Can dogs eat ice?
Are you thinking about what cold treat you could give to your dog when days are hot and humid? Crushed ice makes a refreshing and hydrating treat for your canine buddy on days when temperatures are up. Yes, dogs can eat ice, but in moderation. There are also certain things to keep in mind when offering ice to your pet. Even if the ice will eventually melt, it’s still a choking hazard, not to mention the potential to damage your dog’s teeth from all the chewing and gnawing. Keep reading to learn more about giving ice to your dog.
Is ice good for dogs?
During hot days, one of the best ways to encourage your dog to drink water is to put some ice in his water. This can help your pet cool down while staying well-hydrated. Chewing ice chips or crushed ice can help keep your dog hydrated without having to take in a lot of water too quickly. Drinking too much water too fast has been linked to bloat, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with gas and rotates. The condition is more common in large, deep-chested canine breeds like Great Danes and St. Bernards. Drinking a lot of water can increase the likelihood of the dog gulping in a lot of air while drinking. This often happens after exercise.
After your pet has engaged in some strenuous physical activity, give him time to cool down before offering free access to food and water. You can offer ice chips or small amounts of water at a time until your dog is well-rested and can be given free access to water.
By giving ice cubes or ice chips, the rate of water ingestion by overly excited or tired dogs is slowed down. Veterinarians often recommend ice cubes to dogs recovering from surgeries to slowly introduce water to their system. Ice cubes can also be given to dogs that are vomiting to see if they can keep fluids down.
Ice cubes in your dog’s water bowl when you’re traveling is also an excellent way to encourage your pooch to drink more water.
Crushed vs. Cubed Ice: Does it make a difference to your dog?
Pam Nichols, DVM, President of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), recommends serving crushed ice pellets over ice cubes. Aggressive chewing on ice cubes can increase the likelihood of tooth damage.
Tooth enamel can significantly wear down with frequent chewing of anything hard. Smaller ice cubes or shavings can help avoid tooth damage.
Can ice cubes help prevent heat stress in dogs?
Sweating in dogs is not as efficient as in humans, more so in dogs that are covered with thick, fluffy hair coats and in brachycephalic breeds. Warm weather can be a serious problem, especially for these dogs.
Dogs are more prone to heat stress or heat stroke during hot and humid days. Heatstroke can be life-threatening, so it’s best to take measures to protect your dog. Dogs should never be left unattended in any situation where they’re exposed to hot temperatures, such as inside a parked car. You also have to be careful not to encourage excessive exercise or physical activity especially during the hottest parts of the day.
Pet owners should also keep an eye out for tell-tale signs of overheating in dogs, such as panting and labored breathing. When it’s very hot outdoors, make sure that your pet stays comfortable inside the house or in an air-conditioned room. During outdoor excursions, dogs should stay in a cool and shaded area and be given cool fresh water.
If your dog is showing signs of heat stress, veterinarians never recommend dousing your pet in an ice bath. This can trigger a potentially dangerous chain of events as your pet’s body is exposed to too much coldness too soon. A better way to cool your dog down is to use towels that have been soaked in cold water. Wetting the dog’s belly and paws with cool water can also help as well as turning on the fan or air condition.
Early signs of heatstroke should be brought to the attention of your vet, as some symptoms may develop soon after. Call your vet immediately so you can be instructed on what to do. There may be a need to bring your pet to the vet clinic for medical attention.
Can ice cubes be given to teething puppies?
Ice cubes are not recommended for puppies that are teething. A better way to help ease your pet’s pain and discomfort associated with the eruption of the teeth is to freeze a washcloth and let your pup chew on it. However, you shouldn’t overdo it as this could teach him that it’s OK to chew on cloth. To prevent this, it’s best to offer chilled chew toys to your teething puppy.
Can ice cause choking in dogs?
While cases are very rare, this is a possibility. Ice can be a potential choking hazard when a dog swallows a large piece that could get lodged in the animal’s airway before melting. The risk is greater in dogs that are unable to chew ice well because of severe dental disease or lack of teeth.
Some dogs have difficulty chewing and swallowing as a result of certain health issues. Swallowing large ice cubes can also be an issue for these dogs. Again, the best way to avoid this potential problem is to offer ice shavings or crushed ice in moderation.
How to Safely Give Ice to Your Dog
- Give small pieces of ice to prevent your dog from choking. It’s best to offer crushed ice or ice shavings, especially with smaller dogs.
- Be sure to use clean water when making ice for your dog.
- Avoid giving hard pieces of ice to your dog because it could easily chip his teeth when he starts chewing and gnawing on it.
- Some dogs prefer having ice in their water, while others like to have ice given separately. Observe your dog closely when you offer some ice so you will know his preference.
- If you have doubts and/or concerns about giving ice to your dog, don’t hesitate to ask your vet about it.
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