During this recent summer heatwave, many dog owners, including me, have been quite alarmed by recent news articles that have been doing the rounds on the internet, warning pet owners NEVER to give their dogs ice cubes in their drinking water, as this could result in death or serious health issues. Of course, we all know how much our dogs love digging in and eating snow in the wintertime, so how can freezing cold, icy water during the summer have a detrimental and damaging effect?
Water is a necessity during the summer to keep our dogs hydrated, and ice cubes added to a dog’s water, while safe in the majority of cases, may, of course, cause potential harm too. Cold treats are a refreshing snack for your pet to beat this summer heat, but there are a few pitfalls to be aware of. Here are some precautions and risks to be aware of before giving your dog ice cubes to chomp on.
Will Ice Cubes break your dog’s teeth?
We all know how refreshing it can be to suck on an ice cube, but the harder and larger ice cubes can break your dog’s teeth while also wearing away his tooth enamel if allowed to chew on them frequently. Try, instead, to give smaller pieces of ice or shavings in moderation to prevent these problems. Be cautious if your pet has severe dental disease or lost teeth.
Will your dog choke on ice cubes?
While it’s not very probable that your pet will choke on a large ice cube, there is a chance that a huge cube could block his airway and lodge there before it melts sufficiently. Frozen ice also has a habit of sticking to your pet’s tongue, so giving your dog crushed ice, shavings, or smaller ice cubes will prevent this issue. Of course, if your dog has problems swallowing, a disease of the upper airways, or a neurological illness, speak to your Vet before giving your dog any ice cubes.
Will ice give your Dog Bloat?
Many large breeds, deep-chested dogs commonly suffer from Bloat. Drinking too much water, while it will not cause Bloat, can contribute to the serious and life-limiting condition that causes the dog’s stomach to twist, especially if he has trapped air. If you add ice to his drinking water, you need to consider that he could ingest very large amounts of water rapidly while gulping air, placing him at a higher risk of increasing Bloat. If your dog seems very thirsty, give him frequent, smaller slips of water rather than ice cubes, which should help prevent him from gulping it down.
Can you treat a dog suffering from heatstroke with ice cubes?
If your dog appears to be overheated, it’s better to cool him down slowly, using cool water, not ice cubes. Never place him in an ice-filled bath, thinking you will cool him quickly. Initially, you need to begin an active process to cool him, wetting his back and underside with water at room temperature but avoiding his head, and then quickly take him to the Vet’s surgery.
Can you give your dog frozen treats?
The answer is yes! Just as we humans enjoy a variety of senses and tastes, so do our pets. Try freezing different food items, fruit and vegetables, such as green beans, sweet potatoes and bananas, for a cooling pet snack. Beef and chicken stock can be frozen into containers your dog will lick and enjoy the meaty taste. Organic baby food also makes good frozen treats for your pet, or place a twist on his snack and give him his favourite Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or yoghurt, then put it in the freezer till hard. He needs to eat this treat outside, or it can be messy as the food melts.
The Bottom Line
Giving your dog ice cubes on a hot, sunny day won’t cause any problems and will ensure they stay hydrated. Many rumours surrounding this are exaggerated, but with choking a remote possibility, and assuming that they are not suffering from heatstroke or sunstroke, monitoring them to check how much is consumed to prevent guzzling, giving crushed or small ice cubes should be perfectly safe for your dog this summer.
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