Nikki is a dog mom and registered veterinary technician (RVT) with a passion for educating pet parents about the science behind canine nutrition. On her blog “The Canine Health Nut,” she shares information on a range of dog nutrition topics: from how to create a homemade complete and balanced dog food recipe to how to choose a dog food. As a home cook of over 7 years for her own pups Ranger and Ash, she shares many tips and tricks for pet parents looking to transition to fresh food. Nikki strives to give dog parents the information they need to make the best nutrition decisions for their pup!
This ice cream is a simple and easy recipe you can make for your pup! All you need is a blender or food processor and a combination of dog-safe human foods.
The best part about creating your own homemade dog ice cream compared to just sharing a bit of your own ice cream with your pup is that you have full control over the ingredients. This allows you to avoid human foods that your pooch may not tolerate or that may be toxic.
There are several different pre-made dog-friendly ice creams on the market, such as Ben & Jerry’s Pontch’s Mix and the Purina Frosty Paws. Unfortunately, they both contain ingredients or additives you may be looking to avoid, such as added salt, sugar, wheat, soy, peas, or corn.
Instead, this healthy dog ice cream recipe uses a combination of bananas and avocado - which are naturally nutrient-dense and full of vitamins, prebiotic fiber, and healthy fats--with no added sugar or salt. We’ve also added fresh vegetables and supplements to support your dog’s microbiome while supplying antioxidants, phytonutrients, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Our dog ice cream recipe also does not contain yogurt or other dairy products, making it more tolerable to dogs with intolerances to milk sugars like lactose. But don’t worry--if you have a yogurt-lover in your home--we will give you the recipe for a fun peanut butter dog yogurt topping!
Bananas make up a major portion of this doggie ice cream recipe, naturally low in fat and an excellent source of prebiotic fiber, along with vitamins such as potassium and vitamin B6. This combination of nutrients makes them an excellent doggie snack to support our dog’s cognitive health, microbiome, and immunity.
The next ingredient in our ice cream is avocado. Avocado provides this recipe with an extra-creamy texture, along with healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants such as carotenoids to support healthy skin and coat and prevent oxidative damage.
To our prebiotic fiber combination of bananas and avocado, we are adding in our powdered probiotic! By providing our dogs with prebiotics and probiotics, we give them everything they need to create powerful postbiotics and support a robust microbiome.
Our dog’s microbiome houses 80% of our dog’s immune system and works through the production of postbiotics (which are biochemical compounds) to support our dog’s health. They help decrease stress, gut inflammation, and allergic responses. Each year, more research surfaces about the importance and benefits of our dogs having a healthy gut microbiome.
This dog ice cream recipe also contains a superfood mix of kale, broccoli, and oregano, which are powerhouses when it comes to health benefits for dogs. Broccoli contains bioactive compounds such as kaempferol, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Kale is high in vitamin C, which can help support the immune system. And oregano is a rich source of antioxidants, which can help with oxidative stress and help scavenge free radicals from the body.
But probably the most significant positive when it comes to adding fresh vegetables to your dog’s diet is their benefits to help prevent cancer. A large retrospective study by Perdue Veterinary University found that regular consumption of vegetables (2-3 times a week) significantly reduced cancer rates in dogs.
Though these wonderful fruits and vegetables have loads of health benefits for dogs, many dogs aren’t huge fans of their taste. So, in order to make this recipe highly palatable for our best friends, we are going to add in bone broth!
When choosing a bone broth for your pup, it’s important to choose one with a simple ingredients list without added spices (such as garlic or onions), salt, or other unspecified flavorings/spices. Probably the safest way to offer bone broth is to make it yourself. However, that can be extremely time-intensive (over 12 hours of cooking time in a crockpot), and, on top of that, you will need to store the extra broth for weeks or months in your freezer.
Instead, it's much easier to use a powdered bone broth that you can rehydrate with water. It can also be used in a variety of dog treat recipes (like this ice cream recipe!) as a flavoring agent.
How to Make the Recipe
Begin by taking 3 ripe bananas, and peel and roughly chop them into a baggie or container. Then cut an avocado in half, remove the pit and skin, and roughly chop the flesh and place that into the container as well.
Freeze the bananas and avocado in the freezer overnight, or at least 4-6 hours. Together, these will provide the base for simple banana dog ice cream. Total time for this recipe will be about 10-15 minutes for prep and 4-6 hours in the freezer.
If your dog does need a low-fat version of this recipe, try switching out the avocado with baked sweet potato.
After the bananas and avocado are frozen, it is time to make our frozen doggie dessert! Place the bananas, avocado, kale, broccoli, oregano, probiotic powder, and bone broth topper into a large blender, like a Vitamix or food processor, then add 2-4 tbsp water and blend well.
For smaller food processors, it may help with adding all the fresh produce and then a quarter of the frozen mix at a time in order to get a smooth consistency.
After blending, you should have a bright green soft-serve dog ice cream! If you have a dog who enjoys peanut butter flavor, heat 2 tbsp of peanut butter (unsweetened, unsalted, without artificial sweeteners like xylitol) in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then, drizzle on top of your ice cream and use a knife to gently swirl it together (like gelato!) and refreeze for 45 minutes to allow to set.
You can also freeze this into an ice cube tray (or a silicone mold) and add as a topper to your fur baby’s regular dog food, or place it into a larger mold and make it into a dog birthday cake! And of course, you can place this into a larger container and just scoop it out into a bowl as a special frozen dog treat!
This recipe should make about 30 ice cream treats, which are 25 calories each (without toppings). Most board-certified veterinary nutritionists recommend keeping all treats and additions to 10% of your pup’s overall caloric needs. Consequently, giving no more than 1 of these treats per day per 10 lbs of body weight would be recommended.
For an extra-special occasion like a dog’s birthday, you can decorate with a variety of fun (and tasty) decorations. For the peanut butter lover, use a combination of plain yogurt and peanut butter ( ¼ cup of each) and mix together to create a frosting, then top with dog biscuits, coconut flakes, or your furry friend’s favorite treats.
For dogs that require a lower fat option, try a combination of low-fat greek yogurt with pumpkin puree, then top with fruit like apples or blueberries.
½ cup kale
½ cup broccoli
¼ cup fresh parsley or oregano
6 scoops Probiotic Powder
3 tbsp Bone Broth Topper
Makes: 30, 25 calorie ice cream treats.
Serving Size: 1 treat per 10 lbs of body weight.
Total Time: 4-6 hours to freeze, 10-15 prep time.