If you’re wondering if ice cubes are for dogs, don’t worry, ice cubes and ice water are a great treat for most dogs on hot summer days and they do not cause dog bloat. They can be given alone or in a bowl of water. They can be plain or flavored too!
I remember reading about this myth several years ago when I was sitting on the back porch with my husband.
Ice Cubes Are Bad For Dogs
They can cause dogs to experience bloat/GDV and can lead to death.
This is not true and there is no scientific evidence in all the bloat studies done on dogs that point to ice cubes as a known cause.
Dog bloat is a serious medical condition in a dog when that occurs when they eat or drink too much or too fast.
When they are eating or drinking fast they have the potential to swallow a lot of air. This air can cause the stomach to fill with gas and potentially flip causing a GDV (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus). Any dog can get bloat but deep-chested breeds seem to be more prone.
So how do ice cubes or ice water come into play here?
It’s the air that is being swallowed when the water is being consumed.
If I take my dogs for a 10-mile walk on a hot day and then let them come home and drink 3 gallons of water, whether it contains ice or not, they are at risk for getting bloat.
It’s the amount of water and air that they are sucking down not the temperature of the water they are drinking.
If ice water or ice cubes caused bloat then we wouldn’t let our dogs eat anything cold or frozen such as snow, frozen yogurt, ice cream or frozen peanut butter.
Do Dogs Like Ice?
Some dogs do and some dogs don’t.
I have 3 dogs.
2 dogs love ice and 1 doesn’t.
2 of my dogs actually LOVE to bob for ice cubes in buckets and both of them come running every time the freezer opens.
Ice cubes are zero calories treat in this house!
What About Dogs and Ice Water?
I don’t get why so many people have this question.
If ice cubes for dogs is ok, then so should ice water, right?
Obviously, it’s always best to talk to your veterinarian but unless your dog has a medical condition, most dogs do fine with a few sips of ice water.
Don’t forget, many dogs are given ice chips after a medical procedure like surgery just as with people.
Hazards of Giving Dogs Ice Cubes
Can there be hazards to giving a dog ice water or ice cubes?
Ice is hard and it can break a dog’s tooth, just like they can break a tooth on anything that is hard.
It’s suggested that a dog that is overheated not be given large amounts of ice or ice water.
I believe that is because there are better ways to cool an overheated dog down such as getting them to a cool spot, hosing them down with cool, not cold water and/or offering small amounts of water if they are alert enough to drink.
Ice, especially ice that forms outside in cold weather, can make some dogs vomit or cause diarrhea as well, so they should eat it in slowly and in small amounts.
I’ve recently been buying bags of ice from Chick Fil A.
They sell their pellet ice in 5lb bags for only $1.59 (in Ohio) and the dogs love it!
I like this ice because it’s smaller and not as hard as the regular cubes our fridge produces.
It’s common sense.
Personally, I see no harm in giving my dogs ice cubes as long as it’s in moderation.
Pros of Giving Dogs Ice Cubes
For some dogs, adding ice chips or ice cubes can actually them down from taking big gulps of water.
Ice cubes are a good way to keep dogs hydrated in the warm summer months.
Ice cubes in water bowls keep water cool and inviting for dogs and you can even make ice licks which can be a type of canine enrichment activity.
Sherman and Leroy love ice cubes and they think they are a special treat and I’ve actually noticed that when there is ice in their water bowl, they drink slower.
And if you think about it, what’s the first thing you’re allowed to eat after you have surgery?
Many veterinarians recommend the same thing for dogs after they come out of surgery or if they have upset stomachs to make sure they are able to keep fluids down.
Leroy likes ice cubes in his water in the summer.
It’s not because he likes his water super cold, it’s because he wants to go fishing for ice.
He’s more at risk for drowning in his water bowl than getting bloat.
Disclosure I am not a veterinarian but you can read what Dr. Andy Rorak thinks about giving dogs ice water here.
If you question giving ice or ice water to your dog you should talk to your veterinarian.
p.s. if you know someone who believes this myth please spread the word that this is indeed a myth.
We need people to understand the true facts about bloat and not confuse them more.
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