Golden Labrador licking ice cube on floor

Ice cubes for dogs

  • Don't give your dog ice cubes if they are suffering from heatstroke - contact your vet immediately as this needs urgent treatment
  • If your dog is healthy and just feeling warm on a hot day, you can give them ice cubes
  • The ice cubes need to be an appropriate size for your dog to avoid the risk of choking

During the hot weather, we think about ways we can keep our dogs cool – the paddling pools come out and our normal walking routines change to make sure our dogs don’t get heatstroke.

One of the things that people ask is whether they can give their dog ice cubes to cool them off. There is a lot of misinformation circulating about dogs and ice cubes and we’re here to clear that up.

Can I give my dog ice cubes?

If your dog is healthy and just feeling warm on a hot day, you can give them ice cubes. 

Caroline Reay - Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross wearing Blue Cross uniform
This advice has been approved by our Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross

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 chocking 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.

We recommend making tasty cooling dog treats by popping a bit of xylitol-free peanut butter, salmon 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. 

Ice cubes and dogs with heatstroke

If a dog is suffering from heatstroke, then you should not give them ice and should instead cool them with water and contact your vet immediately as heatstroke needs urgent treatment. 

Can ice cubes cause bloating?

There’s no real foundation to the idea that ice cubes cause bloating in dogs – the two aren’t known to be connected.

 

Alternatives to ice cubes

If you’d rather not give your dog ice cubes or they’re not so keen on them, then here are some other tricks for cooling them down in the sun:

  • fill a bowl with some low-salt stock scattered with a few treats and freeze it 
  • frozen carrots or apple slices are also a tasty, but healthy snack to refresh your pet
  • cover your four-legged friend in a cool (but not freezing cold) towel. Remove it once it’s dry.
  • have a bottle of cold water handy – which can be used to mist a 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.
     
— Page last updated 23/07/2020

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