Is lactose-free ice cream safe for dogs? +Doggy-approved recipes inside

I love ice cream. Who doesn’t?

Last week, I went grocery shopping because I wanted ice cream. Too bad my favorite flavor (mango) is not available. Disheartened, I checked the aisle for treats to take home for my dogs, and realized, “Why don’t I make homemade ice cream for dogs instead?”

Ice cream is my ultimate comfort food. And I was hoping that I can share the same kind of love with my dogs. But looking at the label and reading the list of ingredients (some I can’t even pronounce), is disturbing. 

Thankfully, I’m in the supermarket, the mecca of everything nice. I Googled homemade ice cream recipes for dogs and saw that most of the ingredients can be found here. Great. 

Today, I’m going to share some of my best creations. They’re super easy, super healthy, and most of all, super delicious for your dogs. 

You can even keep some for yourself, too. (wink)

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First, let’s talk ingredients…

For hoomans, there are 2 key ingredients to make the base for homemade ice cream. These are…

1. Cream (All-purpose cream or heavy cream)

2. Sweetened condensed milk

If you have these two, you can whip any ice cream flavor at home any time of the day. Peanut butter, Oreos, cheese, mango, you name it. Just put all the ingredients in a bowl, cover with a cling wrap, freeze overnight, and there you have it, homemade ice cream. 

I like this because the ice cream is not icy. The mix is super creamy just like store-bought ice cream. 

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Moreover, there are recipes online that say you have to chill the cream first, whip, and as soon as it doubles in volume, that’s the time you add the sweetened condensed milk. I don’t do this step anymore. I just dump everything in a bowl and the taste is still amazing.

Unfortunately, this base is not ideal for homemade ice cream for dogs. We need to go for homemade ice cream that is lactose-free. 

All-purpose cream is usually made up of milk fat, emulsifiers, stabilizers. Therefore, unsafe for sensitive stomachs.

Meanwhile, sweetened condensed milk is thickened cow’s milk, another dairy product that is unsafe for dogs. 

So, what do we use?

We only need two ingredients for our dairy-free ice cream base. These are:

1. Coconut milk, and

2. Manuka honey

Lactose-free coconut ice cream for dogs

Coconut milk is a staple in Asian cuisines. It’s creamy, vegan, and lactose-free. Therefore, this ingredient is perfect for our homemade ice cream. I also love how this ingredient can be found anywhere. You can buy it online, or from your local supermarket.

The second ingredient is Manuka honey. Honestly, coconut milk already has a hint of sweetness to it. But I like adding Manuka honey because of the added health benefits. Did you know that Manuka honey is also a famous home remedy for kennel cough?

Add any fruit with these two ingredients and you have made your dog a delicious and healthy homemade ice cream. 

Is there a substitute for these ingredients?

I know what you’re thinking. Let’s say you ran out of coconut milk, what else can you use to make lactose-free ice cream for your dog? Below are frequently asked questions that can help you find healthy substitutes.

Can I use coconut cream instead of coconut milk? 

Absolutely. coconut cream and coconut milk are the same. The only difference is the consistency. Coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk because it has a higher fat content. But in terms of flavor, taste, and health benefits, these two are the same.

Can I use unsweetened yogurt instead of coconut milk? 

Yes, you can. It’s fascinating that a dairy product such as yogurt is “lactose-free”. Therefore, unsweetened yogurt is another great substitute for coconut milk.

Greek yogurt is also safe for dogs. It will complement well with the Manuka honey. But obviously, yogurt can never replace the creaminess and distinct taste of coconut milk.

Can I use powdered coconut milk?

Yes, but it will turn your ice cream base “icy”. Powdered coconut milk is often used in cooking and smoothies. This will work just as well in your lactose-free homemade ice cream. However, please note that this is coconut cream in powder form. Therefore, you need to mix it with warm water, which will form ice crystals when frozen, crunchy homemade ice cream if you will.

Can I use corn syrup instead of Manuka honey?

No. Corn syrup is high in sugar content, which is bad for dogs. When you feed your dogs with food that is high in sugar content, it will result in certain illnesses like diabetes and obesity. Remember, lactose-free homemade ice cream is supposed to be a healthy treat for our dogs.

Can I add cream cheese to my lactose-free ice cream base?

