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can dogs have ice-cream

"Can dogs have ice-cream ?"

My dog Flora adores ice-cream. Is it OK to feed her this as a treat in summer to help keep her cool?

Anna Cherry advises...

Our four-legged friends love all things sweet, and will have no problem polishing off an ice-cream in the blink of an eye. However, feeding ice-cream to your dog can have serious health consequences. This is because ice-cream is high in fat and sugar, which is not only bad for your dog’s waistline, but can also cause digestive upsets, and even pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is when the pancreas gland, which sits just below the stomach and next to their digestive tract, becomes inflamed. This is a very painful condition that can cause your dog to become seriously unwell, and in some cases, it can even be fatal. One of the causes of pancreatitis is eating fatty foods, such as ice-cream. Another problem is that some ice-cream may contain chocolate, which is toxic to dogs. If you are worried your dog has snaffled an ice-cream that may contain chocolate (not just chocolate ice-cream, but those with chocolate chips or a flake), it’s important to get to your vet’s as soon as possible.

So feeding your dog ice-cream, even as a treat, is a definite no-no, but the good news is that your dog needn’t feel left out, as there are some dog-friendly alternatives you can try instead:

  • You can now buy dog-friendly ice-creams that look every bit like the real thing, but they are made especially for dogs and are dairyfree, low in fat, and often made using tasty fruits.
  • Alternatively, consider making your own ‘pooch pops’ by mixing some chopped-up fruit – for example, banana, apple, mango or pear (just remember to remove any pips, seeds and cores) – with some water, and freeze in a lollipop holder or ice-cube tray.
  • Frozen banana and apple slices also make great cooling treats – just remember to feed these in moderation (especially banana, as it is rich in potassium).