Vet warns dog owners about dangerous TikTok cooling treats

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As we battle one heatwave after the other with some of the UK’s hottest ever days on record, pet owners are looking for ways to keep their pets cool – but some of the ‘cooling treats’ shown online platforms such as TikTok can have dire consequences.

Veterinary surgeon Dr Linda Simon at Pooch & Mutt has looked at some of the most popular videos on TikTok that demonstrate homemade cooling dog treats, and warns of some of the dangers that could arise if users follow suit.

  1. Freezing a dental stick in an ice lolly wrapper

Dental sticks are for many dogs, considered a high value treat, so freezing them in water is a nice way to keep them cool and occupied, all whilst keeping their teeth clean.

However, this particular video does pose one risk that users should be aware of before trying to recreate. When using packaging for enrichment purposes you should supervise your dog at all times to make sure they are not ingesting anything other than the dental stick and frozen water.

Ingesting things such as card and paper can cause bowel obstructions which can be fatal if not treated quickly. Ideally, I would recommend taking the frozen dental stick out of the packaging before giving it to your dog to avoid any unwanted vet trips!

  1. Treats frozen in water

Whilst this is a great idea in terms of keeping them both cool and entertained, the main concern with this frozen treat is the risk of overfeeding your dog.

Overfeeding can lead to weight gain which can then lead to all sorts of issues, such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, all of which can subsequently reduce your pup’s lifespan. Although this treat isn’t likely to be one you serve up regularly, I would still advise deducting the amount of food added from their main meal in order to ensure they are still eating a balanced and well proportioned diet.

  1. Fruity ice lollies

Another good idea that just needs some simple safety measures and adjustments to make it suitable for our four legged friends. Freezing fruit into water lollies for dogs will definitely keep them cool, but, depending on the fruit, you could end up with them consuming more sugar than needed.

Many fruits are great as they provide your dog with lots of different vitamins and minerals, however, a lot of fruits are also naturally high sugar content and should therefore be fed in moderation to avoid weight gain.

You should also be very aware of which fruits you are adding to these cooling treats and be sure to avoid those that are toxic to dogs, such as grapes, sultanas and raisins.

If you plan on making the tasty cooling treats for your dog, make sure you are prepared to supervise them, making sure they do not chew or ingest any of the ice lolly stick and remove it from them as soon as they have finished.

  1. Fruity broth water

Keeping your dog hydrated in high temperatures is really important. You’ll notice that when it is hot your dog will pant a lot more in order to eliminate body heat, but doing this also means they lose water via evaporation. It is important for your dog to replenish this lost water to avoid getting dehydrated or worse, heatstroke – so I can see why this hack would be a great way to encourage your dog to drink more.

However, if copying this particular video I would make sure to read the ingredients of the broth you are using, avoiding anything that has added salt, garlic, onion or chives, especially the latter three which can be toxic.

Personally, I would avoid using broth altogether and instead just use water with some low sugar, non-toxic fruits and veggies, as these will be enough to entice your dog to drink more water.

  1. Feeding frozen fruits

Serving frozen fruit and other healthy treats is a great way to keep your dog cool whilst providing them with beneficial vitamins and minerals, just be careful which fruits you are choosing – make sure they are non-toxic and low in natural sugars.

You should be particularly cautious if trying this with puppies as if they are not cut small enough they could become a choking hazard, especially if they contain large seeds or pips.

This is a guest essay by Dr Linda Simon. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk.

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