Austrian ice cream caters to canines

The Associated Press

It's fat-free, comes in three flavours, and it's for … dogs.

Introducing "Dogissimo" — an ice cream created specifically for canines which has gone on sale at a Vienna ice-cream parlour.

And with temperatures in the Austrian capital topping 35 C for almost a week, the treat — available in rice, vanilla-rice and soy flavours — has the potential to become a hit during the dog days of summer.

Simona Leonardini, an Italian who concocted the creamy delight, said she hopes it will help man's best friend deal with the sizzling summer heat.

"I own three dogs myself, and if it's hot, they desperately need to cool down," she was quoted as saying.

Leonardini, who declined to divulge exactly what's in the recipe, used her golden retrievers as testers to get the taste just right.

She also consulted with veterinarians and stressed that the "doggie dessert" doesn't contain any additives or artificial food colouring.

The Viennese, like the Parisians, are generally dog-loving and often take their four-legged friends along when they run errands or go about their daily lives. It's not uncommon to spot dogs snoozing in cafes, waiting outside grocery stores and riding the city's trams and buses.

"Dogissimo" is just one in a series of dog fads that have surfaced in Austria in recent weeks. An open-air movie theatre opened Thursday night that encourages dog owners to bring their pets.

But it remains to be seen how well the new treat will sell. It's priced at the equivalent of about $10 Cdn for a large portion, while the smaller container goes for slightly more than $7.

Some dog owners, such as Marian Reichelt, a young professional who works at Telekom Austria, don't seem to care about the cost.

"It's new, innovative and a funny gag," Reichelt said as she picked up a portion for her pet, Jakob.

But not everyone is enthusiastic.

Austrian broadcaster ORF quoted society columnist Karl Hohenlohe as saying: "It tastes like steel that a dog peed on."