With the summer months upon us, many dog owners want to give their dogs a treat to cool them off.
Today we will answer the lifelong question of “Can my dog eat ice cream?”. Keep reading to learn if ice cream is actually safe for your dog!
Ice Cream and Dog Basics
First thing is first, is it safe to feed your dog ice cream? According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs should not eat ice cream because their bodies are not meant to digest milk after they are taken off of their mother.
Another reason that the AKC states as to why you should not feed your pup ice cream are that it can cause a variety of digestive issues including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or even be vomiting.
Yet another reason not to feed your dog ice cream, if you were not already convinced, according to the AKC, is that it can cause your beloved furry friend to gain weight.
You do not want your four-legged friend to be uncomfortable because of their weight gain.
Just like humans, if your dog is overweight, they can be at risk for diabetes. If your dog is at risk for diabetes or has already been diagnosed, ice cream is an extra bad idea for a treat, no matter the amount.
How Does Lactose Intolerance work in Dogs?
We know that humans can be lactose intolerant, but can dogs? The answer is a definite YES.
This is another reason why ice cream can be a dangerous reward for your dog.
A few common symptoms in dogs include gas, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, and an upset stomach according to Ultimate Home Life.
If you suspect your dog is lactose intolerant, be sure to stay away from ice cream and other dairy products.
Does the Flavor of the Ice Cream Matter?
According to the AKC, chocolate ice cream, in particular, can be problematic for dogs. This is because their bodies cannot digest theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate like human bodies can.
You should also avoid any flavors that include raisins as they can be incredibly harmful to your pup.
Vanilla ice cream is probably your safest flavor option if you are going to give ice cream to your pet.
Rover recommends staying away from ice cream completely because your pup could be lactose intolerant and ice cream contains a lot of sugar.
Rover also notes that sugar-free ice cream is not a better option for your pup.
This is because the artificial flavoring to replace the sugar can actually be worse for your pup than the sugar itself!
Xylitol, an artificial sweetener sometimes used in ice cream products, can actually be deadly to dogs according to Ultimate Home Life. Giving your dog a cool treat is not worth risking their life!
Does Age Matter when Giving your Pup Ice Cream?
We mentioned earlier that dogs do not process lactose after they are done nursing. So does this mean that puppies can handle ice cream? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no.
Puppies are not old enough to have any kind of ice cream (even the alternatives that we mention below) until they can handle a dog treat.
According to the blog Cuteness, puppies do not start to eat solid food for ten months or even two years of age.
You shouldn’t give your pup the alternative ice cream mentioned below until after this age.
Help! My Dog Ate Ice Cream
If your dog ate ice cream and you notice that he or she is not feeling well afterward, you can use a few at-home remedies to help with your pooch’s upset stomach.
If you think that your dog is in a serious amount of pain, it is always best to give your veterinarian a call to make sure that nothing else is wrong.
You can actually use some over the counter medicines to help your pup get over its upset stomach. According to Animal Sense, you can use Immodium and Pepto Bismol for most dog breeds except collies. Remember to do your research before treating your dog.
If the dog just ate a small amount of ice cream, they may just need time to let it work its way through their system.
You may need to rearrange your plans so you can keep an eye on your dog and make sure that he/she is able to go outside frequently for bathroom breaks.
Fun and Delicious Ice Cream Alternatives
Since your pup should not have traditional ice cream, your best bet is to make a pup-friendly alternative to ice cream. We will share a few recipes to get you started.
Store-Bought Doggy Ice Cream
If you are taking a trip to the grocery store and want to pick your pup up a trip, you may find special ice cream for dogs in the ice cream aisle of your local grocery store.
According to the blog Cuteness, the ice cream that you purchase especially for dogs is made with yogurt which is easier for pups to digest.
Remember that you should not give a young pup ice cream if they are not eating solid treats yet!
It can be cost-effective to make your own “ice cream for your dog. The first DIY recipe is how to make strawberry flavored “ice cream” that is safe for your pup to enjoy.
Strawberry Pup Ice Cream
To make this DIY recipe, you will need fresh strawberries and a low fat/nonfat plain flavored yogurt according to The Dogington Post.
Simply mash the strawberries and mix them into the yogurt. Next, you will freeze your mixture overnight. The next day you can let your pup indulge in “ice cream” that will not hurt their bellies.
