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Ice cream is a treat that is popular among humans and animals alike. Between movies and real life, there are plenty of examples of people eating ice cream and then sharing some with their dogs. But, can dogs eat ice cream? Should they? Here’s what you need to know:
Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?
Although dogs can eat ice cream, it doesn’t mean that they should. There are some dogs that may seem fine after eating some ice cream while others experience stomachaches and immediate issues.
But, just because your dog seems to handle ice cream okay still doesn’t mean they should be eating it. In general, dogs should not eat ice cream as it often carries more discomfort and danger for them than it is worth. Plus, there are many other dog-friendly options available, so you don’t have to deny your dog a delicious treat.
5 Reasons Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Ice Cream
Here are a few of the main reasons why dogs shouldn’t eat ice cream:
1. They May Be Allergic
There are many food allergies that can affect dogs, including some allergies to dairy and specifically ice cream and milk. Some dogs have sensitive digestive systems and some dogs have allergies to milk protein. If your dog is allergic to milk proteins, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and/or rashes after consuming it.
In general, these are symptoms you should never ignore in your dog. So, if you see them, it’s important to visit the vet. They will be able to help your dog and also help you figure out if your dog has an allergy or if something else is going on.
2. Dogs Have A Natural Lactose Intolerance
As puppies, canines do possess the lactase enzyme that allows them to process milk. As they are weaned, their bodies produce less of it. Their systems are just not designed to digest milk after they have been weaned.
This results in an impaired ability to effectively process milk products. And, this is why dogs have a natural lactose intolerance and why it is so common among dogs of many ages.
Although some dogs may seem fine with milk and dairy, others will experience mild to severe stomach reactions when fed dairy products. Reactions to dairy can range from flatulence and some gastric pain to loose stools, diarrhea, vomiting, and more.
3. High-Fat Content Over Time Can Damage The Pancreas
Another reason why dogs shouldn’t eat ice cream is that it is a fat-rich dairy product. Fat-rich foods over time can damage the pancreas and lead to pancreatitis in dogs.
Even if your dog seems to handle it well, it’s usually best to avoid giving them fat-rich dairy products. This is also one of the reasons why one of the Thanksgiving safety tips for dogs is to go light on treating them with high-fat meats or other items.
4. The Flavors In Ice Cream Could Be Toxic
Aside from the general intolerance to dairy, there are some ingredients in ice cream that can actually be dangerous to dogs. Chocolate can be dangerous for dogs as can other flavors containing theobromine or caffeine. A dog’s system isn’t capable of processing these compounds.
Another hidden hazard in ice cream is xylitol. Even if you’re not opting for a low-sugar or sugar-free option, xylitol is a common sweetener. It’s also poisonous to dogs. So, not only is it one of the common holiday hazards for dogs, but it could be lurking in your ice cream too.
5. Ice Cream Can Cause Weight Gain
Ice cream is rich in sugar, high in calories, and high in fat. If you’re giving some to your dog in addition to other treats and not making sure they get enough exercise, it can lead to weight gain.
Severely overweight dogs have a lot of issues. Depending on the breed, it can have even bigger effects. A snub-nosed dog breed, for example, is already prone to respiratory issues. If they are overweight on top of it, they have even more trouble breathing.
Dog-Friendly Ice Cream Alternatives
You shouldn’t let your dog eat ice cream for a variety of reasons, but that does not mean you can’t give them a similar treat that is safer and healthier for them. There are plenty of options for ice cream for dogs that you can make at home or buy in the store. And, you won’t have to worry about them upsetting your dog’s stomach or causing other issues down the road.
Bananas and other fruits are all great resources when it comes to making dog-friendly ice cream alternatives or frozen treats. You can also put peanut butter to use to create your own ice cream for dogs or other treats.
Can dogs eat ice cream? They definitely can if you make a dog-friendly version. There are a ton of dog treat recipes available that you can try out in your own kitchen. You might even discover a “dog treat” that you enjoy too!