Hans Punz  /  AP
Ice cream for dogs awaits customers at a store in Vienna, Austria.
updated 7/20/2007 1:34:11 PM ET 2007-07-20T17:34:11

VIENNA, Austria — It's fat-free, comes in three flavors, and it's for ... dogs.

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

And with temperatures in the Austrian capital topping 95 degrees Fahrenheit for almost a week, the treat — available in rice, vanilla-rice and soy flavors — 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 coloring.

Pricey portions
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 theater opened Thursday night that encourages dog owners to bring their pets.

But at about 7 euros (nearly $10) for a large portion, it remains to be seen how well the new treat will sell. The smaller container goes for about 5 euros.

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.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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