July is a National Ice Cream Month, so is there a better way to celebrate it than having tasty cold ice cream in the middle of a long hot summer day? Guess not. The chances are great that with every scoop or bite you take, large puppy eyes are begging you for just an itsy bitsy bite as well.
That is when the question arises - can dogs eat ice cream?
Can ice cream be an occasional and harmless treat for dogs, or it will cause some serious complications? There is still no clear-cut answer to this question since it mainly depends on the ingredients it consists of. To solve this dilemma once and for all, keep reading this post till the end.
Last Updated: February 3rd 2023
When Is Ice Cream A Potential Risk For Your Dog?
First thing first serving ice cream to your dog is not recommended at all. Ice cream is not a healthy snack for dogs considering it is made from ingredients like cream, milk, sugar, artificial sweeteners like xylitol, chocolate, coffee, etc.
Grown up dogs do not have a stomach that can manage lactose (only puppies do) so they won’t be able to digest it. This means your dog will be bloated, gassy. In more severe cases, vomiting and diarrhea will occur as well. The dairy products are the second most allergenic food type for dogs just behind the beef.
Also, high sugar levels are not good for your dog, especially if you tend to consume ice creams with artificial sweeteners such as xylitol. Remember, xylitol is toxic to dogs! So it is never a good idea to share ice cream with artificial sweeteners with your pup.
Flavors like chocolate, coffee, nuts, grapes, and raisins are all very harmful for your dog, so they should be avoided. For example, theobromine, one of the main components of chocolate, is highly toxic for dogs!
How To Safely Share An Ice Cream With Your Pup?
So it is official the ice cream is not a dog-friendly food. But, don’t write it off just so easily. Sharing a cone with your pup from time to time is acceptable. Of course, there are also few other ice cream alternatives you can serve to your dog, but I will talk about that a bit later.
In case you decided to surprise your dog with a small scoop of this heavenly dessert, make sure you choose fruit-flavored or plain vanilla ice cream since they are a “safe bet” for your dog’s stomach. Just like when you introduce any new type of food in their diet, make sure you start with small amounts to see how their bellies will react. You will be able to see how your pup reacts to this food within a few hours.
Ice Cream Alternatives To Serve To Your Dog Instead
Luckily, there are so many tasty frozen alternatives for ice cream that both you and your dog can enjoy together without potential risk for your pup’s health.
The first go-to alternative is frozen yogurt. Yogurt contains less lactose than milk since it is fermented, so your dog will digest it easier than regular milk-based ice cream. Of course, do not feed your dog with commercial frozen yogurt since they are all loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Homemade frozen yogurt is so straightforward to make, and honestly, it is also a way healthier choice for you too. All you have to do is buy unsweetened plain yogurt and enhance the flavor as you desire. Puree some fruit like strawberries and some peanut butter, and that’s all. You can also add some other dog-friendly ingredients such as oats, apples, blueberries, coconut oil, bananas, etc.
Here’s a quick strawberry frozen yogurt pupsicle recipe
- Handful of strawberries
- 4 cups of unsweetened low-fat plain yogurt
- 4 tsp. unsweetened peanut butter
- ½ tsp. coconut oil
Mix all ingredients in a blender and pour the mixture in the ice cream molds. Freeze it for approximately 4 hours. Remove them from the freezer and allow them to warm up a bit since doggo can get brain freezes too! In case you use regular plastic sticks for ice cream, make sure you are watching over your furry friend to prevent any choking hazard. You can always use any dog treat as the substitution for a popsicle “stick”.
Or if your dog does not tolerate yogurt as well, you can always use coconut milk, unsweetened, of course.
Here’s a super simple recipe for dog-friendly ice cream
- 32 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
- ½ cup of fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup of raw honey
Mix all ingredients in the blender and pour it into molds or trays and let it chill. After a few hours, they will be ready to serve.
The next alternative for the ice cream is something very popular right now among humans as well – it is called “nice cream”. This is a vegan version of ice cream, and it tastes incredible. This cold delight is made from frozen bananas, and it has actual nutrition values so you and your family members can benefit from it too.
It is quite easy to make. All you need is to slice some ripe bananas and place them in the freezer until they are solid. When they are ready, place them in the food processor and mix until they become creamy. You can serve it plain, or you can add some more fruit and spice it up; just make sure it is dog-friendly after all.
You can also freeze pumpkin puree, apple sauce, low-sodium chicken-broth, or even plain water with few fruit pieces into silicone ice cube molds and serve it as a pupsicle.
If your dog prefers savory over sweet treats here’s your new favorite recipe
- ¾ cup of plain low-fat unsweetened yogurt
- 1 cooked and mashed carrot
- 2 cups of cooked boneless meat (poultry, fish, beef, liver, hearts, etc.)
- Half a hand of chopped parsley
- 3 tsp. olive oil
Mix all ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Place the mixture in some larger silicone molds and leave it in the freezer until completely frozen.
In case you do not have enough spare time to prepare homemade frozen treats, you can always look for pet-friendly ice cream products into the frozen section in your grocery store. But just to be 100% sure, always read the label and see for yourself that there are no harmful ingredients that can endanger your pup.
What To Do If Your Dog Ate Ice Cream Without Your Approval?
In case your dog ate ice cream without you approving it, the first thing to do is not panic. The second thing is to check out what flavor the ice cream was. After that, try to figure out how much ice cream your dog ate.
If your dog didn’t eat any harmful ingredient, it would experience mild bloating, gasses, or it will need to go potty a few extra times than usual. In case your dog ate ice cream with toxic ingredients, you must be aware that your dog might be in great danger. Call your vet and make sure to get there in the quickest possible time.
Let’s Wrap It Up
So as you can see, ice cream is not a good option for your pupper, considering it is loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners, and flavorings that can seriously harm your best friend’s health.
You might think that one small scoop can’t do much, but just remember how many calories a scoop of ice cream has and then see how many calories is a normal daily intake for your dog. You can see how much sugar and calories are in just one scoop of regular and premium ice cream in the table below.
Don’t risk diabetes and obesity just for a few cute moments of watching your dog getting all messy while licking the cone in a frenzy. I get that watching all those cute videos and pictures on the ‘gram of owners and dogs sharing the cone made you think it is safe for dogs to enjoy the ice cream, but sadly that is not the truth.
Instead of spending time watching those videos take some time and browse the internet to learn how to make some pet-friendly ice treats that your dog will, for sure, adore.