Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?
It’s a hot, midsummer’s day. You’re in the garden, enjoying a cold ice cream. Then, your dog appears and looks longingly up at you, eyeing up your tasty frozen snack.
With those adorable eyes, how can you say no?
But ice cream is NOT good for your dog. Strictly speaking, you shouldn’t feed your pet this Lactose-rich food because 9 times out of 10 it contains harmful ingredients.
So, why is ice cream bad for dogs?
Probably the most prominent issue with dogs eating ice cream is their susceptibility to Lactose intolerance, among other things. Ice cream, like all dairy products, contains high levels of Lactose. Many dogs are Lactose intolerant, which causes nasty symptoms such as:
If your dog has consumed ice cream and shows signs of these symptoms, you can be sure of Lactose intolerance.
Source: Brno Cervera
Lactose intolerance in dogs is caused by an inability to produce the enzyme Lactase, which is responsible for breaking down Lactose (the sugar found in milk). When too much Lactose reaches the large intestine, water is drawn in causing diarrhoea. The bacteria in the large intestine can use Lactose as an energy source, producing a lot of gas as a byproduct. Sadly, this is a common condition in dogs because their stomachs cannot process milk after weaning as puppies.
The second major issue with feeding dogs ice cream is that it is loaded with sugar, fat and/or artificial colourings sweeteners and flavourings. High levels of refined sugars, salt and artificial sweeteners are really bad for dogs. These substances are largely toxic, and large amounts of sugar will have serious consequences on your dog’s dental health over time.
Too much sugar can damage your dog’s teeth and, in the long run, it can cause obesity. In addition, ice cream is high in calories and fat. This contributes to weight problems in dogs, just as in humans.
Obesity in pets is a real concern. Too much sugar can cause diabetes in cats and dogs, just as easily as it can in us. Plus, ice cream has virtually no nutritional benefits whatsoever. For this reason, feeding it to your dog won’t do him/her any favours.
Still, the question remains: can dogs have ice cream under any circumstances?
Funnily enough, they can. Well, sort of…
The Doggy Ice Cream Boom
That’s right. Our precious pooches needn’t suffer in this summer heat anymore because now you can get ice cream for your dog. (And we thought we’d seen it all!)
At last, your dog can join you in a delightful dessert under the gazebo in the garden.
For the first time ever, giving dogs ice cream is fine. Oh, to be a dog in the 21st century!
Well, technically it’s not ice ‘cream’—iced snacks for dogs don’t contain any dairy—but it’s certainly the next best thing!
The doggy ice cream boom has been spearheaded by events such as the London food festival, in Shoreditch. At the recent festival, loyal canines enjoyed dog-friendly ice cream for free at a pop-up store.
Source: wikipedia commons
For most people, dogs eating ice cream is a laughable sight—but not for the people at Billy and Margot: a manufacturer and brand of ‘Nutritious Iced Treats’ for dogs. In the burgeoning market of doggy ice cream, this company leads the way.
Having received investment from Deborah Meaden of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den, on their website they explain:
‘We originally wanted to call our iced treats - ice cream - because that’s what people think when they see a frozen tub. However, we couldn’t use the word ‘ice cream’ because our products don’t contain any dairy [...] So, instead we called them “Nutritious Iced treats.”
Billy and Margot’s focus is on nutrition and wholesome ingredients. For them, ‘it is quite simple—we only produce food and treats that we are happy to feed our own dogs.’
Alternatively, opting to make your own iced treats for your dog isn’t a bad idea at all. Aside from saving you money, you’ll be able to control what goes into them. That way, you can be happy in the knowledge that you’re not feeding your pet any nasty additives, sweeteners or flavourings: ingredients that may well be harmful to your furry companion.
So, if you’d prefer something more natural, you can give your dog frozen fruit in small quantities. Try frozen bananas or blueberries, but avoid raisins and grapes as they are toxic to dogs.
Source: Ruth and Dave
Or simply give your dog some frozen yoghurt; it won't do your pet any harm and it has the same cooling effect as ice cream.
In summary, dairy products are a major contributor to food allergies in dogs. One study suggests that dairy is the second most allergenic food type for dogs, coming in behind beef. Dogs with food allergies suffer itchiness and recurrent skin and/or ear infections.
Another issue is that certain flavours—such as rum and raisin or chocolate—are toxic to dogs. Most dog owners are aware of the dangers of chocolate. But it’s important to know it doesn't matter in what form the chocolate comes; a chocolate ice cream is just as harmful to a dog as a chocolate bar.
To sum up, you shouldn’t feed your dog ice cream. But, you can buy dog-friendly alternatives or make your own variations of dog-friendly iced snacks.
In general, stick to healthy and wholesome dog food that has been approved for your pet’s consumption.