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 to NEVER give our 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 to take, 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 have a chance of breaking 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 has already lost teeth.
Will your dog choke on ice cubes?
While it’s not very probable that your pet will actually choke on a large ice cube, there is a chance that a very large 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 as before, giving your dog crushed ice, shavings or smaller cubes of ice 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 cubes of ice.
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 very serious and life-limiting condition which 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 too, placing him at a higher risk of increasing bloat. If your dog seems to be very thirsty, give him frequently, smaller slips of water, rather than ice cubes, which should help to prevent him gulping it down.
Can you treat a dog suffering from heatstroke with ice cubes?
If your dog appears to be overheated, it’s a better option to cool him down slowly, using cool water, and 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, absolutely! 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 potato and bananas for a cooling pet snack. Beef and chicken stock can be frozen into containers that 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 place in the freezer till hard. He needs to eat this treat outside, or it can be quite messy as the food stuff melts.
The Bottom Line
Giving your dog ice cubes on a hot, sunny day, in general won’t cause any problems and will make sure 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 sun stroke, 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.