malamute licking vanilla and strawberry ice cream

Ice cream may cause digestive upset, and some flavours contain ingredients toxic to your dog.

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Can my dog eat ice cream? All you need to know about this sweet treat

By Greta Inglis Dog Behaviourist | Animal Behaviourist

Published on the

Ice cream may seem like the best treat for your pup on a sunny day, but it can be dangerous to dogs. Read on to find out why and what alternatives you can try.

Most of us love ice cream and sharing a soft-serve with your four-legged friend may seem like the perfect way to spend a summer’s day. But have you ever wondered if it’s safe for your dog to eat ice cream?

Unfortunately for our dogs, what tastes good isn’t necessarily a healthy choice, and ice cream most definitely falls into this category.

Why should I avoid feeding my dog ice cream?

Dogs notoriously eat most things, irrespective of whether or not it’s good for them, and it’s up to us as their owners to help keep them safe.

While certain types of ice cream may not be toxic to your dog, it’s important to consider the possibility of allergies and the effect it may have on their overall health.

The fat content

Delicious as it is, ice cream is undeniably high in fat. Consumed in any considerable quantity, ice cream can lead to weigh gain and even obesity in the long run.

With many ice cream brands also adding sugar, there’s an additional risk of dental disease and diabetes.

The risk of allergy

The second consideration when it comes to feeding your dog ice cream, is the possibility of an allergy or dairy intolerance.

Dogs often have difficulty digesting the lactose in dairy products, and this applies to ice cream in much the same way it does to milk. After puppyhood, dogs lose the enzyme that helps with digestion, making most dogs dairy intolerant to some extent.

Digestive upset can lead to diarrhea, bloating, constipation and painful cramps for your canine companion. Add to this the possibility of an allergy to any of the other ingredients used, and it becomes apparent that ice cream could be a risky choice of summer snack.

The toxic ingredients

While a plain vanilla ice cream may not be harmful to some dogs, there are many flavours that could be toxic.

Chocolate and raisin ice cream should always be avoided, due to the toxins these ingredients can present. High levels of caffeine means coffee flavour ice cream is also unsuitable for your pet.

If you're thinking of feeding a suger free alternative, make sure you do lots of research first. Sweeteners, and particularly xylitol can be dangerous to your dog. If your pet accidentally manages to get their paws on some ice cream, contact your vet for advice.

What alternatives are there to ice cream?

Luckily for your dog there are lots of safe and delicious alternatives out there.

Frozen banana

One of the best frozen treats for your pup is banana. Simple, easy to prepare, and your dog will love it!

Chop the banana before freezing to make sure the pieces won’t hurt your dog’s teeth.

Dog ice lollies

Dog ice lollies have soared in popularity in recent years, and make a great choice for your pet. Your dog gets to enjoy a cooling treat, without any of the risks of human ice cream.

To make your own, you can try blending sweet potato and carrot, before mixing with water and freezing. For a meatier choice, simply mix some of your dog’s wet food with water or stock, and then pop it into an ice cube tray or a mould of your choosing.

Ben and Jerry’s Dog Ice cream

Ben and Jerry’s infamous creations are not just for us humans to enjoy. Inspired by their four-legged friends, the company recently launched a range of ice cream your dog can eat. With a choice between peanut butter swirls and pumpkin, there’s variety for even the pickiest of pooches.

Wondering how to make your own ice cream? Click here for our dog-friendly peanut butter banana ice cream recipe.

Videos of dogs eating human ice cream can make it tempting to offer this treat to your pet, but in reality it could be doing them more harm that good.

With so many alternatives, there’s really no need to take risks. It can be fun creating different flavours and experimenting with dog-safe options, and your four-legged friend will love that you made something tasty just for them.

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