Golden Labrador licking ice cube on floor

Ice cubes for dogs

During the warmer months you may be wondering whether giving your dog ice cubes can keep them cool.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about dogs and ice cubes. While giving your dog ice cubes may not be the quickest way to keep your dog cool, in most cases, it will be a nice refreshing treat.

Can I give my dog ice cubes?

If your dog is healthy and feeling warm on a hot day, you can give them ice cubes. You can also add ice cubes to their water bowl to keep the water chilled.

The ice cubes need to be an appropriate size for your dog, for example a small dog can’t be given a large ice cube as they can pose a choking risk. In these instances, it’d be better to give your dog smaller cubes or even ice shavings – this is also helpful for those dogs who wolf down food.

Ice cubes and dogs with heatstroke

If a dog is suffering from heatstroke, then you should not give them ice. Instead, you should cool them with water and contact your vet immediately as heatstroke needs urgent treatment. Look out for the following warning signs of heatstroke:

  • excessive panting or drooling
  • low energy or lack of coordination
  • collapsing
  • purple gums or redness of the skin

Can ice cubes cause bloating?

There is no definitive evidence that ice cubes cause bloating in dogs – the two are not known to be connected. Bloat – a condition where the stomach swells – is caused by the build up of gas within the stomach. This can be triggered by eating too quickly, but studies into the causes of bloating have not linked ice cubes as a risk.

How can I make ice cubes tasty for my dog?

We recommend making tasty cooling dog treats by popping a bit of xylitol-free peanut butter, salmon, lean chicken or tuna in an ice cube tray alongside some water.

We also have some great frozen Kong recipes for your dog that you can try out to keep them cool and mentally stimulated.


Treats should be given occasionally and alongside a well-balanced diet. Always check with your vet if your dog has any special dietary requirements. Do not give treats to your dog if they have an upset tummy.

Alternatives to ice cubes

While ice cubes are a harmless treat for dogs, they may not be the most appetising treat for your dog. If you’re looking for alternatives, here are some other tricks for cooling them down in the sun:

  • make an ice lick by filling a bowl with some low-salt meat stock scattered with a few treats, then freezing it
  • frozen carrots or apple slices are also a tasty, but healthy snack to refresh your pet. But, make sure to remove any seeds and the core of the apple before giving it to your dog.
  • cover your four-legged friend in a cool (but not freezing cold) towel. Remove it once it’s dry.
  • have a spray bottle of cold water handy, which can be used to mist your dog occasionally but take things slowly and gently. Try the first few squirts away from your dog to check their reaction, as some dogs can find the sound of the pump or the sensation of the spray scary.
  • make a refreshing smoothie for your dog, using peas and carrots, or apples and bananas
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• 2 May 2023

Next review

• 1 May 2026

Approved by
Róisín Bolger

Veterinary Surgeon MRCVS