During the hot weather, we are always thinking of ways to keep our dogs fresh and comfortable. Ice cubes can definitely be a cold summer treat… But are they safe for dogs? Can dogs eat ice?
Can dogs eat ice?
As you may have guessed, the short answer is yes – but there are some risks and precautions to consider.
What are the health benefits of ice?
Water, either in liquid or solid form, is essential for your pet to be hydrated. So, ice cubes can help your pet cool down and stay well-hydrated.
Ice cubes can be put in your dog’s water bowl, on the floor, or frozen with food. Each of those ways can be great for mental stimulation and entertainment. This also encourages your dog to drink more water and prevents them from drinking too fast. Drinking water too fast can lead to bloat, a life-threatening condition – more on this below.
For puppies, ice can be a good way to relieve sore gums. The cooling sensation of crushed ice relieves the pain of red and inflamed gums.
What should I be aware of when offering ice to my dog?
First off, you want to make sure that the cubes are not large enough to pose a choking risk, so smaller pieces are highly recommended. For smaller dogs, it is best to offer crushed ice or ice shavings.
Some dogs have certain health issues (for example, severe dental disease) and can have difficulty chewing. If that’s the case, swallowing large ice cubes can be a problem here as well.
Chewing on hard ice cubes can also fracture your dog’s teeth, although this is very rare. The best course of action is to always let them enjoy ice under supervision.
It’s important to remember that after a period of hard physical activity, you need to let your dog cool down before giving them free access to water (liquid or solid). If your dog drinks water or ingests ice too quickly, a condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus (commonly called bloat) can occur. The stomach fills with water quickly and can twist, which is always a clinical emergency.
One last note – if a dog is suffering from heatstroke, ice cubes are not recommended. In that situation, cool them with a cold-water towel and call your vet immediately.
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