Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

‘I Scream’ About the Hottest Frozen TreatJune has been recognized as National Dairy Month since 1937. The notion came about as a way to raise consumer interest in milk and ice cream.

Fine. I’m happy to accept a free Nutty Buddy or pint of chocolate milk any time somebody wants to offer one. But now things may be getting out of hand. There’s a new kind of frozen treat on the market.

Doggie ice cream.

My immediate reaction to this was the same as when doggie toothpaste, doggie pasta and doggie bottled water came on the market: “How could an animal that greets other dogs with The Sniff, drinks from the toilet, rolls in dead fish at every opportunity and licks its privates possibly tell, much less care, how something tastes?”

Apparently I’m in the minority, because doggie ice cream is one of the hottest products in your grocer’s frozen food section — which is as mixed a metaphor as combining nuts, cheese, mint, pretzels and bacon with a “sunflower butter base” and charging big bucks for it.

The vegetable base is important, I’ve learned, because sure-nuff, dairy-based frozen treats shouldn’t be fed to dogs. Otherwise, they can suffer gastrointestinal problems.

At least I got that part right. In the multi-decades I had dogs, never once did I give them ice cream. Poor ol’ Imp, Taffy, Smokey, Lucky, Stormy, Kip, Belle, Goldie, and others whose names escape me at the moment, were fed plain Jane dog food.

(Well, yes; now that I think about it, I did occasionally share a sausage biscuit in the duck blind with Stormy, a Labrador retriever, and in the quail fields and grouse woods with Kip and Belle, English setter and pointer, respectively. But never ice cream, dairy-based or otherwise.* What a heartless master; I hang my head in shame.)

If you’re not nearly as cruel and callous, there are several varieties of doggie ice cream on the market. I perused the frozen food bins at a couple of stores and discovered treats from companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Dogsters, and The Bear and the Rat. Most came in four-packs of small cups, which begs the question of how Rover uses a spoon.

“Oh, you don’t need any kind of utensil or bowl,” one clerk told me. “You just toss the cup on the floor, and they nose it around as it melts.”

Riiiiiight. That’s another reason why doggie ice cream would never cross the Venable threshold. If Mary Ann walked into her kitchen and saw me with a pooch that was smearing sticky goo all over the place, the doghouse would gain a new, and possibly permanent, resident.

That begs (pun intended) another question: can humans eat doggie ice cream? I inspected the labels on several packages and only saw warnings against human consumption from The Bear and the Rat brand pup-sicle treat. I guess with the other brands — arf, barf — you’re on your own.

But it does make me wonder about folks who really do belly up to the frozen bar with Bowser. After a few rounds of this stuff, do trees start taking on a whole new perspective?

If so, I hope they live out in the country, where spontaneous irrigation always occurs without necessitating a trip back inside the house.

Sam Venable is an author, comedic entertainer, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel. His latest book is
“The Joke’s on YOU! (All I Did Was Clean Out My Files).” He may be reached at