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Are Ice Cubes Good or Bad for Dogs?

May 05, 2021 3 min read
dog resting face in bowl of ice

On sweltering summer days, nothing beats sipping on an ice-cold drink. While ice can help us keep cool in the months ahead, many dog owners still believe it poses considerable health risks for their pets. The heated debate on ice has continued for years. So are ice cubes good or bad for dogs? We’ve got the answer you need, and it may not be what you’d expect. Learn the complicated truth by reading on!

Are ice cubes bad for dogs?

Unlike a lot of other foods, ice cubes are not bad for dogs. With that being said, there are certain instances when giving your dog ice can cause potential problems.

Veterinarians and dog owners alike will agree that dogs who like snacking on ice cubes may damage their teeth mid-chew. Additionally, swallowing large or several ice cubes at once can become a choking hazard if they get stuck in a dog’s throat.

You can easily avoid these risks by preparing crushed ice or ice chips for your dog.

If your dog has heatstroke or looks overheated, you also don’t want to give them ice cubes or even ice-cold water. Trying to lower their temperature too quickly may have a less-than-desirable effect; rapid cooling can actually increase your dog’s body heat.

Really, ice cubes for dogs aren’t all bad. Just as there are times when giving your dog ice can be harmful, there are times when letting your dog have some can even be helpful.

Are ice cubes good for dogs, then?

Online rumors aside, ice can be beneficial to dogs, provided that dog owners first ensure their dog won’t choke and isn’t experiencing heatstroke.

Since ice is just frozen water, you can use it to manage your dog’s fluid intake. For dogs that have trouble staying hydrated, giving them ice cubes can be a handy trick to help quench their thirst.

Veterinarians have also used ice cubes as a means of hydrating dogs who have undergone surgical procedures and have difficulties swallowing regular water.

Even the ASPCA’s own Animal Relocation and Transport team will put ice cubes in dogs’ bowls to minimize water spillage while on the road.

Basically, giving your dog ice can be both good and bad; it all depends on the context.

But what about bloat?

What’s the biggest accusation made against ice in this dogged debate? That letting them have ice will cause bloat. The rumors started in 2010 when one blogger claimed that her dog experienced bloat after drinking ice water.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus, otherwise known as GDV or bloat, is a condition that occurs when an excess of food and gas forces a dog’s stomach to swell. This build-up of pressure can be enough to twist and flip their stomach, which cuts off blood flow to vital organs and makes breathing difficult.

But what does this have to do with ice? Despite what the Internet has indicated previously, the chance of bloat happening because a dog has eaten ice cubes is slim.

Nevertheless, science has yet to identify the definite causes of this condition; to date, those who study it have only implicated possible risk factors. What this means is that ice may or may not contribute to the onset of bloat under certain circumstances.

Although any real danger is unlikely, it’s a good idea to monitor and moderate your dog’s consumption of ice. In other words, always keep an eye on your dog when feeding them ice and be sure to prepare it in small amounts, whether in crushed, chip, or cubed forms.

Don’t sweat the dog days of summer! With the proper oversight, treating your dog to an icy snack can be an easy way to help them stay relaxed, refreshed, and hydrated.

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Want to ensure your dog stays healthy year-round? Read through our complete nutrient guide for dogs. And if you want safe dog treats to stock in your kitchen, browse a selection of dog chews and bully sticks on our website.


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