By Jacqueline Bennett
It’s summer, and you’re no doubt looking for ways to help keep your pup cool. You may have him go for a swim, relax in the shade, or enjoy something cold to eat. Your furry friend may even seem to have a preference—ice. But why do dogs like ice cubes so much?
Turns out, ice cubes for dogs are a great way to help keep our canines cool on a hot day. We’re looking into why dogs like ice cubes, debunking the myths surrounding giving ice to dogs, and giving you some other tips on how to keep your dog cool in the heat of summer.
Why Do Dogs Like Ice Cubes?
YES, DOGS CAN EAT ICE CUBES, BUT BE CAREFUL THEY DON’T BREAK TEETH—DOGS WITH SMALLER JAWS AND TEETH ARE MORE LIKELY TO SEE CRACKS FROM EATING ICE.
As many pet parents already know, dogs don’t sweat! They can cool down only by panting or through their paw pads. So they need to find external ways to cool down, often. Dogs like ice because it’s a cold treat—a pupsicle, if you will. Eating ice or drinking ice water helps bring their body temperature down quickly to avoid overheating.
Dogs with the urge to chew also like ice, but be careful! The hardness of ice can chip or fracture teeth in some dogs, especially toy breeds with smaller jaws.
Teething dogs may also like ice cubes to help relieve pain. Some dogs simply like to play with ice cubes, sliding them around on the floor. If that’s the case, you may want to let your dog enjoy ice cubes outside to avoid a puddly mess indoors.
Can Dogs Eat Ice Cubes?
Yes, in a word. Eating or licking ice is a surefire fast way to cool your dog down. Plus, having him suck on ice cubes or drink water with ice cubes could help stop a dog from overheating.
It doesn’t have to be the same boring plain ice cubes—you can make all sorts of delectable icy treats for your dog, including these incredible slushies! With flavors like pumpkin, PB&J, and even cheeseburger, what dog could resist? As an added bonus, if your dog is easily bored, icy treats will likely help keep him entertained as he licks away.
DOG-SHAPED ICE CUBES, ANYONE?
You may have heard the rumor that ice cubes are dangerous for dogs and may cause a serious, life-threatening condition—bloat. Turns out, this is a myth that has been circulated on the internet for years.
The real danger lies in your dog drinking water or ingesting ice too quickly, which is a risk factor for bloat.
“Dogs are given ice or iced water to drink when they are hot and thirsty, for example after heavy exercise,” veterinarian Dr. Audrey Harvey writes. “Under these circumstances, they are very likely to drink a lot of water very quickly, and this is a known risk factor for bloat.”
So by all means, give your dog some ice. Just don’t let him go overboard and take it in too fast.
Other Ways to Cool Your Dog Off
• Make an ice-lick—there are some super-cool recipes. Just keep an eye on how fast your dog eats these icy treats and slow him down or take it away for periods of time, if necessary.
• Cooling vests can keep your dog comfortable if you have to be outdoors—cool, not cold, water typically recommended.
• A wet towel also works in a pinch, soak the towel in cool water and wrap it around your dog’s body.
• Since dogs also cool through their paw pads, have him stand in an inch of cool water, do not use ice cubes, or the water will get too cold.
• Monitor your dog’s temperature to make sure you don’t cool him down too much --103 degrees is the normal body temperature of a dog.
The Bottom Line
Who doesn’t like to cool off with a refreshing ice-cold drink on a hot summer day? Dogs love ice, too and there is no reason not to indulge them, just make sure they don’t overdo it and eat too much too fast.