Thrifty ways to cool off dogs

Pickle says “Who needs cool coats? Just give me the sprinkler”.

It was another scorching weekend here, and my dogs, in typical slug-like Frenchie fashion, did as little as possible. There was a lot of time spent lying on the ground, panting, and there was much general whining along the lines of “We’re hootttttt. And borrrrrred. Give us something to do, or we’re going to chew on your house”.

Happy to oblige, if only to shut them up, I went looking for some cheap, low budget, hot weather snacks and activities for my spoiled little monsters.


I discovered that we still had a freezer full of bags of blueberries, which reminded me of one of my favorite summer time snacks for the dogs – surprise cubes! This “recipe” is about as simple as it gets.


Surprise Cubes for Dogs

– Take assorted bits of fruits or vegetables, and chop or cut until small enough to fit into ice cube trays
– Put one piece of fruit or veg into each tray compartment
– Top with water or low sodium chicken broth
– Freeze

 Give to dogs outside, to avoid messes – they’ll have fun chomping through the ice to get to the ‘treat’ inside, and it will help cool them off. This is a great treat for teething puppies, and for older dogs that need to keep up their fluid intake.


Another option is to make your own home made “Ice Cream”. I have two versions of this recipe – Peanut Butter, and Fruity, since Penelope is allergic to Peanut Butter.

Home Made Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt for Dogs

– 32 ounce container of live culture ‘Greek Style’ yogurt (try to get Goat’s Milk Yogurt, if possible)
– 1 cup all natural peanut butter
– 1 tablespoon raw Manuka Honey
– Optional, one chopped banana

Melt peanut butter in microwave, on low setting, just until liquid Mix in honey and container of yogurt. Blend thoroughly until creamy. Portion mixed yogurt into silicone ice cube trays, for small dogs, or use silicon muffin trays for large dogs. Optionally, put one banana piece into each ice cube tray compartment, two or three into each muffin cup. Freeze overnight.

This is a great treat for nursing moms, and contains loads of calcium and protein.

Home Made Fruit and Hemp Frozen Yogurt for Dogs

– 32 ounce container of live culture ‘Greek Style’ yogurt (try to get Goat’s Milk Yogurt, if possible)
– 1/8 cup each frozen blueberries and frozen strawberries
– 1 tablespoon raw Manuka Honey
– two tablespoons Hemp Hearts (a rich source of amino acids and omegas 3 and 6)

Mix yogurt and honey until creamy. Fold in frozen fruit and hemp hearts.  Portion mixed yogurt into silicone ice cube trays, for small dogs, or use silicon muffin trays for large dogs. Freeze overnight.


Cheap Cool Coat Alternatives

Cool coats are a great way to keep dogs chill in the summer time. Since dogs don’t sweat, the moist cool coat helps to wick heat away from your dog’s body. Frenchies, with their unique body shapes, usually require custom made cool coats, which can cost as much as $80 each. For a free alternative to cool coats, keep an assortment of cooled, moist towels handy in the fridge. These are perfect to take with you when you travel, whether to parks or to shows.

The night before a show, soak two towels per dog – one hand towel, one regular sized towel. Wring out until towels are still wet, but not sopping. Seal into zip lock bags, double bag them inside another zip lock bag,  and refrigerate over night. Keep in cooler or inside cooler bag, place on dogs or on ground for them to lie on.

Hand towels are the perfect size to drape over your dog’s back, like a mini cool coat. Large, standard size towels make a cool, damp spot for your dog to lie down, and the moisture wicks heat away from their bodies, even when the towels are no longer cool. Add more water as needed.

Puppies love to chew on a frozen washcloth – soak, wring hand towel out, twist, and freeze in zip lock bag, then give to puppy still frozen.

Dollar Store Fun

Your local dollar store has all kinds of hot weather toys for dogs.

Squirt guns – Pickle, Hanna and Dexter love biting at streams of water, even if they get soaked in the process.

Cheap sprinklers – if your dogs are like mine, the sprinkler is inevitably going to get yanked off the hose and chewed to bits, so save some cash and pick up a cheap one at the dollar store. That way, you can reserve it just for the dogs.

Wading pools – everyone knows the cheap wading pool trick. Dexter loves to lie flat on his belly in his pool, while Pickle prefers to splash around in it.

Rope Bones – soak rope bones in water or low sodium chicken broth, and freeze overnight. Great for teething puppies or any dog who loves to chew.


Did I miss anything? How do you keep your dogs cool and entertained during the hot weather?

3 replies
  1. Ruth
    Ruth says:

    You mentioned wading pools and I have to second that: got my Tibetan Mastiff pup a kiddy wading pool, had to search a bit to find a 5ft wide one instead of a 4ft one, but the smaller dogs like Frenchies would be fine with the littler pools. Put the pool in a shady spot, add couple inches of water (my pup will do up to about 5 inches deep but after that doesn’t like it) and he SPRAWLS out. Toss in a couple toys (water safe or not, he likes it when they make noises as the water drains out of the non-water toys) and he’s good for quite some time.

  2. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    I can’t say enough good things about the peanut butter ice cream! Both the girls love it, and for Lola’s 12th birthday when I was living in Toronto, my mom made a huge batch to share with their doggie friends. All of the dogs went nuts (no pun intended) for it too, and one guy – a border collie – herded all of the Frenchies and Pugs together and licked all of the grass clean around where they’d been eating. I wish I’d had a camera for that.. LOL!

  3. Soleil Doux @ Soleil Doux Blog
    Soleil Doux @ Soleil Doux Blog says:

    What an adorable picture of Pickle! I am going to have to try making the fruity hemp froyo (my frog dog already loves the PB and banana froyo). Frozen rope bones are new to us, too. I have a feeling she is going to enjoy seeing her rope toys in a whole new cool, crunchy light!

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