Many people find themselves mindlessly chewing on ice, and dogs enjoy the same. We know why humans might like ice cubes, but why do dogs like ice cubes?
Dogs like ice cubes for the same reason humans do: they are cool, crunchy, and refreshing. Dogs also enjoy playing with ice cubes because it’s novel and fun. But, unfortunately, ice cubes can chip a dog’s teeth. So crushed ice is safer and is an excellent zero-calorie treat, ideal for hot days.
It is okay to give dogs ice, especially to help keep them cool during the hot summer months. However, pet owners should be aware of some possible issues when dogs eat ice cubes.
Are Ice Cubes Safe for Dogs to Eat?
To answer this question, here is a qualified vet explaining if it is safe to give dogs ice cubes are treats. As a bonus, you also get to meet Benny, the gorgeous Golden Retriever:
NOTE – You may like to read this post about why dogs like dear antlers.
Should Dogs Eat Ice Cubes?
It is okay for most dogs to eat ice. However, dog owners should pay attention to the ice that their dogs eat. Ice cubes can damage dogs’ teeth and gums. So crushed ice is a safer option to give to your canine companion.
Overall, ice cubes are generally safe for dogs to consume, especially compared to other things they may find to munch on, such as random stuff they steal from the trash or your favorite pair of shoes!
Most dogs enjoy chewing or gnawing on toys or other objects. Dogs chew for various reasons, including dental health, improving jaw strength, and mental stimulation.
NOTE – You may also like to read this post looking at the question why do dogs like bones so much?
Use Caution When Giving Your Dog Ice Cubes
Dogs cannot judge what is good for them or what is good only in moderation. Eating ice can pose risks and some harm, including the possibility of broken teeth and the risk of choking.
1. Chewing Ice Cubes is a Common Cause of Broken Teeth in Dogs
Broken teeth, teeth fractures, or gum tears will require a trip to the veterinarian. Tooth fractures are more common with larger and harder pieces of ice. Shaved or crushed ice or smaller ice cubes are the best options to prevent tooth breakage.
Fractured teeth must be treated immediately. There are two types of canine teeth fractures: complicated crown fractures and uncomplicated crown fractures. In the most severe cases, root canals or surgical extractions may be needed.
If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this website has useful resources for charities to help you pay your bills. (If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country).
2. Choking on Ice
Just as ice shavings or smaller ice cubes can help prevent broken teeth, they can also reduce your dog’s chances of choking. This is because large pieces of ice can lodge in your dog’s throat in rare circumstances, blocking the airway.
It is also vital that you be mindful of any medical problems your dog has. Dogs with some conditions make it difficult to chew and or swallow. Some conditions that may cause issues with choking are:
- Dental disease
- Neurological disease
- Severe upper airway disease
If your dog has any of these conditions, you should check with your very before giving them ice as a treat.
NOTE – If your dog always wants to eat, you might find this post about why dogs are always hungry useful to read.
3. Tooth Sensitivity
Dogs’ teeth may be sensitive to cold, just like humans’ teeth are. This is especially true as your dog ages. Older dogs’ teeth are not as strong as younger dogs’ teeth, and older dogs are more prone to dental damage in general.
Eating ice cubes may not be a pleasant experience if your dog has tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is actually a tooth enamel disorder in dogs. Diagnosing and treating this disorder can be a long process. Fortunately, dogs can overcome tooth enamel disorder.
Here are some signs to look for that may indicate a tooth enamel disorder:
- Discolored teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing
- Weight loss
- Plaque buildup
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
If you think your dog might have sensitive teeth, avoid giving them ice cubes until you have consulted your vet.
Giving Dogs Ice Cubes
If you choose to give your dog ice cubes, follow these tips to keep your pup in the best condition.
- Never give ice cubes to dogs during cold weather conditions.
- Do not give excessive amounts of ice.
- Do not substitute ice for water.
- Be aware of where the ice comes from (i.e., no contamination with toxins or chemicals).
1. Using Ice for Overheating
When temperatures soar, and dogs have been exposed to high temperatures for extended periods, it may be tempting to give your dog ice to quickly cool down the body temperature. However, this is entirely the opposite of the action you should take.
If overheating is suspected, it is best to cool down slowly. You can place a wet towel on the dog to help them cool down. Hydration is extremely important. You should give your dog water, and if you choose, you can add an ice cube or two to the water bowl.
2. Giving Dogs Ice for Recovery
Sometimes, dogs get sick or need an operation. In these cases, your dog may benefit from some bit of ice.
In the case of a fever, licking ice can help lower a dog’s temperature. In the case of an operation, your dog may not want water, and sometimes, the medications used can cause nausea and vomiting.
Giving your dog ice can help them stay hydrated when they may otherwise be uninterested in drinking.
3. Giving Puppies Ice for Teething
Teething is rarely enjoyable for a puppy or puppy owner. Some experts advise against giving your puppy too many dog toys at once, but only offering one at a time. Still, your teething puppy, which is only looking for some relief, will likely go through many toys during this transitional time.
Teething puppies will likely appreciate hard rubber toys, and some of these toys can be filled with dog treats or peanut butter. Another zero-calorie option is ice. The cold treat will help soothe the aches your puppy is feeling in their gums.
4. Ice Cubes for Play and Entertainment
To give your dog a challenge and something to occupy their time, you can freeze a treat inside the ice. This will entertain your dog for some time, and your dog will be happy to get their special treat.
Final Notes About Dogs That Like Ice Cubes
Dogs like eating ice, and, for the most part, they can do so safely. However, it should only be allowed in moderation. Monitoring the size and source of the ice is the best way to keep your pet safe while allowing them to stay cool and self-entertain.