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Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

By Colleen Williams
published: July 11, 2018 - updated: September 7, 2022 • 2 min. read
dogs ice cream

Key Takeaways

  • Depending on the flavor, dogs can eat ice cream, but they probably shouldn’t.
  • Ice creams with chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, and xylitol are hazardous for dogs.
  • Ice cream can also be dangerous for dogs with dairy intolerances, allergies, and diabetes.
  • Try plain, unsweetened yogurt or sliced banana that is frozen for your dog instead of ice cream.

So, can dogs eat ice cream? The quick answer: they probably shouldn’t.

While it truly depends on the flavor and ingredients, ice cream isn’t that great for dogs. The internet is full of videos, images and more of pups enjoying ice cream, but don’t be fooled: it’s not the best idea to feed them this cool and creamy treat.

Hazards of ice cream for dogs

Canines can be lactose intolerant and ice cream is chock full of sugar, fat, and some possibly toxic ingredients. While regular, plain vanilla ice cream may not be completely poisonous, it still may lead to some tummy upset. Furthermore, there are some ice cream types to seriously avoid:

  • Never give your dog chocolate ice cream; chocolate is a well-known dog toxic ingredient that can lead to stomach issues and hospitalization.
  • Do not give your dog Rum Raisin ice cream – raisins (and their cousin the grape) are toxic to dogs and can, unfortunately, be so serious as to cause kidney failure and death.
  • For nuts and nut flavors: Avoid macadamia nuts and any chocolate-covered nuts (even peanuts will be toxic if covered in chocolate).
  • Avoid sugar-free varieties. Most artificial sweeteners can cause diarrhea, but those with xylitol are on the big no-no list – xylitol is extremely poisonous to pups. Maintain dog insurance on your pets, so you’ll be able to get treatment for any kind of accidental toxic ingestion.

It’s best to skip the ice cream, especially for pooches who may be obese or diagnosed with diabetes, dairy intolerances, and allergies. For lighter varieties including sorbet and sherbet, check the ingredients and make sure there aren’t toxic components including xylitol or raisins. Same goes for gelato, and keep an eye out for those rich, creamy chocolate flavors.


The bottom line of ice cream for dogs

Try frozen yogurt: take plain, unsweetened yogurt, and freeze it in an ice cube tray, then simply pop out when it’s frozen. Note that although yogurt is healthier and lower in lactose, even still, not all pups can tolerate it, so for those dogs, freeze a sliced banana and dole it out as you see fit.

Curious about what is okay and not okay for your dog to eat? Check out our comprehensive guide on what human foods are safe and not safe for dogs

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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