There has been a lot of information circulating around the Internet lately about dogs and ice cubes. You’ve probably seen some blog posts or memes in your social media feed that state ice cubes are bad for dogs. Supposedly, ice cubes can cause canine bloat. Of course, this information has made many a pet parent paranoid. After all, who hasn’t filled up their dog bowl with water and ice cubes on a hot day, or let their pup pick up a stray cube that has fallen on the floor? But is it true?
Whether you’re the parent of a Labrador retriever, a German shepherd, a Dachshund, a Poodle, a Beagle, or any other breed, if you’ve seen any of the information out there that warns you to never offer your furry friend ice cubes, you’re might be in a state of panic. Don’t worry! That information that you have read about ice cubes and bloat – as with so much of the stuff that goes around the World Wide Web – is false. You’ve probably given your pooch ice cubes plenty of times (or he’s lapped up chunks of ice from a semi-frozen water bucket on a cold winter’s day himself) without any issue, right? Don’t let this misinformation scare you into thinking that your pet narrowly escaped death every time he chomped on some ice!
Below, we’ll dissect this inaccurate information about ice cubes and dogs. You’ll find out how ice cubes do not cause bloat; however, we’ll also shed some light on times when frosty treats aren’t a good idea. Additionally, we’ll share some tips that you can use to ensure your furry friend is safely enjoying ice, as well as other ways that you can cool him down.
Myth: Ice Cubes are Bad for Dogs
As mentioned, the viral news going around the interwebs says that ice cubes are extremely dangerous for dogs. Supposedly, someone reported that there was a case of a canine requiring life-saving surgery after he developed bloat after he consumed a few ice cubes. The report stated that the vet determined that the cause of the bloat was directly related to the ice cubes.
Just like you, we were intrigued by the post – and puzzled by it, too. We’ve offered dogs’ ice cubes countless times, and there was definitely no issue with bloat. So, we spoke to a few trusted veterinarians ourselves to find out the truth about dogs and ice cubes. We learned that, if the story that has been circulating is true, the ice cubes weren’t the cause of the canine’s bloat; the water and how much he consumed were likely the culprits.
What is Bloat?
Bloat, technically referred to as gastric dilation volvulus, is a very serious medical condition. It happens when a canine’s stomach fills up with gas, and that gas rotates inside the stomach, which then traps the gas inside. Since the stomach is twisted, there’s no way for the gas to escape, and as a result, the blood supply to the stomach and other vital organs can end up being cut off. Bloat comes on quickly and if left untreated, it can become life-threatening.
Causes of Bloat and How to Avoid It
Many studies have been conducted to determine the cause of bloat. It’s been determined that genetics, activity, diet, exercise, and lifestyle are all factors that may be linked to bloat. For example, offering your pup a large quantity of food or water right after he’s had a rigorous play session with his interactive dog toys, puzzle toys for dogs, or automatic fetch machines; or, immediately after you’ve been using a dog whistle and working on commands from your dog training book is never a good idea. An overheated dog is more likely to lap up his food or water quickly, and in the process, gulp in large amounts of air, which could potentially cause the air to get trapped inside his stomach, leading to bloat. This is especially true for large breed dogs that have deep chests, such as Great Danes, Irish Setters, Saint Bernards, Afghan Hounds, and Basset Hounds. Why? – Because their size and the deepness of their chest offers enough room for the stomach to twist around. While smaller breeds aren’t as prone to this condition, they can still be affected, too, so it’s a wise idea to make sure you keep tabs on your pooch and use care when offering him anything that he can ingest, including dog food, a dog treat, a bowl of plain water, water filled with ice cubes or even bully sticks for dogs.
Other factors that can contribute to bloat include:
- Offering your dog only one meal a day, as there’s an increased chance that he’ll consume it faster, and thus ingest more air while he’s swallowing. Using an automatic dog feeder can help to prevent bloat, as he’ll have access to food throughout the day, which could decrease the risk of bloat.
- Fast eating, as he might take in more air as he swallows. If your pup tends to eat quickly, try a slow feeder bowl or a puzzle dog bowl to prevent him from ingesting his food to fast.
- Adding water to dry dog food. The softer the food is, the faster your pup will eat, which could potentially increase the amount of air he ingest.
- Not offering water before or after eating. Your dog should always have access to fresh water.
Clearly, there are several ways that dogs can develop bloat; however, ice isn’t a known culprit.
Are There any Dangers Associated with Ice?
While we’ve cleared up the false report about ice and bloat, you might be wondering if there is any way that ice can be dangerous for your four-legged family member. The truth is, just like anything else, there is a chance that ice could cause harm; however, the risks are pretty slight. For example, if your pup is a fast eater or he chews aggressively, he might chip or break a tooth on an ice cube. He could also swallow the entire cube hole; however, it’s likely that the ice will melt or he’ll cough it up before he chokes on it.
There is one time that you should never give your pup ice cubes, and that’s if you suspect that he is suffering from heatstroke or he is severely overheated. In these situations, your pooch needs to be cooled down slowly to prevent the constriction of his blood vessels. Offering him ice could cool him down to quickly, which could actually elevate his temperature even more.
If you believe your pet is dangerously hot, moisten towels with cold water and wrap them around him and place him in a cool location, such as in front of a fan or near an air conditioner. Cooling pads for dogs and cooling vests for dogs are also helpful tools. If his condition doesn’t improve, seek immediate medical attention.
Signs of heat stroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Heavy breathing
- Hot skin
- Dry noise
- Thick saliva
Wrapping it Up
There’s no harm in offering your pooch ice cubes, as it has been concluded that they do not cause bloat. Just use common sense and keep your eye on your pet when you do offer him ice cubes to avoid the small risk of any possible issues that may arise.
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