Are Ice Cubes Bad for Dogs?

4 min read
Jan 09, 2022

For humans, there’s nothing like a glass of ice water to help cool you down on a hot day, but does ice have the same effect on dogs?

In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about giving ice to your dog.  We’ll discuss the potential risks of offering your dog ice cubes, whether ice cubes can help a dog recover from heatstroke, the risk of bloat, and more.

Let’s dive in.

Can Ice Harm a Dog’s Teeth?

If your dog tends to chew his ice, he could be at risk of breaking one of his teeth. According to My Pet Dentist, a broken tooth can be extremely painful and may even require a root canal or oral surgery to repair it fully.

Fortunately, many dogs prefer to lick ice cubes, which shouldn’t pose a threat to teeth.  The same may not go for teething puppies however.

If you notice your dog is inclined to chew ice cubes, offer him shaved ice or crushed ice in the place of large ice cubes. These smaller pieces will melt faster, thus reducing the risk of harm to your pup’s teeth. Or, play it safe and stick to offering cold water.

Are Ice Cubes a Choking Hazard?

Ice cubes could pose a choking risk to dogs; however, there don’t seem to be many reported instances of this occurring. It’s always good to be cautious about what you offer your dog, but as long as you supervise your dog as he eats his ice cubes, there isn’t much cause for concern of choking.

Will Ice Cubes cause Bloat?

The consensus is that, no, ice cubes alone are not a trigger for bloat.

When a dog is hot, he may be inclined to gulp a lot of water down quickly. This rapid consumption of liquids could create a gas build-up in the stomach, which causes bloat. 

If your dog is hot, don’t leave him unattended with a bowl of water until you’re confident that he’ll lap it up slowly as this will reduce your dog’s risk of bloat. Be prepared to remove the water bowl if your dog is drinking too much at a fast pace.

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Can Ice Help Dogs Cool Down?

During the summer, icy treats can help your dog keep cool in the heat. Ice cubes prevent your dog from drinking too much too quickly (which could lead to bloat). Instead of gulping up a lot of water, an ice cube will help your dog rehydrate slowly.

Instead of plain ice cubes, you could experiment with pupsicles and other frozen treats to create refreshing snacks for your dog. You could make frozen bone broth cubes, frozen fruit snacks, and more. These types of frozen snacks tend to be softer than a typical ice cube, lowering the chances that your dog will break a tooth.

Can Ice Cubes Help with Heatstroke?

If your dog is at risk of heatstroke, ice cubes alone probably won’t be enough to cool him down. Have him lay on a cold surface and offer small sips of water. You might also place a cold compress on your dog or mist him with cool water to help him return to his regular core temperature.

Heatstroke is a serious condition that could be life-threatening. If your dog is exhibiting the symptoms of heatstroke, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Are Ice Cubes Safe for Dogs?

If your dog chews on ice cubes, he could be at risk of breaking a tooth. However, overall, ice cubes pose a very low threat to your dog. Ice cubes can make a refreshing snack, especially when mixed with flavorful ingredients. Plus, ice cubes are a safe way for your dog to rehydrate slowly without risking bloat.

To be safe, supervise your pup when you offer him ice cubes. This way, you can step in if you feel he’s at risk of choking or harming his teeth. While ice cubes can help your dog cool down, they aren’t a reliable way to prevent or treat heatstroke. So, if your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, contact your vet immediately.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

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