toy puzzle is a toy that usually has sort of like chambers inside that you stuff with treats and the dog has to learn how to roll the toy to get the treats to dispense.  For the right dog this can be great!  Of course there is always the toys and games we play with our dogs outside, but if it is too hot or the family is in the pool and the dog isn’t interested in water, some of these ideas may work.  

When it comes to swimming dogs, there are lots of ideas to have a ton of fun in the water.  Chuck It makes quite a few toys that are amphibious.  Just look on the package and it will show a ball floating in water.  This means the toy will float.  Several pet parents have told me that they like to throw a Frisbee type toy into the water for the dog, but because it is a flat toy, sometimes the dog cannot see it.  Chuck It has water discs that have a hole in the centre and are brightly coloured.  These seem to have the features that allow the dog to see the disc better and grab it more easily because of the hole in the centre.   There are also Kong Aqua toys that have a rope to use to toss the toy and they also float.  We have also found that a fair few of the baton style toys will float as well and these are really easy for a dog to grab onto while swimming.  Of course lots of dogs just love a ball being tossed into the water and off they go get it and have no trouble getting the ball and bringing it back.  Whatever toy you are using, remember to never leave your dog unattended while in water and depending on the dog, a life jacket may be necessary in the pool or at the beach and is always necessary in a boat or canoe.  

Okay, so what about treats during the summer?   Let’s get the ice cube controversy out of the way.  There is nothing wrong with giving a dog ice.  It is cooling and refreshing, especially on a hot day.  The issue is the size of the ice.  It is recommended that you do not give a dog an ice cube.  Ice cubes are just the right size to be a choking hazard.  Ice chips however are just fine.  So, put some ice cubes in a towel, whack the heck out of them to make chips and put these in your dog’s water or bowl or in a toy for a quick refreshing treat.  You can do the same with pumpkin for example and freeze cubes of pureed pumpkin and again break the cube down and voila, a nice tasty cool treat.  The idea of putting treats in a Kong and freezing it was also a really good idea.  

Now here is where things have gotten really fun.  This spring we have had some summer treats come in that I think are going to take things to another level.  So, one treat is a doggy ice cream so to speak, that add water to, mix, freeze and you have a little container of a doggy friendly frozen treat.  Also, there are not ice pops that are like a Popsicle that you freeze as well and then you let your dog lick and chill with the pop.  I also like the goat’s milk frozen treats available from Big Country Raw.  These come in three different flavours, banana, berry and pumpkin.  There are three containers in each box and you don’t have to do anything but keep them frozen and take one out at a time and let your dog lick away at the treat.  Plus it’s goat’s milk so it’s super good for your dog.  

Keeping our pets cool in the summer can actually be quite fun considering the toys and treats that are now available.  This will be the second summer that I will be giving Tundra the goat’s milk treat and he loves them.  If you have a dog that is good at holding things with its paws this treat is great because it’s a cup so either way,  hold it for your dog or let him hold it himself and enjoy.  

So, I hope some of these options give you some ideas for toys and treats for the summer and if you have some other ideas that you have had success with, please email me at . I’d love to hear some other ideas because as I say, knowing is caring! 

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Val Cairney

Hi everyone, and welcome to Val Talk’s Pets, the forum for pet parents and enthusiasts alike. So, I have been working in the pet industry now for almost 10 years and, on a daily basis, I handle a lot of issues and questions arising from pet parents. I am not a veterinarian but I do have certifications in Canine, Feline, Small Animal, Fish and Herptile and Avian Health and Nutrition from the University of California, Davis Extension, the Vet College.

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