Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Is Ice Cream Safe for a Puppy
Ice cream is a cool treat on a hot day, and thanks to social media, there are many videos and pictures out there that depict dogs eating ice cream. These videos can be very adorable, but many people have wondered: is it okay to give dogs ice cream? Or is ice cream bad for dogs? Ice cream may seem like a harmless treat, but there are worries, and these worries aren’t unfounded.
Though it’s very tempting to share your cone with your dog, it’s best to avoid giving dogs ice cream. Videos that show dogs eating ice cream unfortunately can be detrimental to this fact and encourage harmful habits. In fact, dogs and ice cream don’t quite go well together.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Ice Cream?
As with any type of food, there is nothing wrong with giving your dog small amounts of ice cream. However, this means a few licks, not the whole bowl. As with any animal, you should also be aware that dogs react differently to foods than humans and are much different than we are. Although some owners do give their dogs ice cream, hence the cute videos and pictures, it is not a recommended dessert, especially when there are many other options out there.
Ice cream could be a big problem especially for dogs who have allergies, dairy restrictions, obesity, or diabetes. The main issues are with the dairy and sugar, however, there are several reasons why dogs shouldn’t eat ice cream.
The main problem with ice cream is that dog’s bodies are not designed to digest milk until after they are weaned, as puppies. Since most ice cream is made with milk and cream, feeding it to your dog can lead to gas, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. If any of these conditions go on for a long period of time, it can lead to further issues. A safer bet is ice cream that is made from non-dairy ingredients, so check the label and be aware of what is in your ice cream if you want to share it with your dog.
Xylitol and its Toxicity
Another big problem with feeding ice cream to dogs is that ice cream is often loaded with sugar. Xylitol is a common sweetener that is used in many foods, including ice cream, and unfortunately, it is extremely toxic to dogs. Even if the ice cream says it’s sugarless, check the label, because many companies that don’t use sugar still use chemicals as sweeteners.
On top of being toxic, sugar, in general, can be harmful for dogs. Feeding your dog sugary foods can lead to weight gain, and being overweight in turn leads to all kinds of other health problems. If you are concerned about your dog’s weight, ice cream is definitely not the right type of food to give them.
Some popular ice cream flavors, such as chocolate, can be especially dangerous for your furry friend. Chocolate is very toxic for dogs in general because their bodies are unable to efficiently process a component of the chocolate called theobromine. If your dog has allergies or aversions to other foods, you should be considerate of that when choosing ice cream flavors. This is especially true if your dog is allergic to nuts, as there are nuts in many ice creams.
What to do if Your Dog Eats Ice Cream
A few licks are fine; if your dog gets into ice cream and eats an entire container of the stuff, find the ingredients list on the ice cream packaging to look for any sweeteners or ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Every once in a while, some ice cream is fine, so dogs can have ice cream, generally. If you don’t spot any harmful ingredients and your dog is still active and healthy, things should be okay.
If your dog does consume ingredients that may be harmful, such as nuts, chocolate, or xylitol, contact your veterinarian. If you’re especially concerned that your dog may be suffering, you can contact your local emergency veterinary clinic for advice, or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, which is available 24 hours a day all days of the year, to get help.
Can Dogs Have Ice Cream At All?
Some restaurants offer dog-friendly ice creams, such as Dairy Queen and Goodtimes. Dairy Queen, for example, offers the Pup Cup, which has a small amount of its vanilla soft-serve ice cream topped with dog biscuits. Goodtimes offers something similar in a small container. Shake Shack’s dog menu has the Poochi-ini, which has peanut butter sauce and its own specialty dog biscuits on vanilla custard. These companies ensure that their ice cream for dogs comes in a decent amount, and portion size is small. They also ensure that it doesn’t contain ingredients such as chocolate or xylitol.
Dogs can also eat ice cream at home; there are some companies that produce dog-friendly ice cream treats. These include Dogster’s Ice Cream Style Treats for Dogs, and Pooch Creamery’s Peanut Butter Flavored Ice Cream, which is a powdered mix that you add water to, then freeze. Purina’s Frosty Paws is also available and comes in single-serving frozen treat cups. These treats make it easy to give your dog dessert at home, and take the worry out of accidentally feeding them the wrong thing.
Can Dogs Eat Homemade Ice Cream?
It’s very possible to make your own safe dog ice cream and frozen treats at home for your pet. Making ice cream for them is fast, easy, and cheap, and you will have the added benefit of knowing exactly what is in it.
To make these frozen treats, you can use silicone cups to freeze and create single-serving portions for dogs of different sizes, as larger dogs should get to eat more. Just make sure to remove the frozen treats from the silicone containers before feeding.
You can also make pumpkin drops, yogurt pupsicles, and frozen peanut butter cubes. These frozen treats don’t require any dairy, and are great alternatives to simple ice cream. You can take plain, canned pumpkin and put it into ice cube trays to freeze. Or, you can take peanut butter, mix it with mashed banana, and put those into ice cube trays or silicone cups. Dollops of yogurt (yogurt that is plain, whole, and organic) are also great to mix with pumpkin, banana, cheese, or even bits of meat, before freezing. Take care with the yogurt, as it contains dairy, and use caution as you feed your dog, starting off slow.
All three of these are great alternatives to ice cream. They’re easy and cheap to make, and by using pumpkin, bananas, and peanut butter, you don’t have to worry about using dairy, while still giving your dog flavorful food that they will love. If you want to give your dog a summer treat, frozen yogurt is also a great choice; since yogurt is fermented, it contains less lactose, so it is easier for dogs to digest. Commercial frozen yogurt will be loaded with sugar, so make your own.
Another good summer treat, and an alternative for dairy ice cream, is “nice cream,” a vegan ice cream alternative that is made from frozen bananas. You can easily make nice cream at home with a food processor. This fruit-based dessert is perfectly safe for dogs to eat, and it provides nutritional value as well.
Con Dogs Eat Ice Cream Conclusion
Unfortunately, the answer to “Can dogs eat ice cream?” isn’t necessarily very straightforward. The summery treat is excellent for humans, and although your dog may beg to have some, it is safest not to share. In general, dogs and ice cream should not mix. Ice cream, due to its ingredients such as chocolate, dairy, and the sweetener xylitol, may be very toxic to your dog.
Because there are so many different kinds of ice cream, and some restaurants offer dog ice cream themselves, there isn’t a simple answer to whether ice cream is okay for dogs to eat. Generally, the main problem comes from large amounts of ice cream, or the way that the ice cream is prepared. If you want to be especially careful for your dog, the safest bet is to make frozen treats yourself, at home. Commercially manufactured ice creams, even if they were made for dogs, can utilize lots of sugar, which can lead to health problems for your dog, especially if your dog has weight issues.
Ingredients matter, as well. Especially watch out for dairy, xylitol, nuts, and chocolate. It’s okay if your dog takes some licks every once in a while—it’s when they intake a large amount that ice cream becomes problematic, and when the ice cream contains these ingredients. To take care of your dog in the best way possible, make frozen treats at home. This will ensure there are no large amounts of sugar, and no large portion sizes. You can mash bananas, freeze pumpkin, and freeze yogurt. These are very healthy alternatives to dairy ice cream, and as always, regulate what your dog eats to make sure that they are okay.