Cream cheese is okay for dogs. However, know that cream cheese is high in fat and calorie content. Therefore, it should not be used as an ice cream base. Instead, add 1-2 tablespoons of cream cheese to your ice cream for added flavor.

Can I use coconut yogurt instead of coconut milk?

Yes. coconut yogurt, coconut cream, coconut powder, and coconut milk uses the same raw material. They only differ in terms of consistency.

Can I use maple syrup instead of Manuka honey?

Yes, maple syrup is okay for dogs. It is an excellent source of manganese and zinc. However, maple syrup is still a natural sweetener. Therefore, it contains sugar, and too much of it will lead to illnesses like obesity or diabetes.

Moreover, you should avoid imitation maple syrups. These contain xylitol which is very toxic to dogs.

Can I add probiotics to my dairy-free ice cream base?

Ingredients such as yogurt and honey contain probiotics which make our lactose-free ice cream a healthy treat for our dogs.

Can I add CBD oil to my ice cream base? 

Yes, in fact, there are CBD oils in the market proven to be safe and effective for dogs. However, I would highly suggest that you consult your veterinarian first before adding it to your dog’s food.

3-ingredient Lactose-free ice cream safe for dogs 

Now that we have our ice cream base ready, it’s time to get creative. Here are some of the most common flavors that your dogs will definitely enjoy.

1. Lactose-free pineapple ice cream for dogs 

Pineapple is one of the most nutritious fruits safe for your dogs. Aside from vitamin C, pineapple is rich in antioxidants, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and fiber which helps with digestion. However, do not use canned pineapple for this recipe. Canned fruits are preserved using syrup which contains a high level of sugar, which is bad for our dogs. Therefore, it’s best that you use fresh pineapple for this recipe instead.

Lactose-free pineapple ice cream for dogs

2. Lactose-free papaya ice cream for dogs

In the Philippines, green papaya is commonly used as a key ingredient in tinola (ginger-garlic chicken soup). But when ripe, it turns into a sweet and delicious fruit that is best served chilled. Therefore, papaya is an excellent ingredient for our lactose-free ice cream. You can mix all the ingredients in a blender, and you will have this smooth creamy texture, like a sorbet. Chill for at least 4 hours and your ice cream is ready.

Papaya is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like potassium and calcium which boost your dog’s heart and immune system.

lactose-free papaya ice cream for dogs

3. Lactose-free banana ice cream for dogs

This list is not complete without banana-flavored ice cream. My dogs aren’t really a fan of bananas, but this one is a game-changer. I use a fork to mash 2 bananas and mix them with our ice cream base. Then, I put everything in a bowl covered in plastic wrap and freeze overnight. Peanut butter will work just as well with this recipe, too.

Lactose-free banana ice cream for dogs

4. Lactose-free watermelon ice cream for dogs

This ice cream flavor is just too hard to resist. Too bad watermelons are not available all year round. Watermelons are sweet and juicy, my dogs love them. Be careful though, buy the seedless variety. Watermelon seeds can cause an intestinal blockage which is dangerous to dogs.

lactose-free watermelon ice cream for dogs

5. Lactose-free cantaloupe ice cream for dogs

Another juicy lactose-free ice cream flavor is melon or cantaloupe. Me and my dogs love this fruit so much. Plus, the creaminess of our ice cream base compliments well to its flavor. Unlike watermelon, it’s easy to remove the seeds on this one. You can even keep it and plant it in your backyard.

You can mix the fruit with your ice cream base in a blender. What I do is cut them into small pieces. My dogs love it.

lactose-free cantaloupe ice cream for dogs

Can I use savory ingredients to my lactose-free home made ice cream?

Absolutely. Create a savory-sweet lactose-free ice cream for your dogs by adding ingredients such as bacon or boiled chicken. It’s going to look weird to you. But believe me, your dogs will love it.

Final thoughts

Is lactose-free ice cream safe for dogs?

Yes, but only in moderation.

I love giving treats to my dogs. And they seem to enjoy it, too. But as responsible pet owners, their health is our top priority. Lactose-free ice cream can be a safe and delicious treat for our dogs. But giving them too much will cause digestive problems.

In fact, my dogs have recently recovered from severe diarrhea which I talked about in a previous post.

Apparently, my dogs have sensitive stomachs, so I have to be super careful with what I feed them.

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