Dog licking an ice cream cone in a person's hand

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

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Picture this: it’s a sweltering hot day, and right in front of your eyes is a delicious scoop of ice cream dripping sweet vanilla-chocolate goodness onto the crisp waffle cone in which it is nestled. Next to you is your lovable dog, who’s as enraptured with the ice cream as you are. You, being the great humanitarian you are, are tempted to give them a lick. But should you?

This is a question that humans have asked for as long as we’ve had both ice cream and dogs–which, well, has been a pretty long time. And years of research have suggested that no, in fact, you should not let your dog eat ice cream.

In this article, we’ll break down all the reasons why you shouldn’t give in to the temptation to give your pooch a bite of your Rocky Road.

Is It Safe for My Dog To Eat Ice Cream?

Although most humans can eat ice cream in moderation without any problems, the same cannot be said of dogs.

Because dogs’ digestive systems are radically different from those of humans, they can be harmed and even killed by many foods that humans eat regularly.

While it isn’t the end of the world if your dog gets just a bit of ice cream, the risks are high enough that you shouldn’t give it to them if you have the choice.

Are There Any Safety Concerns Feeding Ice Cream to My Dog?

There are three big reasons to avoid feeding ice cream to dogs: the flavors, the sugar, and the milk.

The simplest reason to not give your furry friend any ice cream is that many ice creams contain flavors and additives that are toxic to dogs. An obvious example is chocolate, which is potentially toxic to dogs because their systems cannot process its ingredients. Other ice creams contain artificial sweeteners that are harmful to the canine digestive tract and can cause diarrhea, stomachache, and other illnesses.

The high sugar content of ice cream is another problem. Even if a dog makes it out of an encounter with an ice cream cone, there is so much sugar in ice cream that it can cause canine obesity and an array of related health problems, like heart conditions.

Finally, the milk that is oh-so essential to ice cream does not agree with dogs. Most dogs, like most humans, are lactose intolerant, meaning that they don’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase to process the concentrated lactose in dairy products. So, when dogs eat ice cream, they often suffer from diarrhea, indigestion, and other issues.

How Much Ice Cream Can I Feed My Dog?

With all the previous concerns in mind, the best amount of ice cream to feed your dog is none at all! However, if your dog has eaten a small amount of ice cream that doesn’t contain chocolate, they will probably be okay–just don’t give them any more.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the very last thing a dog needs is ice cream in its diet. Make sure you think twice before giving your pup some of that chocolate cookie dough unless you want a trip to the vet.

To further avoid a trip to the vet, make sure you check out our other guides on the foods your dog can eat (or not) including whether your dog can eat cantaloupe, tuna, bread, beets, or peppers.

Of course, you’re likely interested in the quality of your dog’s food and your pet’s health, in addition to having questions about what your dog can and can’t eat. We happen to have a ton of resources on these very topics!

One is our guide which will teach you how to add fiber to a dog’s diet, along with or our guide to choosing the high fiber dog food. If you’re looking into dog upset stomach we have a guide for that as well, and we can even help answer how long does it take a dog to digest food?. If you’re portioning your dog’s food you can also check out our guide to choosing the best automatic dog feeder.

We also have a series of health and nutritional information for your dog. Our dog weight calculator and our answer to how heavy should my dog be? can help you determine if your dog is the proper weight and size, and we even have a collection of breed-specific growth charts such as our goldendoodle growth chart, great dane growth chart, golden retriever growth chart, chihuahua growth chart, or our labrador growth chart.

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.