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Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? | Is Ice Cream Bad for Dogs?

can dogs eat ice cream

There’s nothing like ice cream on a hot summer day.  Or if you’re like me, there’s nothing like ice cream 365 days a year, regardless of weather!  It would be great to share this yummy treat with our dogs, but can dogs eat ice cream?  There are some ice cream parlors and restaurants that offer “pup cups” and I’m sure you’ve seen cute videos of pups eating ice cream online.  However, before you give your dog a scoop, let’s find out: is ice cream bad for dogs?

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Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? (The Short Answer)

In general, the short answer is that dogs shouldn’t consume ice cream.  There are a few reasons for this including lactose-intolerance, dangerous flavors, and high sugar levels.  If you do choose to let your dog have a sample, make sure it is only vanilla or a fruit flavor that is safe for dogs.  Also make sure there are no artificial sweeteners or other harmful ingredients that could be toxic to your dog.

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Ice Cream Good For Dogs?

Much like for humans, there is little to no nutritional value in ice cream for our pups.  Its only function is as a sweet treat.  While not recommended, if you do choose to share ice cream with your dog, remember that it should be a small treat and you should keep the quantity very minimal.

Is Ice Cream Bad For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat ice cream?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is ice cream bad for dogs?

While plain, vanilla ice cream is usually not toxic to our four-legged friencds by itself, it is still not advised to give it to your dog for a few reasons.  First and foremost is that an adult dog’s stomach is not designed to be able to digest lactose, a component of dairy products.  While most dogs are fine with small amounts of dairy products and may only experience mild gas, some dogs are severely intolerant which could result in bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Secondly, even if you’ve tried feeding your dog dairy products and know their reaction is minimal, ice cream is loaded with sugar and can contribute to weight gain and obesity.  High sugar levels can lead to your dog experiencing an upset stomach as well.  This doesn’t mean you should opt for sugar-free ice cream either.  Sugar-free varieties can have xylitol, a toxic artificial sweetener that can be fatal for dogs to consume.  Even other less-toxic varieties of artificial sweeteners aren’t great for dogs.

Finally, particular flavors and toppings in ice cream can be unhealthy or toxic to pups.  Flavors such as chocolate, coffee, green team, and macadamia nut, are just a few examples of dangerous ones that should definitely be avoided.

All in all, with many other cool treats and alternatives listed below, it’s likely not worth the risks of feeding your dog ice cream.

Ice Cream Alternatives for Dogs

To stay on the safe side, it’s recommended that you opt for one of these safer options for your dog instead of traditional ice cream.

Dog Friendly Ice Cream

Some grocery stores and pet stores carry specific pet-friendly ice cream that is safe, lactose free and overall healthier for dogs.  Remember that at the end of the day, it’s still a treat and should be fed in small quantities.

Can Dogs Eat Lactose-Free Ice Cream?

Lactose-free ice cream is generally safer for pups than traditional ice cream, but not by any means perfect or healthy.  Still make sure you check the full list of ingredients for any that could be potentially toxic.

Can Dogs Eat Frozen Yogurt?

Frozen yogurt contains less lactose and (sometimes) less sugar, making it a more dog-friendly option than traditional ice cream.  While not perfect, it tends to be better for your dogs.  Pay close attention to the nutrition facts for any added toxic ingredients and how much added sugar there is.

Homemade Frozen Treats:

This is your best bet and can be the most fun too!  Create your own frozen dog treats by freezing unsweetened yogurt.  Create different flavors by blending in dog-safe fruits like strawberries, bananas, applesauce, kiwi, or mangoes.

Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Is Vanilla Ice Cream Safe for Your Pup?

Vanilla ice cream is the safest flavor of ice cream for pups to consume.  However, due to high sugar content and the lactose that comes with consuming dairy products, it is still recommended to avoid giving your dog ice cream in general.

Is Chocolate Ice Cream Safe for Your Pup?

No, chocolate ice cream is not safe for our furry friends and contains toxic ingredients that need to be avoided.

Can Dogs Eat Strawberry Ice Cream?

While strawberries are safe for pups, that doesn’t necessarily mean strawberry ice cream is.  Double check all ingredients and watch out for lots of added sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Even if no toxic ingredients are contained, we still recommend not feeding your dog ice cream in general.

Can Dogs Have Ice Cream Cones?

No, ice cream cones are usually not safe for dogs.  Not only do they contain preservatives and additives that can be bad for dogs, but many of them contain xylitol which is a very toxic artificial sweetener that should be avoided at all costs.

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Can Dogs Eat Butter Pecan Ice Cream?

Not only is ice cream unhealthy for dogs, but pecans are dangerous as well.  Definitely stay away from feeding your dog this flavor of ice cream.

Can Dogs Eat Mango Ice Cream?

While mangoes are safe for dogs, that doesn’t necessarily mean mango ice cream is.  Double check all ingredients and watch out for lots of added sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Even if no toxic ingredients are contained, we still recommend not feeding your dog ice cream in general.

Can Dogs Eat Mint Ice Cream?

While mint isn’t toxic for dogs in small quantities, that doesn’t necessarily mean mint ice cream is safe.  Double check all ingredients and watch out for lots of added sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Especially with mint ice cream, it usually contains chocolate chips as well which are toxic for our four-legged friends.  Even if no toxic ingredients are contained, we still recommend not feeding your dog ice cream in general.

Can Dogs Eat Sherbet?

Sherbet is typically not any worse or better than traditional ice cream for dogs.  As we don’t recommend pups consume traditional ice cream, this recommendation applies to sherbet as well.

Can Dogs Have Ice Cream Sandwiches?

No, ice cream sandwiches are loaded with even more sugar and preservatives than ice cream by itself.  Xylitol is a common ingredient in sweet junk food (like licorice as well) and is very toxic for dogs.  Also, many “shells” of the sandwiches are made with chocolate, another toxic ingredient for dogs.

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

While your dog eating a scoop of vanilla ice cream is usually no cause for a vet trip, it’s not worth the risks and general unhealthiness in our opinion to feed it to your dog.  Stay away from most other flavors and always read the full list of ingredients and nutrition facts.  Even better, opt for making your own healthier frozen dogs treats at home!

If you dog does end up consuming ice cream with toxic ingredients, you should call your vet immediately.

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.