Ice cream is a cool, sweet treat that comes in many flavors and brings comfort to anyone who eats it. As a dog owner, you likely already know that canines have a serious attraction to sweet tastes. So, can you share this ice cream with them? Will ice cream harm your dog?
Dangers of Ice Cream to Dogs
Although dogs can eat ice cream, it is not safe for them. An occasional lick of ice cream here and there will not harm your dog, but giving it to them regularly, can be a problem.
Some of the dangers of ice cream to dogs include:
Dogs, especially grown ones, cannot handle the lactose in ice cream. They lose their ability to digest lactose as they age, making them intolerant to it. Feeding your dog ice cream can cause gas, vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea.
These symptoms are excruciating for dogs and not worth the temporary fun they will get from eating ice cream. Even a small amount of ice cream can cause a lot of flatulence.
If they eat a lot of ice cream, your dog might require emergency medical care.
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High Levels of Sugar
Dogs with weight issues or those dealing with diabetes should stay away from ice cream. It contains a lot of sugar, and these levels are not healthy for them. Sugar is a huge contributor to canine weight gain and can even cause dogs with no weight issues to gain weight.
Toxic Artificial Sweeteners
There are some sugarless ice cream varieties, but these are more dangerous to your dog than the normal ones. Sugar-free ice cream contains artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, which are highly toxic to canines.
High Fat Levels
Ice cream also contains high levels of fat that your pup can do without. Much like sugar, too much fat leads to weight gain and can be dangerous for dogs with diabetes. Too much ice cream can worsen the situation for those with underlying health conditions.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Butter?
Some flavors of ice cream can also pose a danger to your dog. For example, the chocolate flavor is harmful as dogs cannot digest the theobromine in chocolate. Green tea or coffee ice cream is also dangerous due to the high caffeine levels.
Even fruit-flavored ice creams or those containing fruits can be unsafe. When ingested, raisins and grapes cause acute kidney failure in dogs.
Also, be careful when giving your pup ice cream containing nuts. For example, macadamia nuts are highly harmful to dogs. Walnuts, pecans, and almonds contain too much fat, making them unhealthy.
It is better not to feed your dog ice cream unless you know a safe way to do it.
Safe Way to Serve Ice Cream
Buy dairy-free ice cream brands that your dog might enjoy. Be careful, however, and ensure the ingredients used are safe for your dog. Plain vanilla or fruit-flavored ice creams are your best option.
Start with small amounts of ice cream in the beginning to gauge your dog’s reaction to it. Ensure it does not upset their stomach or cause other unwanted effects before continuing to feed them. Symptoms, such as diarrhea or bloating, may suffice within two hours.
If nothing happens in this period, you can increase the serving next time but do not make it an everyday thing. If your dog shows any symptoms, that is a sign that their stomach does not tolerate dairy, and you should avoid it.
You can also choose to make them homemade ice cream. Some healthy ingredients include bananas, lactose-free or low-lactose yogurt, peanut butter, or berries. You can also throw in some oats and other dog-friendly, healthy ingredients.
Another alternative is giving your pup frozen yogurt or vegan “nice cream”. These contain less sugar and can be free of, or contain lower levels of, dairy. Their fat levels are also less, making them healthier treats than regular ice cream.
What to Do if My Dog Eats Ice Cream
Start by finding out how much ice cream and the flavor they ate. Your dog should be safe if it only had a few licks of ice cream. It might experience gassiness or diarrhea, but it will be fine.
However, if your furry friend ate ice cream containing harmful ingredients or artificial sweeteners, call your vet or animal control for advice.
Please do not feed your dog ice cream as it provides no nutritional value. If you have to, do it in moderation.
Moreover, ensure the ice cream is safe for your dog and doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners. Even better, prepare homemade ice cream with safe ingredients.