There can be something particularly satisfying about crunching an ice cube between your teeth when you want something cold—and many dogs share that craving with their pet parents. But is chomping on ice cubes safe for your dog?
Generally speaking, yes. Water is essential to your pet staying hydrated, and it doesn't matter if the water comes in liquid or solid form, including ice cubes.
However, while ice cubes are safe in many cases, they can also potentially cause harm. Here are some risks and precautions to consider before giving ice to your dog.
Can Ice Damage Your Dog’s Teeth?
Ice cubes, or anything so hard that you cannot indent it with a fingernail, are known causes of tooth breakage in dogs. The larger and more firm an ice cube is, the higher chance of a tooth fracture.
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, she notes.
Can Your Dog Choke on Ice?
Dogs can certainly choke on ice, so always use caution with large pieces of ice that can lodge in a dog's airway before melting. But again, feeding smaller pieces of ice or shavings can avoid this issue.
Also, animals who have dental disease, 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 Ice Cause Dog Bloat?
While dog bloat is not directly associated with eating ice, drinking too much water may be a contributing factor to this life-threatening condition. Bloat is a twisting of the stomach that can occur in association with trapped gas.
Bloat occurs for various reasons, including ingestion of large volumes of food, water, or air. For example, if eating ice causes your dog to gulp or drink water excessively, it could put them at higher risk for developing bloat.
If your dog appears extra thirsty, ice cubes may not be the best choice for quenching his thirst. Excessive thirst can signify many diseases, so check with your veterinarian if you feel your dog is drinking more than normal.
Can You Use Ice to Treat Heat Stroke in Dogs?
In the case of an overheated dog, ice cubes are not advised. Cool water is better than frozen, as we want them to cool down slowly.
The most important thing to do is to begin the active cooling process: Wet your dog down with room temperature water—focusing on your pet’s underside and back (avoiding the head)—then go straight to your veterinarian.
Can You Feed Ice to a Sick Dog?
Many pets get dehydrated when ill (particularly with gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea) and become very thirsty. But when the cause of the illness is unknown or the dog cannot keep ice shavings down, the best course is to get your dog to the veterinarian.
In some cases, dogs who are nauseous may benefit from small amounts of ice chips. However, it is crucial to talk to a veterinarian first, as offering food or water can worsen certain conditions.
Do Certain Dog Breeds Enjoy Ice More Than Others?
Large and active breeds tend to chew more, in general. However, dogs of all shapes and sizes can learn to love chewing ice cubes.
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