Bark if you like ‘ice cream’ |

Bark if you like ‘ice cream’

Linda Lombardi
For The Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
AP Photo/TBD BrandsA dog eats Yˆghund organic frozen yogurt.

Maybe you’ve heard that ice cream isn’t good for dogs. Or maybe you’re just tired of sharing ” you’d like to be able to order chocolate for once!

Fortunately, more companies are making cold treats just for canines. You might even run across a doggie ice cream truck: They’ve been seen from Washington, D.C. up through New England in the summers.

Of course, “like when you were a kid,” says owner Jeff Walker of FrostBite in Boston, Mass, there’s no set schedule for the trucks. You have to be lucky, or else you can rent one to come to your event or party.

But there’s also a good chance you can find a variety of frozen treats wherever you live, from the old standby supermarket brand, meat flavor Frosty Paws, to all natural and even certified organic products.

For instance, all-organic peanut butter and banana Yoghund frozen yogurt is available in independent pet stores in 23 states, as well as supermarkets in the Northeast. Another yogurt-based product, LickALots, made in Georgia, is distributed in Texas and east of the Mississippi. And in the Chicago area and Wisconsin you can find Polar Pups, made with soy milk.

There are even all natural fruit smoothies for your dog: freeze-it-yourself Mr. Barksmith’s Cool Treats are widely available in independent pet stores. And if you can’t find any of these products locally, you can shop online: both for Yoghund, and at the new Cold Nose Creamery, which offers their Pup Ice treats in flavors such as Puppernutter and Puppermint.

Many of the companies tout their healthy ingredients. “What I’m hearing from the store owners that buy it from us is that they like that it’s all natural and non dairy, and the ingredients are easy to understand,” says Joy Carter of Mr. Barksmith’s. And Boston’s FrostBite even has flavors that include secret Chinese medicinal herbs.

Although some of these products stress that they are non-dairy, veterinary nutritionist Lisa Freeman, DVM, PhD, at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, says that most dogs ” and cats as well ” can digest the lactose in milk in small quantities.

She cautions that the real issue is to watch calorie and fat intake. “In dogs, high calories obviously pose the threat of weight gain, whereas fat increases the risk of causing problems with the gastrointestinal tract or pancreas.”

Of course, some ingredients are not safe for dogs at all, such as chocolate.

Still, dogs don’t care about the ingredient list. How about the taste?

Peanut butter flavor is a favorite of most dogs, and many of the products take advantage of this. But there are also fruit flavors such as Mr. Barksmith’s, and Polar Pups Berry Bite.

You might not think of dogs as fruit eaters. But in a taste test on two pugs, the fruit and mint flavored Mr. Barksmith’s Cool Treat held its own against a homemade frozen chicken broth treat – the dogs showed no apparent preference for the for the meaty flavor over the fruit smoothie.

In fact, with some of these treats, now it’s the dogs who have to share.

Walker of FrostBite plans to open human ice cream drink bars because people said his ice cream was so good that they wanted to eat it too. And Carter tells of a customer who claimed he cut a treat in two for his dogs every night, “but sheepishly has subsequently admitted he cuts it in thirds and enjoys a Cool Treat with his pugs nightly!”

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