Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

Summer has arrived, which means hearing the familiar ding of ice cream trucks patrolling neighborhoods and stops at local ice cream parlors. If you happen to be accompanied by a pet, eating a vanilla cone can bring some forlorn looks and shameless pleading from them. Some pet owners take the bait and pick up a treat for their dog, but is it really good for them? In general, the answer is no. Obviously, puppies tolerate their mother’s milk just fine, but the enzyme that permits that disappears in adulthood and they become lactose intolerant. Feeding them a couple of scoops could result in digestive upset, from some mild gas to the far more unpleasant diarrhea and vomiting. It’s not just dairy. Depending on the flavor, ice cream can also contain ingredients that can prompt even more serious reactions in dogs. Real sugar isn’t well-tolerated either, and a sugar substitute like xylitol is actually toxic, as is chocolate. If you want to give your dog a cool treat, there are other options. Blending and freezing bananas can make for a safe snack; so can fat-free plain (not sweetened or frozen) yogurt. If you happen to be enjoying some regular ice cream and spill some, a tiny amount gobbled up by your dog shouldn’t be of huge concern, but handing over a bowl means you’ll probably be cleaning up a much bigger mess later on.