Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? featured image

It is natural to want to share this delicious treat with your canine companion. But because some dogs are lactose intolerant, and because of a plethora of ingredients that are commonly found in ice cream (chocolate, too much sugar, caffeine, raisins, nuts, and especially xylitol), it is recommended that dogs should NOT eat ice cream.

It's fine for a dog to taste certain kinds of plain lactose-free / dairy-free ice cream in moderation. Sugar-free ice cream is better as well, but only if it doesn't contain any harmful artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol. Anything sweet should always be given to a dog very rarely and in very small amounts.

If you must share this indulgent treat with your canine companion, opting for plain vanilla or peanut butter-flavored frozen yogurt or ice cream (with no chocolate) is often the best bet. All ingredients must be carefully assessed, and the dog must be closely monitored for at least 30 to 120 minutes after consuming ice cream for any side effects.

Top 4 Best Homemade Dog Ice Cream RecipesYogurt would always be better for the dog, but the best and safest kinds of ice cream are dog-specific versions. There are plenty of different types you can buy from a local pet store or supermarket, or you can also make your own homemade dog ice cream instead. If you still choose to give your pooch ice cream made for people, here's what you must know.

TRY THESE: 4 Best Homemade Dog Ice Cream Recipes

Ice Cream for Dogs and Lactose Intolerance

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Gastrointestinal Upset
  • Vomiting
  • Plus, All of the Side Effects Listed in the Next List (below)

If a dog displays any of the above symptoms within 30 to 120 minutes after eating ice cream (or any dairy product), you can conclude that the dog is lactose intolerant and should not be fed anything that contains lactose moving forward. If the dog does not get better fairly quickly, they need to be taken to a veterinary clinic immediately.

Potential Side Effects of Ice Cream for Dogs 

Ice cream does not provide any nutritional value to dogs, is high in calories and sugar, and often contains ingredients that are extremely toxic to dogs. There are also no known benefits of a dog eating ice cream. Therefore, in general, ice cream should not be fed to a dog as a treat. Especially because there are so many other options for tasty and indulgent treats that can be safely fed to a dog that will actually provide your pooch with some sort of nutritional value and do not pose the risk of creating any of the negative side-effects of a dog eating ice cream that are listed directly below, which are the following:

  • Tooth Damage and Decay
  • Can Make a Dog’s Allergies Worse
  • Blood Sugar Levels Dramatically Increase
  • Sugar-Overload-Induced Behavioral Problems
  • Adverse or Deadly Reactions Due to Toxic Ingredients
  • Can Lead to Diabetes or Pre-Diabetic Conditions in a Dog
  • Can Cause Severe, Adverse, and Dangerous Reactions in a Diabetic Dog
  • Can Cause a Dog to Become a Picky Eater that Wants Only Sweet Treats
  • Digestive Upset Even in Dogs that Are Not Lactose Intolerant

What Kind of Ice Cream is Okay for Dogs to Eat?

If, for whatever reason, you feel compelled to feed ice cream to your dog, and it's not the type of ice cream made specifically for dogs (bought or homemade), then these are the few types of human-specific ice creams that may work better for your pup:

Plain vanilla or peanut butter flavored
Sugar-free ice cream with NO artificial sweeteners (no xylitol!)
Ice cream WITHOUT any other harmful ingredients*

*Potentially toxic ingredients to dogs, often found in ice creams: chocolate, raisins, coffee, caffeine of any kind, macadamia nuts, chocolate-covered nuts of any kind, excessive amounts of sugar, or anything that contains artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol (but most all artificial sweeteners can be toxic to dogs), as well as large amounts of sugar.

The Best Ice Cream for Dogs

If you don't want to prepare your own homemade dog ice cream with regular home ingredients and would rather buy something that would result in a more commercially tasting, delicious ice cream that will chill your pooch during a hot summer day, or use it as a reward treat, here are the best dog ice cream options you can buy online that are easy to make and freeze:

Delicious Alternatives to Ice Cream for Dogs

To feed your dog a tasty and cold treat on a hot day, you can either buy them from a local store or supermarket or make something yourself. There are plenty of recipes for frozen dog treats. This one is Samantha's favorite that's also very simple to make. Some other ideas on ice cream alternatives:

  • How to Make Dog Ice Cream - DIY Ideas for Dog OwnersFrozen Peanut Butter Cubes (like this one)
  • Frozen Fruit (NO grapes or raisins!)
  • Frozen Peanut Butter Covered Bananas
  • Frozen Fruit Bars (with no artificial or added sweeteners!)
  • Frozen Yogurt (plain, unsweetened)
  • Commercial Ice Cream Made Specifically for Dogs
  • And the BEST option is Homemade Dog “Ice Cream.”

At the Tail's End

The three main questions to ask yourself before you feed your dog ice cream are:

  1. Does my dog have any health conditions that could be impacted negatively or made worse by eating ice cream, such as lactose intolerance, obesity, diabetes or pre-diabetes, just to name a few?
  2. Is having my dog get sick, possibly to the point of having to take the dog to an emergency veterinary clinic and paying the costly bill for doing so, really worth feeding my dog ice cream? The average vet bill for a food poisoning situation is between $500 to $1,000.
  3. What healthier and safer ice cream alternatives can I feed my dog that he or she will like just as much, or more?

Consider this before feeding your dog ice cream. Furthermore, if you give your pooch something so sweet and delicious, they may develop picky eating habits.

READ NEXT: 50 Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes

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Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream

Rachael is a writer living in Los Angeles and an alum of UNC Chapel Hill. She has been a pet owner since the age of three and began dog-walking in 2015. Her nine-year-old Pug and best pal, Ellie, is the queen of sassy faces, marathon naps, and begging.