Are Ice Cubes Bad for Dogs? Common Questions Answered | PetFirst
Are Ice Cubes Bad for Dogs? Common Questions Answered
Pet Care & Health

Are Ice Cubes Bad for Dogs? Common Questions Answered

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
5 months ago

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. Namely, are ice cubes safe for dogs? 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 fully6.

Fortunately, many dogs prefer to lick ice cubes, which shouldn’t pose a threat to teeth.

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.

Could ice cubes cause bloat?

Many years ago, an anecdote about an overheated dog, Baran, who experienced bloat after drinking ice water went viral on the internet7. As a result, the subject of whether ice cubes were the culprit has been hotly debated across the internet ever since.

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

The theory presented by Baran’s veterinarian was that the shock of the ice on the dog’s high internal temperature causes muscle spasms, which led to gastric dilation (canine bloat), however many veterinarians disagree with this diagnosis8.

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. In the instance of Baran, he drank ice water and experienced bloat. The ice cubes were part of the equation, but many other elements could have contributed to the medical emergency.

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.

Can ice help dogs cool down?

During the summer, icy treats can help your dog keep cool in the heat9. 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 more10. 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 immediately11.

What’s the bottom line – 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.

Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses can happen to all pets. PetFirst Pet Insurancecan help cover unexpected vet visits2 and can provide peace of mind. PetFirst Pet Insurance1 has cat and dog insurance policies2 to fit every budget. 

Consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend today.

1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.

2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.

6My Pet Dentist: Should I Give My Dog Ice Cubes?


8PetFirst: Canine Bloat– What You Need to Know!

9PetFirst: Dogs & Heat: What You Need to Know

10AKC: Best DIY Frozen Dog Treats

11Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency: How to Tell if Your Dog Has Heatstroke

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