Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

The warmer months bring with it the desire for a sweet, frozen treat. Ice cream is a delicious cold dessert that brings smiles to the faces of children and adults alike. For your dog, ice cream brings with it plenty of tail wagging and expectant drooling. We’re sure your dog has been lucky enough to slurp up the remnants of your melting vanilla ice cream cone a time or two. But is it healthy for them? Can dogs eat ice cream, or should it be avoided? We all want the best for our pups, and we love to spoil them. But is spoiling them with ice cream bad?

Can dogs eat ice cream? Read on to learn more about how ice cream affects your dog’s health and whether it should be avoided.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

Can dogs eat ice cream? In short, yes, dogs can eat ice cream. The question is whether or not it’s good for them. Dogs are man’s best friend. They’ve been by our side for nearly 30,00 years and as such, have evolved along with us. Dogs have evolved certain traits like “puppy dog eyes”, which is the ability to raise their eyebrow muscles. Being able to raise their eyebrows is an expressive trait they use to communicate with their human parents. Wolves, on the other hand, don’t have this trait because they have no need to communicate with humans.

Dogs’ digestive systems have similarly adapted to be able to survive on a diet closer to humans. There are genetic differences between dogs and wolves that allow dogs to eat a more varied diet, like their human best friends. These evolutions made it more possible for dogs to live alongside and survive with humans. What this means is that dogs have strong stomachs. They can eat a lot of the same things we eat without getting sick. But can dogs eat ice cream? Yes, they can but not without risks. While our fur babies have evolved to eat alongside us, there are still risks to them eating a human diet.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Not If They’re Lactose Intolerant

Lactose intolerance is when your body can’t break down or digest the lactose in dairy products. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and dairy products. When your small intestine can’t make enough digestive enzymes called lactase, you can’t break down lactose or absorb it. The result is often an upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Lactose intolerance is common with some 30 to 50 million Americans who can’t digest milk and dairy products.

Dogs can also be lactose intolerant. As puppies, dogs are designed to be able to digest their mother’s milk. But once they’re weaned, their bodies don’t produce enough lactase to be able to digest milk products. Like humans, dogs may experience symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, and upset stomach. But also, like humans, some dogs may be able to handle dairy well enough in small amounts. So, can dogs eat ice cream? If your dog can handle a small amount of dairy without any symptoms, a little bit of ice cream is probably okay. Other dogs, however, may be more sensitive. If you notice symptoms of lactose intolerance in your dog after consuming dairy, don’t feed it to them again. Don’t let their puppy dog eyes trick you into giving them the remnants of your frozen dessert. It’s not worth the stomach upset for them or the clean-up for you.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Not If They’re Allergic

A food allergy causes the immune system to flare up in response to the consumption of a certain food. Whereas a food intolerance occurs when your body has a chemical reaction to consuming certain foods or beverages. Mild food allergies may share similar symptoms to that of food intolerance. But a food intolerance doesn’t involve the immune system and doesn’t cause severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. Symptoms of a food allergy may include vomiting, swelling in the face and eyes, itching, a burning sensation, hives, difficulty breathing, runny nose, and skin rash.

Food allergies can be serious and could be potentially deadly if not addressed. If your dog is allergic to milk protein, they may show signs of itching, rash, runny nose, swelling, or upset stomach. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical help from your veterinarian. Can dogs eat ice cream? Not if they’re allergic. If you’re not sure, don’t give it to them at all or give them a very small amount to see how they do. You never should give your pet foods that cause them discomfort.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Not If You Want Them To Have Health Issues

Like us humans, dogs aren’t immune to getting fat. Calories work the same way for dogs as they do for humans. Too much of the good life and your dog will be walking around with too much junk in the trunk. Obesity in dogs can lead to health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Can dogs eat ice cream? Seeing as ice cream is high in sugar and fat, it’s not the best choice for a doggie dessert. Especially if your dog is older and has a problem with their weight already. Additionally, the high-fat content in full-fat dairy can lead to pancreatitis in your loyal pooch. Pancreatitis is a serious condition that no dog mom or dad would want their fur baby to go through. Avoid it by closely monitoring their food consumption. So, can dogs eat ice cream? Not if they are already at risk for obesity or pancreatitis.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Not if It’s a Certain Ice Cream Flavor

A dog’s diet needs to be carefully monitored to ensure they are not consuming harmful ingredients. Dogs’ digestive systems are different from humans. There are some ingredients that we may see as harmless yet are toxic to canines. Can dogs eat ice cream with chocolate? Dogs can’t eat chocolate because they can’t process the components theobromine and caffeine. These ingredients are toxic to dogs and, in large amounts, could be fatal. Ice cream flavors like chocolate, chocolate chip, coffee, or green tea ice cream should be avoided for this reason.

