Popsicles are a delicious treat when it's hot outside. While you love these sugary, cold desserts, you aren't sure whether or not you can give your dog his own. Will a popsicle hurt his stomach? Could it potentially cause other health problems?
Before feeding your pup a popsicle, it's important to learn about these treats and if your dog can handle them.
Where do popsicles come from?
Popsicles have been around since ancient times. Roman slaves were sent to the mountains to collect blocks of ice that were then crushed and served with different spice and fruit syrups. Marco Polo ate ices and sorbets when he went to the Chinese court of Kublai Khan, and President Thomas Jefferson gave them out to his guests.
In 1905, an 11-year-old boy named Frank Epperson left a glass filled with water and powdered soda mix with a wooden spoon in it outside one night. In the morning, he saw that it came out as a pop. He called them "Eppsicles" but his children called them "Pop's 'sicles," so he stuck with popsicles. Popsicles became a favorite summertime treat, and the rest is history.
Can dogs eat popsicles?
Dogs should not eat popsicles that are made for humans. If you do feed your dog a popsicle, it should be a brand that is specifically formulated for dogs, since it won't contain any harmful ingredients. Additionally, you can make your own popsicles at home with limited ingredients and only natural sugars from fruit.
What are the concerns with feeding popsicles to dogs?
There are a few reasons why you should not feed your dog popsicles, including the following.
They may contain Xylitol
Some popsicles could be made out of Xylitol, which is very toxic and could be deadly for your dog. This sugar-alcohol that is used to make foods sweeter can cause liver damage as well as hypoglycemia. Just a little bit of Xylitol could trigger hypoglycemia, especially if you have a small dog.
They may contain sugar
Popsicles typically contain some kind of sugar. While sugar is not inherently toxic to dogs, if your dog eats too much sugar, it could lead to an imbalance of bacteria in his gut as well as a stomachache. He could vomit, have diarrhea, and feel overall discomfort, and you might need to take him to the veterinarian if it seems serious. If your dog regularly eats sugar, he could gain weight, potentially develop diabetes, or have issues with his teeth.
They could be made of chocolate
Some popsicles are made out of chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to dogs because of the theobromine it contains, and can cause muscle tremors, seizures, stomach issues, and heart rate abnormalities. In severe cases, it could cause death as well.
The popsicle stick might cause problems
The popsicle itself could prove to be a health hazard. There's a chance that it could become lodged in his mouth and lead to intestinal harm or severe splintering.
Popsicles are not good for your pup for a variety of reasons. Though you may enjoy them, it's best to keep them away from your dog. If he's panting and needs to cool down, you could always give him cold water and healthy, safe treats like frozen banana chunks, strawberries, blueberries, and green beans. You could also blend together pureed cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew, fill ice cube trays with it and then feed the frozen treats to your pup. He is sure to enjoy them and they won't cause any health issues.
For more information on "people food" that is safe for your dog, check out our comprehensive list of everything your dog can and cannot eat.