You may think your dog’s a little crazy, but many dogs love to munch on ice cubes! It’s absolutely nothing to worry about, and it’s a great 0 calorie treat!
BUT don’t be tempted into feeding them doggy ice cream or icy poles. You might be shocked at the reasons why.
I’ll also cover some super healthy recipes for both dog ice cream and icy poles which are so easy (and cheap) to make at home, so read to the end!
Can Dogs Eat Ice Cubes?
Yes! Ice cubes are great for dogs!
In fact many dogs love ice cubes. They keep them cool on hot days, and the gnawing action brings out their natural instinct.
There’s been research into ice cubes going someway to alleviate joint pain and reduce inflammation, but it’s not something I would rely on over a proper diet and supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, or even the wonderful spice turmeric.
On the subject of turmeric, why not add some to your ice cubes?
Or dog-friendly fruits, veggies, meaty-chunks, or kefir!
Ice cubes are a great way for your dog to keep hydrated, in an enjoyable way. I find even in the winter my dog loves eating ice cubes, so she clearly doesn’t feel the cold like I do.
Some care must be taken when feeding your dog ice cubes. You can consider it low risk, but a puppy or enthusiastic eater (or gulper) may have problems swallowing larger chunks. If that’s a concern, make sure you break the ice cubes up into suitable chunks before giving to your dog.
A great way to give your dog ice cubes is to poor some into their water bowl.
Never give your dog ice cubes made from flavoured drinks, cordial, or sweetened juices. Not only is this unnecessary, but may cause a dodgy stomach.
Dog Ice Cream – The Problem
As a canine nutritionist I become very worried when I read the ingredients of glorified dog “treats”, and in recent years doggy ice cream has become very popular.
I think I saw a brand of dog ice cream sold at Woolworths last summer, but not sure if that’s still the case? I’ve definitely seen doggy ice cream sold at all manner of cafes and some pet stores.
Such a novelty!
A funny (but not so funny story) was a student studying animal nutrition at an Australian university sent me an email about her project on formulating an ice cream for dogs. She sent me the recipe and asked for my feedback.
It was mostly various forms of sugar.
Needless to say I responded negatively.
Unfortunately this seems to be the case when you read the ingredients for most dog ice creams. Sugar for dogs 😔
I get we want to treat our dogs. We want them to be happy. But the best treats we can give our dogs are meat-based, or at the very least nutritious (see the recipes at the end!)
I would highly recommend avoiding sugary products of any kind for your dog. You’re not doing them or their health any favours.
Can Dogs Eat Icy Poles?
During hot summer months we’re very tempted to share our icy poles with our dogs. Especially if we have kids and an abundance of icy poles in the freezer.
But can dogs eat icy poles?
Should they eat icy poles?
It has to be said hydration is very important for our dogs, especially during hot summer months, but that doesn’t mean commercial or supermarket icy poles are the answer.
Let’s take a look at a popular brand sold at Woolworths (because that’s where I tend to shop):
This was actually the first brand I looked at, but it served the perfect example. I’m sure most icy poles are like for like.
Zooper Dooper look harmless enough, especially with most being “fruit”, but the ingredients of these icy poles are as follows:
Water, Sugar, Food Acid (Citric Acid), Flavours, Colours (122, 150d, 110, 102, 123, 133), Preservatives (202, 211, 223).
They also contain an allergen: Sulphites.
Now, do you think your dog should be eating icy poles?
From reading those ingredients I wonder if my kids should be eating them! Sugar… food colourings… some unknown flavouring ingredients (seriously, how can ingredients be so vague?)… and a list of preservatives.
Our dogs are more prone to dietary intolerances and sensitivities than we are, and pretty much every ingredient in those icy poles can cause a reaction.
So to answer the question can dogs eat icy poles – yes, they, can, but it doesn’t mean they should.
Healthy Dog Ice Cream Recipe
If you want to spoil your dog with ice cream, then your healthiest option is making it at home.
It’s actually very easy!
There are lots of options, and many work well together. Here are some ideas for doggy ice cream:
- Mashed bananas – these freeze quickly into a great ice cream texture.
- Yoghurt – or better yet, natural yoghurt or kefir. These are great ingredients for your dog’s gut health!
- Peanut butter – opt for 100% peanuts rather than cheaper supermarket options which may contain sugar, colours, flavours, or preservatives.
- Frozen meats – always consider this an option which is absolutely optimum for your dog. I kid you not, my dog’s been enjoying frozen tripe this week. How healthy is that?
When making doggy ice cream at home simply avoid anything which is unhealthy.
You should definitely avoid the following:
- Chocolate of any kind.
- Macadamia nuts.
Healthy Dog Icy Pole Recipe
This one is so simple you’ll laugh. Your dog on the other hand will be so busy happily lapping it up to care!
All you need is:
- Tap water (or bottled water for a posh dog).
Why vegemite you may ask?
Firstly, vegemite contains important B vitamins, and secondly the salt content will encourage them to lap up the icy pole enthusiastically.
Just keep in mind vegemite should always be kept to a minimum in your dogs diet, but generally you want all unusual foodstuffs in moderation.
Instructions for Dog Icy Poles:
Simply mix in 1 teaspoon of vegemite into 1 cup of water. You will find the vegemite will dissolve with a few stirs.
Pour the icy pole mixture into whatever container you fancy depending on the size of your dog. Ice cube trays are absolutely fine, or you can choose something larger.
Dog icy poles are a great way to sneak in some healthy nutrition, so feel free to vary the theme.
Why not add some fruit, vegetables, or turmeric into the mix?
Alternatives to using Vegemite:
If you have any concerns about giving vegemite to your dog, then you can substitute it for something else. If your dog likes bananas then you’ll find they also freeze well into dog icy poles!
Do you have any other ideas or recipes? What icy treats does your dog love?