Can dogs eat ice cream with raisins? No, any ice cream flavor that contains raisins or grapes should be avoided as well. Ingesting raisins or grapes can lead to acute kidney failure in dogs, even in small amounts. Can dogs eat ice cream with nuts? Most nuts should be avoided as well. Macadamia nuts are extremely toxic to dogs and may cause serious side effects. Other nuts like peanuts, almonds, and pecans are not toxic to dogs, but they should be consumed in small amounts due to their high fat content. Can dogs eat ice cream that’s sugar-free? Nope, any ice cream flavor that’s labeled as “sugar-free” should be avoided. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that’s toxic to dogs and found in most sugarless ice creams.

Can dogs eat ice cream with any flavor? If you do give your dog ice cream, stick with plain vanilla. Some fruit flavors may be okay but if you’re not sure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What If Your Dog Eats Ice Cream on Their Own?

Dogs have fast reflexes, especially when it comes to catching table scraps. Sometimes our dogs are sneaky and eat treats behind our backs. If your pup happens to sneak some ice cream without permission, don’t panic. First, find out what kind of ice cream they’ve eaten and how much. If it’s not a flavor with toxic ingredients or if they’ve eaten only a very small amount, they’ll most likely be okay. Can dogs eat ice cream in small amounts? Yes, but monitor them closely for any signs of sickness or allergic reaction. Most likely they will just experience an upset stomach or diarrhea. But if your dog has eaten any ice cream flavor with harmful ingredients, seek medical help.

The Animal Poison Control Center can help you decide what to do next. But don’t delay going to an emergency vet. Especially if your dog is showing symptoms of toxicity like seizures, agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, or convulsions. The risk may be greater for your dog depending on the breed and size. Smaller breeds will be more sensitive to toxic substances as their small bodies can’t handle as much toxicity. So, can dogs eat ice cream even if it’s by accident? Plain vanilla by mistake may be fine, but toxic flavors are a cause for concern.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream If It’s Homemade?

If you want to give your dog a frozen doggie dessert, make it at home yourself. But instead of using full-fat milk or cream as the base, switch it for low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Can dogs eat ice cream made from yogurt? Yogurt is fermented, which means it contains less lactose than milk or cream. Yogurt may be less harmful and easier to digest for your dog. But be sure to use a natural or organic yogurt that doesn’t contain added sugars or ingredients that could be bad for your dog. Freeze the yogurt in an ice cube tray to make a quick, easy-to-eat frozen treat for your pup. Make it even tastier by blending the yogurt with banana before freezing. Bananas are high in essential vitamins and fiber and are good for your dog. But, they do contain sugar, so give them to your dog in moderation.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream Alternatives?

Can dogs eat ice cream if it’s made specifically for them? Absolutely. Fortunately, there are millions of dog lovers around the world. Dog owners want their fur babies to have the best of everything, including dessert. There are plenty of dog ice cream brands that make dog-friendly ice cream using ingredients they can digest easily. You can feed your pup dog ice cream and rest easy knowing it’s safe for them. They get a sweet treat, and you don’t have to worry about them getting sick later.

Below are some dog ice cream brands that make safe, natural frozen treats for your loveable pooch:

Pooch Creamery

Pooch Creamery is a dog ice cream brand that offers pint-sized ice creams for dogs. They come in adorable packaging that looks like traditional ice cream for humans. Pooch Creamery uses only five ingredients in their products, free of grains and lactose. The formula comes in powder form. Dog owners simply add water, freeze, and let their fur babies enjoy. Pooch Creamery has several dog ice cream flavors including peanut butter, plain vanilla, and birthday cake. Can dogs eat ice cream with these flavors? Yes, because Pooch Creamery makes sure to only make their products with dog-friendly ingredients.

