Behind the Myth That Ice Cubes Are Bad for Dogs

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

May 11 2023, Published 1:41 p.m. ET

A dog licking ice cubes.
Source: iStock

We've all done it: an ice cube has dropped on the floor, and instead of bothering to clean it up, we kick it over to the dog, and let them lick it up. Since an ice cube is merely made from frozen water, it doesn't appear to contain anything that would be harmful to dogs, and it seems like an easy way to cool them down, while keeping them entertained.

However, there has been a longstanding rumor that ice cubes are bad for dogs.

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But is this rumor true, or is it simply a myth? We're doing a deep dive into the rumor to find out about how and why ice cubes might be harmful to dogs, because let's be real: we never want to put our fur babies in harm's way.

A dog resting his head in a bowl of ice cubes.
Source: iStock
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Are ice cubes bad for dogs?

Ice cubes are rumored to be bad for dogs, per American Kennel Club, because of a reported case in which a dog ate ice cubes, and later, experienced "bloat," which is a life-threatening condition that dogs suffer from after ingesting too much water, or something they shouldn't have. The dog required surgery, and the vet deemed ice cubes to be the cause of the condition.

However, if that was the reason why the dog experienced bloat, it doesn't seem like it happens often.

In fact, it seems as though ice cubes can be good for dogs — even to prevent certain health conditions such as bloat. Oftentimes, dogs experience bloat after drinking too much water. But replacing ice cubes with water can slow down their water intake, especially if the dog is prone to chugging water (as many dogs are, if it's hot, or if they are rescue dogs who haven't always had access to water!). Clearly, I am speaking from experience as my rescue dog is a little too obsessed with water.

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Ice cubes can also cool your dog down, especially as many dogs are prone to experiencing heat stroke. Sometimes large dogs can experience heat stroke in as little as 70 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Fetch, depending on their size. That said, feeding a large dog ice cubes — or at least putting them in their water bowl — when it's hot outside will cool them down more quickly.

So bottom line: maybe don't overfeed them ice cubes, but there are many benefits to giving them a few every so often.

Ice cubes in a dog's water bowl.
Source: iStock
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You can also make your dog a homemade frozen treat.

In addition to ice cubes, there are also many ways to make dog-friendly frozen treats, for a little added taste, and sometimes even nutritional benefits.

Frozen pumpkin is a really easy way to keep your dog entertained, and they're bound to love the taste. Plus, pumpkin has many health benefits for dogs — it can settle their stomachs, reduce anal gland issues, and reduce constipation. So you're kind of killing a few birds with one stone.

Food With Feeling also has a great DIY dog ice cream recipe: all you need to do is blend frozen banana, plain yogurt, and peanut butter for a tasty and healthy treat. The protein and other vitamins will keep them healthy, too. TBH, it sounds good enough for both of us to eat.

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