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Can Dogs Eat Ice Cubes: Canine Cooldown on a Hot Summer's Day

Rumors have swirled for years about ice cubes giving dogs a severe health condition, canine Bloat. Giving your pup ice cubes can be perfectly safe if you follow a few simple guidelines - read more below!

The internet is full of an endless supply of information, and unfortunately, plenty of misinformation, too.

Many of us already know by now that the authority of articles shared on Facebook is sketchy at best, but word of mouth still manages to travel and start rampant rumors that are hard to shake. 

One such rumor is one we've heard for a few years now - that ice water can hurt our dogs and cause Bloat, a painful and life-threatening condition that causes a pup's stomach to flip out of place. 

Is ice bad for dogs?

Factually, the rumor is false, and ice cubes can be entirely safe for a pup to chew. But, there are a few essential ice cube guidelines to follow when feeding your dogs some icy treats, as ice cubes have the potential to be harmful to your pup when misused.

Read our guide below to help your dog safely enjoy some frozen treats all summer long!

Can dogs eat ice cubes?

With the rumors floating around the internet and plenty of Facebook articles from unchecked sources on the subject, many people are scared to give their dogs ice in fear of causing Bloat.

This severe and potentially terminal condition makes a dog's stomach twist and flip. 

Is ice bad for dogs?

The great news is that ice cubes are generally safe for dogs to consume and don't cause any known health conditions. You will, however, want to ensure you're following a few safety guidelines outlined below. 

So, why are there rumors that ice cubes cause canine Bloat?

The stories about ice and Bloat don't seem to have any connection, but there's one theory that experts use to explain the rumors - excessive water consumption is a known factor in the development of Bloat in our pups. 

If your dog drinks water or eats food too quickly, it has the potential to cause Bloat. Logically, a dog may develop Bloat from eating an excessive amount of ice cubes, though the ice itself was not the condition's cause. 

Is chewing ice bad for dogs?

Ice cubes are quite hard, and while they aren't harmful to ingest, they can easily cause tooth breakage in dogs keen to get crunching. 

Even if a tooth doesn't break or chip, chewing on extra-hard objects can begin to wear down your pup's tooth enamel more than usual.

Giving your dog smaller pieces of ice and ice shavings to chomp can help avoid broken teeth and worn enamel. 

How to Safely Feed Your Dog Ice Cubes

We've already mentioned that it's best to keep the cubes and shavings on the smaller side. 

  • Always ask your vet before feeding your dog anything new, including ice cubes!
  • You can also put ice directly into your dog's water bowl or give them ice chips in place of water to ensure your pup increases their hydration without consuming water too fast. 
  • Use clean or filtered water to make the cubes with fewer potential chemicals.
  • If your dog has dental issues, dental work, or sensitive teeth, you may want to avoid giving them ice cubes or other hard objects that can more easily damage compromised teeth. The last thing you want after paying for extensive canine dental work is to pay for it twice!

The Big Cooldown: Dealing With Heatstroke & Illness

Heatstroke and Ice - It's a no!

Vets do not recommend ice cubes to treat a dog if you suspect they're suffering from heatstroke. You'll want to cool a dog down slowly with cool water instead. 

And an even more crucial form of treatment after heatstroke is to wet your dog down with room temperature water, especially on the underside and back, while avoiding the head. 

Then, head to your vet, who can provide the next safe steps of treatment. 

It's best and safest to cool a dog off slowly when they become overheated to avoid shock and organ failure. Ice water closes the skin's capillaries and prevents the organs from cooling as they should. 

Illness and Ice - It's a maybe!

Dogs often become dehydrated when they're ill, especially with the canine flu and other issues affecting the gastrointestinal system. 

If you don't know what's wrong with your dog or they can't seem to keep the shavings down, it's best to avoid ice chips until you can get them into a vet for an examination. 

When your dog is sick, food or water may make matters worse - consult the vet on this one on a case-by-case basis. 

Why do dogs eat ice cubes?

  • Many dogs love to cool down on warm days with a few ice chips, especially if they're a Siberian Husky smack dab in the middle of LA's hot summer weather.
  • Drinking ice water can help bring a pup's body temperature down quickly, which allows them to avoid overheating. If you suspect your dog is already overheating, you're past the point where it's safe to give your dog ice chips. 
  • Many dogs love eating ice simply because it's something new to chew. If your dog likes to slip his teeth into everything, ice is a much-preferred alternative to your favorite pair of shoes.
  • Sweet little puppies may love some ice chips while they're teething - the cold and the pressure both work to soothe the ache of sore gums as new teeth push through. 

Can dogs eat snow?

Snow is perfectly harmless for our pups if ice melters and antifreeze don't contaminate it.

If your dog loves a snowy snack, let them eat snow only in places that are untouched by humans - you never know what harmful chemicals may lay in the snow around your neighborhood. 

Can dogs eat ice cream?

While we're sure if you put a bowl of ice cream down in front of a pup, they'll gobble it up in one second flat, it's not a good idea. 

So dogs will have ice cream, but can dogs have ice cream safely?

Adult dogs' stomachs can't handle digesting lactose, leading to bloating, diarrhea, gas, and other digestive issues.

Instead, try pureeing ice chips with mint or fresh fruit that's safe for doggo consumption, and give your pup a homemade slushie snack that won't wreak havoc on their gut!

Final Notes: Cooling Down Your Dog

If you're nervous about feeding your pup some ice cubes, here are a few alternate ways to cool your doggie down on those hot days:

  • Make an ice-lick that they won't crunch, and monitor how quickly your dog consumes it.
  • Consider investing in a cooling vest to keep your pup comfy while in hot temperatures.
  • Soak a towel in cool (not ice cold) water and wrap it around your doggo.
  • And have them stand in cool water to get their footpads wet. 
If you enjoyed reading about the safety of ice cubes, you might want to read more about which other human foods are safe for doggie consumption in our next article, Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal.

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