Pet Cakes Yum Yum

Pet Cakes Yum Yum are dog ice cream cakes made with ingredients like turmeric and collagen for hip and joint health. Can dogs eat ice cream with collagen and turmeric? Of course, they wouldn’t be ingredients in these pet cakes if they couldn’t. Each pet cake comes with a bone-shaped tray for freezing your dog’s ice cream cake. Pet Cakes Yum Yum comes in a pineapple-coconut flavor. Can dogs eat ice cream flavored with pineapple and coconut? Yep, neither pineapple nor coconut is harmful to dogs. Sounds like a real yum-yum treat!

Frosty Paws

Frosty Paws from Purina is a peanut butter flavored dog ice cream treat. It’s free of added sugars and chemicals and packed full of protein and other nutrients. Can dogs eat ice cream with peanut butter? Yep, if your pup is a sucker for peanut butter, they’ll love a frozen treat from Frosty Paws.


YoPup makes frozen yogurt treats for dogs flavored with banana and peanut butter. They contain only a few ingredients, plus probiotics that are good for your dog’s digestive system. YoPup frozen yogurt cups are a yummy treat for dogs who can tolerate low-fat yogurt. Yo, pup, want a tasty treat? Just a mention of this treat is sure to get the dogs barkin’.

What Are Other Dog-Friendly Desserts?

Can dogs eat ice cream? Sure, but why risk possible negative side effects if you don’t have to? Dogs love food, all kinds of food, and they will be just as happy with an alternative sweet treat to ice cream. If you want to treat your pup to a dessert on their birthday (or simply because they’ve been a good boy or girl), here are some other dog-friendly dessert options:

Peanut Butter

You’d be hard-pressed to find a dog that doesn’t love peanut butter. Peanut butter is safe for dogs and (in moderation) can be a good source of protein and healthy fat. Treat them to a spoonful of peanut butter now and then or let them lick it off their favorite chewing bone. Peanut butter oatmeal cookies or biscuits also make a great nut butter treat for your good boy or girl.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is a healthy alternative to ice cream and other sweet treats. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and full of vitamins and minerals. Can dogs eat ice cream with sweet potato? Yep, or you can feed sweet potatoes to your dog plain or mash it in with their food. But make sure you cook the sweet potato first and remove the skin before you give it to your pooch.

Frozen Banana

A frozen banana makes a great sweet treat for when your pup needs to cool down. Bananas are healthy and naturally sweet on their own. You can either give the frozen banana to your dog whole or chop it up into smaller pieces (best to do for smaller dogs). You could also blend the frozen banana with a little bit of water or yogurt to make a frozen banana “nice cream”. Can dogs eat ice cream? Yep, but “nice cream” is even better for them. This sounds like a shareable treat between you and your favorite quadruped companion!

Greek Yogurt With Honey

Low or non-fat Greek yogurt with a small amount of honey makes a safe and healthy sweet treat for your dog. Greek yogurt is a tart, plain yogurt that contains a high amount of protein and calcium. Honey is a natural sweetener that has antimicrobial and antifungal properties that may provide some health benefits for your pooch. Can dogs eat ice cream with honey? Yes, but only in small quantities. Honey is also high in sugar, which isn’t great for dogs who struggle with weight. So, if your pup is on a doggy diet, maybe skip the honey.


Pumpkin is a superfood for dogs because it contains tons of vitamins and minerals. It’s also great for their digestion. You can feed pumpkin to your dog straight out of the can or make it into a “pup-kin pie” by following a dog-friendly pumpkin pie recipe. Can dogs eat ice cream? Yeah, but they won’t want to if they can have pumpkin pie instead. Can you blame them?

The Takeaway

Can dogs eat ice cream? Yes, they can but not without risk. Like humans, many dogs are lactose intolerant and can’t tolerate dairy products. On top of that, dogs can’t tolerate certain ingredients that humans often overlook. As much as you may love your pup and treat them like a human, they aren’t human. They have different dietary needs than us. What’s healthy for us may be toxic and deadly to them. Especially if your dog is a small breed.

Fortunately, there are plenty of dog ice cream alternatives. Dog ice cream is increasingly popular as dog owners always look for a new way to spoil their furry best friend. Can dogs eat ice cream made for them? Absolutely, and you needn’t worry about them getting sick afterward. If you’re going to spoil your pup with a sweet treat, make sure you do it safely. They’ll never know the difference!

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