In the summer, or when you and your pup go out for a walk, he starts breathing heavy and panting. You give him cool water, but you think that it might not be enough. Perhaps if you fed him some ice cubes, that would help him cool down faster.
However, you're not sure if you can feed him ice cubes. Is eating ice bad for dogs? You've heard that it might not be the best thing and you don't want to accidentally hurt your pup.
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For more information, here's the real scoop on ice cubes and your dog.
Can dogs have ice cubes?
Yes, dogs can have ice cubes. There is a myth that ice water causes stomach spasms, bloating, and gastric dilatation-volvulus, but it's not true, according to Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. She said, "Dogs do not bloat from drinking ice water on hot days... They can be given as treats or put in the water bowl." Additionally, she said that some behaviorists recommend freezing treats or toys in ice so that dogs can chew on them.
How to feed ice cubes to your dog
If dog owners want to help their dogs cool off and keep their body temperature down, they can give them small ice cubes or crushed ice instead of large chunks of ice, which can lead to choking or dental damage like a chipped tooth. Small dogs especially need smaller cubes. You can feed them to your dog by hand or put them in your dog's ice bowl.
If your dog has had recent dental work, experiences frequent dental issues, or has sensitive teeth that you'll need to ask your veterinarian if it's OK to give your dog ice cubes in his water bowl or by hand.
Ensuring your dog cools off
After time in the sun or a long walk or run, your dog's body temperature might be higher than usual. You'll know your dog is too hot if he's excessively panting, he's very thirsty, he's vomiting, he's disoriented, stumbling, or weak, he's drooling a lot, and/or his gum color or tongue are dark red or bright.
Along with giving your dog ice cubes and ice water to encourage him to cool off, you can place him in a colder room indoors where there's a fan or air conditioner. You could also put wet and cool towels behind his hind legs and on his neck and in his armpits, wet his paws and ears with cool water. Another option is to fill up a bathtub with a few inches of cold water and then to let him stand in it. If he seems sick or goes unconscious, then you need to take him to the veterinarian immediately.
Avoiding overheating in your dog
You can make sure your dog doesn't overheat by not going out for too long on hot or humid days, giving your dog access to water when you're out, and never leaving him alone in the car when it's even slightly warm outside. Even if it's not too hot for you or you park in the shade, the car can become hot very quickly. You also shouldn't leave your dog outside for too long on warm days, even if he has access to water. It's best to bring him inside and/or install a doggy door so he can go inside whenever he wants.
It's perfectly fine to feed your dog ice cubes as long as he doesn't have any issues with his teeth, as they can cause dental damage. Make sure the ice cubes are small enough as well. If your dog is overheating in general, you can cool him down by wetting different parts of his body and taking him to a cold room. If he is sick, then you need to go to the veterinarian right away.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.