Summer is the best time to play in the water parks, go to the park with your dog, and have fun outdoors. However, with summer also comes heat and humidity. It is the time you turn to drink popsicles and eat crushed ice for refreshment and to help you cool down and relax.
What about your dog? Can they eat ice to combat the heat?
Yes, dogs can eat ice, although it is not as simple as it sounds. The first thing to keep in mind is moderation; you have to control the amount of ice they eat. What else should you know about giving your dog ice? Let us find out!
Is Ice Good For Dogs?
Depending on how you give it to your dog, ice can benefit them. Use ice to encourage your dog to drink water, cool it down, and keep it hydrated. Your dog can also chew on the ice chips or crushed ice to avoid glugging too much water.
Drinking water too fast can cause bloating, which is dangerous for dogs. Dogs tend to gulp water after strenuous physical activity, swallowing a lot of air in the process. You can prevent bloating by giving them some ice to chew on. Interchange the ice with a small amount of water in their bowl until they are rested enough to drink moderately.
Taking breaks and chewing the ice when drinking the water is one of the ways to ensure they don’t gulp too much air. This is especially a problem with larger dog breeds like St. Bernards and Great Danes; they have large chests that can take in a lot of air when drinking water.
To reintroduce water to your dog’s system after surgery, veterinarians recommend giving him ice. You can also use ice cubes for a vomiting dog to help them keep the fluids down and prevent dehydration.
Putting ice cubes in their water when traveling is another way to encourage them to drink more water on the road.
All in all, ice is good for dogs as long as you use it in the right way and administer it correctly.
Which is Safer; Crushed or Cubed Ice?
Most vets recommend giving your dog crushed ice over ice cubes. Dogs tend to chew on the ice cubes aggressively, increasing the chances of tooth damage.
The enamel easily wears down when they chew the ice cubes too hard. Crushed ice, ice shavings, or smaller ice cubes are less dangerous as they dissolve faster and don’t require much chewing.
Ice Cubes for Teething Puppies
Puppies experience a lot of pain when teething and need to chew on something to alleviate it. Ice cubes can come in handy. However, they are not the best to use as they can be a choking hazard.
One way to ease teething pain is by freezing a cloth and letting them chew on it. Doing this, however, can teach them to chew on clothes, which can quickly become a menace. The best way to help teething puppies is to give them chilled chew toys that not only numb the pain but are also fun to play with.
Ice Cubes for Diarrhea
Diarrhea can quickly dehydrate your dog, especially when it occurs over an extended period. To stop dehydration, encourage your dog to drink a lot of clean water to replace the fluids they lose.
Put ice cubes or chips in their water to make it more appealing to them. You can also give your dog access to an easily accessible water fountain where they can drink fresh water.
Another way to help your dog is by adding ice cubes to a low-sodium broth to encourage fluid intake. Your dog will be eager to lap up the broth, whereby the ice cubes will provide a cool, crunchy treat. If your dog’s diarrhea doesn’t stop, take him to the vet for help.
Can You Use Ice Cubes to Prevent Heat Stress?
Dogs with thick hair coats suffer more in hot conditions than we do. Hot/ warm weather is also brutal to brachycephalic dog breeds (those with shortened skull bones), such as the French and English bulldogs. They are more prone to heat stroke or heat stress on days with high humidity, which can be life-threatening.
Some of the symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include labored breathing and panting. On these days, you must take thorough precautions to avoid this. These include avoiding excessive exercise and keeping your dog inside the house, away from the heat, until the temperature drops.
Related: Can Dogs Take Pedialyte?
Avoid giving your dog ice baths on days like this to cool them down. It is dangerous as it exposes them to cold conditions too fast, which can shock their system, triggering a dangerous chain of events.
It is best to gradually introduce them to cooling conditions, for example, by using towels soaked in cold water. You can also wet your pup’s paws and belly with cool water and turn on the air conditioner or fan to fight the heat.
Related: How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water?
How to Feed Ice to Dogs Safely
Talk to your vet before you start giving your dog ice. He can tell you whether your pup can handle it or not. To ensure its safety, give it small pieces of ice that will not choke it; crushed ice is the best option.
Ensure you use clean water when making the ice cubes. Dirty water exposes them to harmful bacteria. Only use clean water for their regular drinking as well.
Avoid giving your dog hard, dense, or big pieces of ice. Hard pieces can break and chip their teeth. Also, avoid brittle pieces of ice as they can break apart and tear their mouth or throat when swallowing.
Can Dogs Eat Popsicles?
Another way to cool your dog down is by giving them popsicles or ice pops. These are ice treats made from different ingredients. Caution is necessary when giving your dog popsicles; you have to ensure the ingredients used are safe for your dog.
Please do not give artificially sweetened popsicles to a dog. Most contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is dangerous for our best friends. Avoid using popsicles with a sugar-free label as these will most likely contain xylitol.
Popsicles with too much sugar are also unsafe for dogs. Excessive sugar consumption is linked to weight gain and diabetes in dogs and can also cause dental problems such as tooth decay.
Most popsicles made for humans contain too much sugar; the best way to avoid this is by making homemade popsicles for your dog. This way, you can control the amount of sugar you put in them – putting no sugar at all is best.
Monitor your dog if you give it a popsicle with a stick in to ensure they don’t accidentally swallow it.
Ice comes in many forms; crushed, cubed, ice pops, and more. Your dog can eat all of them. Avoid giving them large ice cubes as they can be a choking hazard. Opt for crushed ice or smaller ice cubes that will not block your dog’s windpipe. You can also dissolve the ice cubes in their water or broth to cool them down on a hot day.
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