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Can Dogs Eat Ice Cubes? Are They A Choke Hazard?

Joanna Woodnutt

Last Updated: October 3, 2023 | 5 min read | Leave a Comment

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small doodle dog laying on sofa outside eating ice cube

An ice-cold drink helps cool us down on a hot summer’s day. So is it okay to give our dogs ice cubes as well? Ice cubes are absolutely safe for dogs, especially in certain situations. But there are a few hazards to be aware of too, so keep reading to learn the best times and ways to give ice to your dog.

Can I Give My Dog Ice Cubes?

You absolutely can give ice cubes to your dog on a hot day. A few cubes in their water bowl might help to keep it cool, or a cube to eat might help keep them cool. But the ice cubes need to be the right size for your dog to reduce the risk of choking.

Be aware that if your dog has sensitive teeth, the ice cubes might cause some discomfort. Also, a very hard, cold ice cube might be difficult to bite or even damage a tooth.

Ice Cubes For Dogs With Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a serious condition that occurs when your dog overheats.

Typical signs of heat stroke are:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lack of coordination
  • Low energy/lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Purple gums, or redness of the skin

In a heat stoke situation, it is not safe to give your dog ice cubes. Cooling them down too fast can lead to shock, which can be even more dangerous for your pet. It’s better to use cold towels or some cool water on their feet to help bring their body temperature down. If you think your dog might have heat stroke, you must take them to the vet as soon as you can, as early intervention is critical.

Never use ice cubes to cool down a dog with heat stroke, as it can lead to shock, but always contact your vet right away.

Is It Safe To Give My Dog Ice Cubes?

Ice cubes can be a safe, low-calorie, and cooling snack for your dog on a hot summer’s day. They can even be great for puppies when they are teething to soothe their sore gums. You can pop a few in your dog’s water bowl to keep it cold or give them one to chew on. But there are a few risks you need to be conscious of.

Ice cubes can be a choking hazard if they’re too big for your dog, and they can risk damaging your dog’s teeth because they are so hard. Taking them out of the freezer 5 minutes before using them or blending them into a smoothie can reduce these risks.

Can Ice Cubes Damage My Dog’s Teeth?

Chewing on anything really hard risks damaging your dog’s teeth by wearing them down or breaking a tooth. Ice cubes, by nature, are pretty solid, but there are a few things you can do to make them safer for your dog’s teeth:

  • Take the ice cubes out of the freezer 5 minutes before giving them to your dog
  • Use small molds to make them easier for your dogs to chew up
  • Blend the ice up into a slushie, especially if your dog has any dental disease

Can Dogs Choke On Ice Cubes?

Ice cubes, even though they melt, can be a choking hazard to dogs, especially smaller breeds. It’s important to always make sure ice cubes are a suitable size for your dog, so the smaller they are, the smaller the ice cubes should be. Small dogs might not like chewing on ice cubes as much as larger dogs do anyway, but you can always blend them up into a slushie to make it easier. Always supervise your dog when they chew on anything hard.

Can Eating Ice Cubes Cause Bloat?

Many dog owners worry that ice cubes could increase the risk of their dog developing bloat. Bloat or a GDV (gastric dilation volvulus) is a dangerous and potentially fatal condition that is caused by the stomach filling up and getting twisted.

Several factors are known to increase the risk of bloat:

  • Eating too fast
  • Eating large amounts of food very fast
  • Eating immediately before or after exercise
  • Deep-chested breeds are more at risk

Eating ice cubes is not known to increase the risk of bloat. However, if a dog is very hot, they may gulp down a lot of water, or you could be tempted to give them several ice cubes. Gulping lots of water could potentially cause bloat, so you should try to prevent this where possible – give water a little at a time, give ice cubes one at a time, and always avoid it just before or after exercise.

If your dog has any symptoms of bloat, they need to see a vet immediately. Symptoms consist of:

  • Bloated abdomen
  • Unsettled behavior
  • Excessive panting
  • Unproductive retching
  • Painful abdomen
  • Difficulties breathing

How Can I Give Ice Cubes to My Dog?

The best way to use ice cubes to cool your dog down on a hot day is by putting a few cubes in their water bowl to keep it cold and fresh. But some dogs prefer to have ice cubes to chew on. Always make sure you use a mold that creates cubes sized appropriately for your dog, and don’t give them too many at once.

Video Of Dog Eating Ice Cubes

Some of our Canine Journal pets love eating ice. Here’s a video of Georgie chasing and chewing his cubes.

Alternatives To Ice Cubes:

If your dog doesn’t like plain ice cubes, or you want to make them more interesting for your pet, there are plenty of ways you can do this. You can also cool your dog down on a hot day without needing to use ice.

  • Make an ice lick using frozen meat stock (it must be low or no salt, as too much salt can be dangerous for dogs).
  • Dog water bottles are perfect for on-the-go, daily walks, traveling, and sometimes, to help control the mess.
  • Frozen fruit or vegetables such as carrots and apples can make a tasty, healthy, and cooling summer treat.
  • Wet a towel with cold water and use it to cover your dog, or they might like to lie on it.
  • Use a spray bottle of cold water to mist your dog throughout the day. Always test this first as some dogs might be startled but it. But this can help you cool your dog down slowly and prevent overheating.
  • You could make a cold smoothie by blending up ice cubes with some fruit or vegetables. This can be great for dogs with dental problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are ice cubes safe for dogs?

Yes, ice cubes are a safe and low calory way of cooling your dog down, but they should be given safely. So make sure they aren’t too big, slightly softened from coming out of the freezer five minutes before using, or blended into a smoothie.

Can feeding my dog ice cubes cause bloat?

There is no known risk of bloat from feeding dogs ice cubes. However, large intakes of water could increase the risk of bloat, so you should always encourage your dog to drink smaller amounts and don’t give them too many ice cubes at once

Will chewing on ice cubes damage my dog’s teeth?

Ice is hard, so there is a small risk it could damage your dog’s teeth. Constantly chewing on hard things can wear down dogs’ teeth, damage the enamel, or even break a tooth. Take ice cubes out of the freezer five minutes before giving them to your dog so they melt a little. Blend them into a smoothie, or use a very small mold to decrease the risk.

Other Treats To Chew On And Ways To Stay Cool

Check out these dog water bottles designed specifically for pups with a dispenser attached. A tasty alternative to ice might be making frozen dog treats, and we have several recipes you can try at home.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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