Banana Peanut Butter Pup Ice Cream
Another great DIY recipe from The Dogington Post is titled Ice Cream Cloud Nine. This ice cream recipe is safe for your pup and consists of a banana, peanut butter, natural plain yogurt, and honey to sweeten it up.
Using honey as a sweetener is much better for your pup than the sugar found in real ice cream. You can mix your ingredients together and freeze them overnight.
As with all of the recipes in this post, you could store your mixture in a regular container and scoop it out like traditional ice cream or you could freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray and simply pop out a cube when you want to treat your pup.
Another great idea for a container to freeze your ice cream treats in a silicone cupcake pan. The silicone is great because it is flexible even after the ice cream treats are frozen.
This way you can pop the treat out when you are ready to give it to your dog without having to dig it out.
Pumpkin Pup Ice Cream
Who says pumpkin flavored ice cream is just for the Fall? You can whip your favorite pup up a batch of pumpkin flavored ice cream in no time with three simple ingredients according to First Love Home Life’s blog.
These ingredients include canned pumpkin, no sugar added peanut butter, and plain greek yogurt.
Once you mix these ingredients together, pop them in the freezer to set up. One note with this recipe is to make sure you are purchasing a canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling! If you’re craving pumpkin, you can indulge in this treat with your pup.
B-A-N-A-N-A Pup Ice Cream
This recipe is the easiest on the list because it just calls for one ingredient, which is bananas! According to Sugar The Golden Retriever’s blog, you will just need to peel a few ripe bananas and stick them in the freezer.
When you are ready to reward your pup, pull out your bananas and toss them into a food processor or blender.
Mix until you have an ice-cream like consistency and throw the mixture in a bowl for your pet to enjoy! This is a great option if your pet is allergic to a lot of foods (except for bananas of course).
If you are in a banana mood, you can enjoy this healthy dessert with your pet too!
Dinner for Dessert
Your pup may be confused at first when they taste this delicious treat because it consists of meat and is frozen! According to Offbeat Home and Life, you can make this treat by combining a type of meat, poultry, or fish, with fat-free yogurt, a cooked carrot, a small handful of parsley, and some olive oil.
Once you have created your mixture, pour it into ice cube trays and let freeze. Once frozen, your pup can have a delicious dinner for dessert treat at any time of the day!
Tropical Pup Ice Cream
If you want your pup to feel like they are on a vacation at their own home, this is the perfect treat to make them. Doggy Dessert Chef recommends mixing crushed pineapple, banana, and coconut oil together.
Set this mixture aside and line the bottom of your molds with the dried fruit. The Doggy Dessert Chef poured the mixture into bone shape molds and froze them. These treats look like they came from a bakery with all of the colors of the fruit!
Your dog will feel like they are on a tropical vacation when they get a lick of these delectable treats.
Ice Pops for Pups
If you are really short on ingredients and do not have yogurt in the house, you can make your pup an ice pop which is the next best thing when ice cream is not available!
All you will need is some dog-safe fruit like strawberries and blueberries and a mold like you have used for the other treats in this post. Place a handful of berries in each mold and fill to the top with water!
Stick in the freezer until your ice pops are completely frozen. It is really that easy to create a fun treat that your pup will love. It will also help them to cool off on a hot summer day!
You can take any dog-friendly ice cream recipes mentioned above and make them into a pupsicle by sticking your dog’s favorite dog bone down in the mixture before you freeze it.
When you are ready to pop a treat out, your dog will have their very own doggie popsicle or “pupsicle” to enjoy!
If you want your pup to have a true ice cream sundae, The Dogington Post recommends a few toppings that are safe for your pup to eat.
These toppings include applesauce, honey, bits of bacon, rice crispies, or toasted sesame seeds. If you include these toppings on your pups ice cream their tail may ever stop wagging!
A Few Words of Advice with Pup Ice Cream . . .
Your pup may go crazy for the DIY pup ice cream that you create for them. Be sure that you only give them a little bit at a time.
Even though the ice cream that you make from the recipes listed above is safe for them, too much of anything can lead to trouble!
Also, you may want to allow your pup to indulge in their DIY ice cream treats outside, especially if your home has lots of carpets. This is the best way to avoid spills or accidental drooling and to keep everyone’s tail a wagging!
Lastly, never force your pup to have a treat! Some dogs won’t like all the ingredients used in the recipes above, and that is OK! Use trial and error to find out what your pup likes best.
We hope that you found this post informational and are inspired to create a DIY ice cream treat for your pup to cool off with on hot summer days.