If You’ve Ever Wondered If It’s Safe To Give Your Dog Ice Cubes To Chew On, We’ve Got Answers For You
Does your dog like to chew on ice cubes?
On a hot summer day, you probably start perspiring immediately — and running for the A/C. Well, our canine friends don’t sweat in the same way and are more limited in the ways that they can cool off. Dogs only sweat in certain areas of their body, like their paw pads, and instead pant to help cool down. Chances are, you have also seen how excited dogs get over ice cubes and may have given them to your dog to beat the heat. However, there can be some confusion as to to whether this is safe.
Technically, letting your furry friend munch on ice cubes to help him hydrate and cool off is totally safe. “Cubes are useful as a means to guarantee water ingestion and can slow the speed at which pets drink water,” Dr. Jill DiFazio, critical care specialist with the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group in New York City, told petMD.com.
That said, there are some concerns that should be addressed before you start tossing solid chunks of ice to your pet.
Tooth Damage, Choking & Bloat
Ice cubes have been known to cause tooth damage in dogs, especially if the cube is large and hard. Just like having your dog chew on a hard toy can result in tooth and enamel damage, so can ice cubes.
However, simply giving dogs smaller cubes or shavings and giving ice in moderation can help avoid these issues, explained Difazio.
Another common fear? Choking. This is actually an unlikely scenario, as ice tends to melt too quickly for a cube to really get lodged in your pet’s throat.
Then there are concerns about bloat, which is a life-threatening condition for dogs. Bloat occurs when the stomach gets enlarged with gas then rotates with the abdomen, explained Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club.
Dogs are at risk of bloat when they drink or eat too, especially after exercise, and swallow too much air, he explained. With that in mind, ice cubes are actually a clever way to slow down the rate of water ingestion by overzealous dogs.
In addition to enjoying ice cubes, there are a few other tips to keep bloat at bay. “To prevent your dog getting bloat, feed several small meals a day instead of one or two large ones, don’t let them drink lots of water at once and avoid exercise for an hour or so after mealtime,” explained veterinarian Dr. Audrey Harvey.
Other Ways To Cool Off
There are other ways to help your friend cool off if your pooch is on the smaller, toy-sized side of the dog spectrum. Options include cooling vests, soaking a wet, cool towel around your dog’s body and even letting him simply stand in cool water helps (remember that dogs cool themselves through their paw pads!).
Of course, if you’re ever concerned about your pet’s health, be sure to ask your questions to a vet!