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Do Ice Cubes Cause Bloat?

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.

The Myth:

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. 

ice cubes and dogs

 

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 doesn’t.

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!

Frozen water? 

Yes, please!

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?

Yes!

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.

dog bowl filled with ice cubes

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?

Ice chips.

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.

Do Ice Cubes Cause Bloat?

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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10 Easy Methods To Hold Your Canine’s Water Refreshingly Cool – petcareskill

Sunday 14th of August 2022

[…] And don’t fear, ice water is protected for many canine and ice doesn’t cause dog bloat.  […]

Lisa F.

Monday 28th of May 2018

"If you lack common sense, sorry for your loss." LOL! That's the best thing I've read in a long time!

Monika & Sam

Wednesday 28th of June 2017

It's kind of like the old saying don't go outside with wet hair in the winter; you'll catch a cold. Except that viruses cause cold. Thanks for sharing another insightful post, Jen. Sending digital ice cubes for Leroy. Stay cool.

Two French Bulldogs

Tuesday 27th of June 2017

Very interesting thank you for the info Snorts Lily & Edward

Jen

Wednesday 28th of June 2017

Thank you :)

All Things Collie

Tuesday 27th of June 2017

What is your opinion on certain foods causing bloat?

I read an article, by a vet, that discussed people feeding their dogs fruits and veggies in addition to their regular kibble. The idea being its healthier for the dog to eat real food, and not just kibble. As kibble has such a wide range of quality, some experts are encouraging owners to cut back a 1/4 or 1/2 of the kibble in their pets' diets, and substitute real healthy food instead. I actually do this from time to time, adding real meat, fruits and veggies. Because only eating kibble every day your entire life seems boring and possibly could lead to problems.

But the vet suggested that fruits and veggies are digested at a different rate than kibble and meat, and that they can cause gas...which can lead to bloat. He actually suggested feeding fruits and veggies separate from kibble, at a different time of day.

There are so many experts, it's hard to know who to believe. And since bloat is now a concern for collies, I've been reading a lot of articles. (I even heard about the ice cube myth)

Jen

Wednesday 28th of June 2017

Way back in the day I believe that they said dogs that are fed kibble were more likely to bloat but that has since been debunked. Unfortunately, I've known and read about many dogs that were fed home cooked or raw diets bloating. I've never heard that about feeding veggies and fruits separate but it makes sense that they would digest at a different rate.

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