If you love ice cream, it can be tempting to let your pup take a lick or two off your cone (or lick the bowl clean). It’s a sweet, yummy dessert that you both can enjoy.
But if you really want to give your canine companion a special, dog-friendly treat, consider whipping up this dog ice cream recipe. Your pup will love the sweet, cold treat that they can gobble up straight from the freezer. Plus, it’s super easy and only takes a few minutes to make.
Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?
Before you feed your pup a few bites of that Ben & Jerry’s, you should think twice. Ideally, dogs shouldn’t eat ice cream from the store (or any you don’t make yourself), due to potentially harmful ingredients. Plus, ice cream for humans is packed with sugar and fat—not a great option for your dog’s diet.
“I do not recommend dogs eat store-bought ice cream,” says Dr. Katie Pagan veterinarian and Partner Doctor of Heart + Paw Fells Point.
Specifically, there are a few ingredients you should be extremely wary of including:
Xylitol: “Xylitol is an artificial sweetener (a sugar alcohol) that can be found in many sugar free products which is toxic to dogs,” says Dr. Pagan.
According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin, which can cause a severe decrease in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within 10 to 60 minutes after eating. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, and symptoms of low blood sugar include decreased activity, weakness, staggering, incoordination, collapse and seizures. The FDA notes that xylitol is also found in ‘skinny’ ice creams, as well as peanut butters and nut butters.
Chocolate: “Chocolate is also toxic to dogs,” says Dr. Pagan.
Chocolate contains a toxic compound to dogs called theobromine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, restlessness, and hyperactivity.
Sugar/Dairy: “The excess sugar and dairy [found in ice cream] can also lead to dietary indiscretion and pancreatitis,” says Dr. Pagan.
Instead, making homemade dog ice cream will guarantee you know every ingredient that goes into it, making it a healthier (and safer) choice.
How to Make Dog Ice Cream
Thankfully, no special equipment is needed to make dog-friendly ice cream at home. With simple, no-frills ingredients and some standard kitchen equipment, your dog will be enjoying this frozen treat in no time.
“Dog friendly ice cream can be super easy and quick to make,” says Dr. Pagan. “I would consider ingredients that of course are pet safe, and do not interfere with any allergies or underlying medical conditions. If you are not sure, please check with your veterinarian.”
While our recipe calls for using silicone ice cube trays to shape your dog ice cream, you could also jazz things up by using other silicone molds of different shapes. If you don’t have trays on hand, you can freeze the ice cream in a freezer-safe container and scoop it out to serve your dog.
Ultimate Dog Ice Cream Recipe
Ready to make your pup a super simple ice cream recipe? This 3-ingredient dog ice cream will quickly become a classic go-to doggy dessert.
“I use plain yogurt, bananas, and xylitol-free peanut butter for my dog’s ice cream recipe,” says Dr. Pagan. “You can blend the ingredients with a food processor or mix by hand. I place them in silicone ice cube trays and freeze for 2 hours.”
Just make sure to double check that there is no xylitol in the yogurt or peanut butter before you mix.
What You Need:
- Large mixing bowl
- 3-4 12 -count silicone ice cube trays or storage container
- Large spoon
- Hand mixer or food processor (optional)
- 3-4 ripe bananas, peeled
- 32 ounces plain yogurt
- 1 cup peanut butter
Step 1: In a mixing bowl (or food processor), add bananas, yogurt, and peanut butter.
Step 2: If using a bowl, mix ingredients until smooth. If using a food processor, pulse for up to 1 minute until combined.
Step 3: Pour ice cream mix into silicone ice cube trays, and freeze for 2 hours.
How to Tweak Your Doggy Dessert
“You can definitely tailor your ingredients to all things dog friendly!” says Dr. Pagan. “You can easily exclude the yogurt if looking for a dairy free option and just use bananas and peanut butter.”
You could also make a dog-friendly fruit-based ice cream by swapping out or reducing the bananas and adding in fruits like watermelon, strawberries, or blueberries.
How to Serve Homemade Dog Ice Cream
Once the ice cream has frozen, it’s time to serve it to your pup. ““It can absolutely be given directly out of the freezer and typically lasts about a week after being made,” says Dr. Pagan.
Feel free to put the cubes in a bowl, or feed them one at a time as the perfect snack-sized bite. If scooping out the ice cream for your dog, just keep the serving to around two small scoops to limit excess calories.
And if you have any questions about portion sizes or dog ice cream ingredients, don’t hesitate to follow up with your regular veterinarian.