Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Is it Safe? 

Can dogs eat ice cream for its nutrition or is it okay just as a treat? Most people love ice cream and so do their dogs.

One of the most important factors in pet ownership is a healthy diet.   Many owners worry about feeding their dog certain foods based on the food being unhealthy for humans.  However, can dogs eat ice cream?

There are many concerns surrounding this frozen dessert and whether or not your dog can safely consume it.  

If given access, will they be able to stop at just one lick and leave the rest alone?  

What sort of effects can it have on their health if they do eat some?   

Will there be any long term effects if small amounts of ice cream are given as treats?

That can be an extremely difficult question to answer.  Ice cream has so many things in it that can be dangerous to canines.  

What could you substitute for the ice cream with a similar texture that can still satisfy your dog's sweet cravings and their preference for food that is creamy or icy cold?

Unfortunately, it's best not to share your cone with your four-legged friend.

Ice cream lovers know that the frozen concoction can be awfully addicting and sometimes even tough to resist until it's all gone! 

But should dogs partake in such foods? Or are there certain types of "people" food they can actually safely nosh on? In this blog, we'll examine the facts.

There are plenty of potentially dangerous health concerns that all dog owners should be aware of. 

Lactose Intolerance in Dogs

Some ice creams contain egg, milk, sugar, whey, ice cream, ice milk and ice. Whey is a by-product of cheese production. It contains lactose which can be harmful to dogs because they do not have the required digestive enzymes for it.

Lactose intolerance isn't something that you hear about often in dogs. Adult dogs don't have stomachs that are ready to handle lactose. While they can digest milk as puppies, they really don't digest dairy as adults.

Many adult dogs are intolerant to varying degrees which means that they cannot properly digest dairy products.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

Eating dairy products can lead to bloating, stomach pain, gas, diarrhea, and vomiting. High fat content food can also lead to pancreatitis, which is a serious, potentially fatal illness.

Ice cream contains milk and milk products, so it's actually a dessert that shouldn't be given to your dog at all.

It should come as no surprise then that ice cream is not a treat that you should be giving to your dog.

Dogs Suffer from Food Allergies Too

Dogs can react to the proteins found in milk products just like humans. When they do, they can have more intense reactions than those that are suffered by humans.

Dogs don't always show signs of an ice cream allergy right away either - sometimes it's several hours or even days after ice cream ingestion that you'll see symptoms.

This is because ice cream will often times contain egg as a binding agent and milk is commonly used to flavor ice cream, too.

Some dog owners don't really pay much attention to their pup when feeding ice cream but they might start noticing problems in other areas of his health, such as stools becoming soft and runny, along with the development of a skin rash or hives appearing on the dog's body suddenly.

These could be indications that your pet has developed a food allergy.

Harmful - Beware of the Flavors!

There are many ice cream flavors that contain ingredients that can be harmful.

Chocolate Toxicity In Dogs

For example - Chocolate can be harmful to dogs because their bodies cannot efficiently process the components - theobromine and caffeine are some of the most common toxins treated at veterinary hospitals.

Chocolate toxicity can lead to: Vomiting Diarrhea, Increased heart rate and muscle tremors. 

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

Caffeine Toxicity In Dogs

Coffee flavored ice cream is another tasty source of caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and most of the signs of toxicity are a result of the stimulant effects of caffeine.

Sage advice can be found here on the VCA Hospital website..

"Pets that consume caffeine may have an increased heart rate and become hyperactive." Pets that consume caffeine may have an increased heart rate and become hyperactive. They get jittery and restless and do not want to lie still. They may also pace or vocalize excessively.

"Caffeine also raises blood pressure and causes cardiac arrhythmias, which can be dangerous."Caffeine raises blood pressure and causes cardiac arrhythmias, which can be dangerous. Pets may also lose muscle control and have tremors or seizures. Caffeine affects the gastrointestinal tract and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting may actually be a helpful side effect, since it can remove some of the toxin from the body. Pets may also need to urinate more just like people do after drinking a couple of sodas. Large ingestions of caffeine can be fatal to dogs and cats, especially if no treatment is given.

What Ingredient in Ice Cream is Bad for Dogs?

Artificial sweeteners

As well as dairy products, ice cream can contain Xylitol which is an artificial sweetener which is added to many sugar-free food products, including ice cream.

If ingested by dogs, xylitol causes a surge of insulin to be released, leading to a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels.

Xylitol, is very toxic to dogs when it's absorbed into their bloodstream very quickly. When dogs eat xylitol it causes a rapid release of insulin that decreases the blood sugar level.

This could lead to hypoglycemia, which can be life-threatening.

Always make sure that you double check ingredients as often this sweetener is used as a no/low sugar answer!

Dogs Need the Same Things as People to Stay Healthy 

Vitamins, mineral, protein, carbohydrates, fat and water. High sugar content can lead to your pooch piling on the pounds which can then snowball into other dangerous health issues. 

Your dog doesn't need the added sugars. As you know, our pooches need a good balanced diet that is suitable and appropriate to their size, breed etc and they also need ample exercise - you can check out our post 'How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need' for some great advice. 

While there are certainly some dog owners who give their pets ice cream from time to time with no apparent harm, that does not mean that ice cream was good for them.

Ice cream contains a great deal of sugar (a primary cause of diabetes in dogs) and ice cream can make dogs sick (and perhaps even worse if ice cream contains chocolate).

Some dog owners may think ice cream is harmless for the same reason that ice cream is sometimes safe for humans: because it has a low amount of lactose.

But just like ice cream plays havoc on human's digestions, ice cream does the same thing to a dog's digestion.

Is there a Dog Friendly Alternative to Ice Cream?

Is there such a thing as dog friendly ice cream?

As long as you feed your adult dog high quality dog foods then they will get enough calcium and other nutrients to help promote strong, healthy bones. So there is no need to add calcium to their diet with milk or ice cream. 

Some dogs can tolerate a small amount of plain vanilla ice cream as a treat.

However, there are other options that are not as likely to cause digestive problems.

You could try freezing some fat-free plain yogurt as it contains less lactose.

Do not use a commercial frozen yogurt as this will contain a lot of sugar.

However - word of warning! - not all dogs can tolerate fat-free yoghurt so you should proceed with caution.

Safe DIY Frozen Treats for Your Dog

Is your dog feeling overworked and underpaid? They certainly have worked hard as our trusted companions during the Covid-19 pandemic and they deserve some treats!

Let them indulge in some frozen treats during these summer months.

Frozen Bananas

It's so easy to just freeze bananas. Frozen bananas are a great option for dogs as the natural sugars provide plenty of energy to keep them cool on hot days while also being easy on their stomachs!

You can even give it an extra kick with some peanut butter or bacon bits if you want something more adventurous!

Can Dogs Eat Bananas?

Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes

You could also try some super cool fruity ice cubes! All you need is:

200 ml water

2 small mint leaves

100g cucumber

50g of thinly sliced strawberries

Blend the cucumber, mint and water and simply pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and then put a slice of strawberry into each one and freeze!!

Homemade Ice Cream for Dogs

Puree some bananas, peanut butter, and a bit of yogurt  together and then freeze. You can even indulge in a cute paw print mold!

Yogurt has less lactose than ice cream and you could also add in some other dog safe ingredients.

Vegan 'Nice Cream' made from frozen bananas is a great option too. You can check out a great article and recipe right here

Frozen yogurt has less sugar and some brands are lower in or sometimes free from dairy.

Always give your dog a small amount at first and then wait a few hours to see how they react.

With these great homemade treats though you're sure to satisfy any pup's sweet tooth - we've got your back!

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