Dogs & Ice Cubes

By Deb Haines

Many of you may have been alarmed by the articles that have been circulating Facebook over and over again, as things that are alarming often do, that warns you to NEVER give your dog ice cubes or ice water as it may cause serious injury even death. There are various accounts of the article, with different dogs and different outcomes, but the story is fairly similar with most of them saying their vet told them that dogs should NEVER have ice. FALSE RUMOR STARTED !

“Lets talk about Ice and Ice water”

Can Ice Damage Your Dog’s Teeth?

Ice cubes are a known cause of tooth breakage in dogs, The larger and harder the cube, the higher the chance of this occurring. And chewing on anything hard frequently can cause significant wear to tooth enamel, Using smaller cubes or shavings and giving ice in moderation can help avoid these issues.

Can Your Dog Choke on Ice?

It is possible that a very large piece could lodge in a dog’s airway before melting sufficiently. Again, feeding smaller pieces of ice or shavings can avoid this issue. Animals who have lost teeth or have severe dental disease may not be able to chew ice appropriately and may be at greater risk of choking. Also, animals who have difficulty swallowing, underlying neurologic disease, or severe upper airway disease may have issues chewing and swallowing ice. Talk to your veterinarian beforehand if you have any concern about your dog’s ability to chew and swallow ice cubes,

Can Giving your Dog Ice Cause Bloat as the Story Implies?

This is not true. Dogs DO NOT BLOAT from drinking ice water on hot days. Bloat is not directly associated with eating ice, drinking way too much water may be a contributing factor to this life-threatening condition. Bloat can be from food or from a buildup of gas. Either can cause the stomach to rotate and the dog to develop GDV (gastric dilatation volvulus). Bloat is most commonly seen in deep-chested large-breed dogs.

Factors that increase the risk of bloat include:

  • Feeding only one meal a day
  • Familial history of bloat
  • Rapid eating
  • Thin
  • Moistening dry food
  • Elevated feeders
  • Restricting water before and after a meal
  • Dry diet with animal fat in first four ingredients
  • Age (older dogs).

As you can see there are many things associated with bloat, but not one known cause.

Questions and Answers from PVC vets

1) Giving ice cubes to your dog on a hot day has the opposite affect in cooling your dog.

Dr. Wild ….This is an Internet old wives tale with no supporting evidence. It makes the round every summer.

Dr. Welsh …. This has been answered a few times (search for ice cube). Short answer is that giving ice cubes in water/to lick will not cause overheating

2) Is there in worry in giving ice cubes?

Dr. Zebley ….No truth to it. The only issue with giving ice cubes is that they could potentially crack a tooth on them. No different than you or I drinking ice water or chewing on ice cubes.

3) What else can i give my dog ?

Dr. Anne…. I will do an ice cake for my dogs mixing treats and toys into a large metal drinking pan and then freezing till solid. This way they can lick it but not easily chew on it.

Dr. Patink …. It’s an urban myth like Dr. R said.
I do give my dog occasional smaller ice cubes as I don’t want them to be too hard for her teeth when she bites them.
I also stuff kongs/toppls/etc with canned food and freeze them. Licking the frozen canned food out takes around 20 min or so and is a nice way to help them relax and cool down!

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