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Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

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We all love to share with our pets, and while we’re hard-wired to know better than to offer our best buddy certain foods (like chocolate, grapes, onion, or garlic), when it comes to ice-cream, we tend to look the other way. Particularly, if we’re at a drive-through and there’s no hiding it from him. I mean, what harm can a small, plain cone of ice cream do? Well, depending on your dog, it can do a fair bit.

For example:

  • A dog’s body isn’t designed to tolerate the lactose found in milk. Dogs weren’t nourished with cow’s milk as pups, which means they don’t produce the enzymes needed to break it down. If your friend were lactose-intolerant, you wouldn’t try to temp them with ice-cream, and it’s the same with your dog. He could easily end up with cramps, gas, diarrhea, and/or vomiting as a result of your indulging him. Distressing for him, and a messy clean-up for you.
  • Ditto with the fat content in ice-cream. Certain dog breeds (or mixes) can have a tough time processing the extra fat found in many human foods – including ice-cream. You’re setting him up for diarrhea, vomiting, and even a dangerous bout with pancreatitis. There are some breeds (mine included) that are prone to this dangerous ailment and because it is triggered by excess fats, symptoms can kick-in fairly quickly after ice-cream and require a visit to your veterinarian.
  • We all know that sugar is bad for dogs, yet for some reason we also all feel that we know how much is okay. Am I right? We’re thinking, it’s just a small serving. He’s just getting a little taste. But we’re wrong. Because we really have no idea at all, as to how much sugar is too much sugar. Truth is, your dog is better off without any processed sugar. It rots his teeth, causes him to gain weight, and just like humans, it can become addictive. That said, be extra cautious around any frozen human treat that claims to be “sugar-free” because Xylitol is absolutely deadly for dogs and even a trace amount served in an ice-cream cone will need a visit to the vet – pronto.
  • You’re creating a habit. If your dog becomes accustomed to getting the tail-end of your ice-cream treat, he will expect it. And you’ll start finding it harder and harder to refuse, knowing how much he loves it. We’re all human, we want our pets to be happy, but we need them to be healthy too. That’s why, if you absolutely can’t say “no” to your pooch, you need to come up with alternatives you know he’ll enjoy as much as ice-cream – and it’s not hard.

Related Article: Peanut Butter & Jam Frozen Mini Cups

Frozen Treat Tips and Recipes:

Try freezing mashed banana and peanut butter into tasty cubes. Or make him a frozen yogurt treat. It contains much less lactose than ice-cream, so is easy for him to digest, and if you buy the 0% fat, unsweetened style, you can jazz it up with your own healthy flavors for him.

Or check out some of PetGuide’s recipes for individually frozen goodies that are already portioned, ready for packing into your cooler, and tasty enough for you both to enjoy. Which means, the next time you hit the drive-through, your pooch won’t be clamoring to share an ice-cream cone, he’ll be looking for that healthy frozen treat that he saw you stash away before you left. Aren’t you just the clever one!


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