Is Ice Cream Bad for Your Dog?

Is Ice Cream Bad for Your Dog?

Author WDF Staff


Dogs want what you are eating; that’s no secret. One of the best refreshing summer treats is ice cream, and if you are having one of those, your dog would probably like a bite of it. Before you share some with your dog, you have to be sure you know the answer to the question, “Can dogs eat ice cream?”

People often share these delicious treats with their dogs, and most experts agree that it is not a good idea. The best possible answer to “Can dogs eat ice cream?” would be - NO. There are many reasons that support that answer, and we will tell you some of them. Here is why ice cream is bad for dogs;

Lactose intolerance

The first reason why ice cream is bad for dogs is that dogs are lactose intolerant. The enzyme that is required for digesting and breaking down milk is absent in adult dogs. Puppies have an abundance of it while still nursing, but adult dogs lose it when they switch to dry dog food.

All dogs are lactose intolerant; the only difference is - HOW lactose intolerant they are. The main ingredient in ice cream is milk, so ice cream for dogs is not a good idea. Milk can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal upsets, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pains. Plus, products that contain a lot of fats, like milk, can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

dog eating ice cream

Toxic ingredients

Dogs and humans have different digestive systems, and human food should generally be avoided in your dog’s diet. Some ingredients in ice cream could be toxic to dogs. It is widely known that chocolate is toxic to dogs. They cannot digest it, and caffeine and theobromine from chocolate can cause different health issues. If you want to know more about dogs and chocolate, check out this article - What to do if a dog eats chocolate?

The second toxic ingredient often used in ice cream is xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in products like toothpaste, ice cream, gelatin, cakes, puddings, and even yogurts. This is a toxic ingredient to dogs. If your dog eats something that contains xylitol, you should contact your vet immediately. This is another reason why ice cream is bad for dogs.


One of the most significant issues with ice cream is that it is absolutely loaded with sugars. Foods with high sugar content should not be given to dogs. They are far more susceptible to weight gain and obesity than we are. If you give ice cream to your dog constantly, they will gain weight and eventually become obese. More than 55% of American dogs are overweight, and obesity in dogs is becoming a growing problem. Make sure you avoid giving ice cream to your dog.


Dogs are prone to different allergies, and one of the most potent allergens are proteins found in milk. If you haven’t given your dog any dairy products before, you can’t be sure whether they are allergic to them or not. Food allergies can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal distress.

Can dogs eat vanilla ice cream?

Vanilla is arguably the most popular ice cream taste in the world, and each year we eat tons of vanilla ice cream. However, when it comes to dogs, vanilla ice cream should be avoided for the same reasons we mentioned earlier. However, plain vanilla ice cream won’t hurt your dog, but only if given in small amounts. Your dog can have a lick or two, but feeding them a whole bowl of vanilla ice cream is not a good idea. There are a lot of safer alternatives and products directly made for dogs.

ice cream

Dog ice cream

If you are adamant about getting some frozen treats to your dog, there are ice creams for dogs that are safe for them to eat. For example, Ben & Jerry’s is a famous ice cream company that introduced “ice cream for dogs.” Technically, it is a non-dairy, sugar-free product that is completely safe for dogs to eat. They have two types available;

  • Rosie’s Batch - Mini cookies and pumpkin
  • Pontch’s Mix - Peanut butter and pretzel swirls

Other alternatives

The safest way to give your dog ice cream is to make it yourself. Not only will it be safe for your dog to eat, but you will also completely control all the ingredients used to make the frozen treat. There are many recipes you can use to make ice cream for dogs, and one of our favorites is;

The Banana Punch

Bananas are safe for your dog to eat, and you can make them in delicious ice cream for dogs. All you need is plain Greek yogurt, a tiny bit of honey, bananas, dog cookies, and a blender. Put the yogurt in the blender and add a drop of honey and sliced bananas. Blend it until it is smooth and creamy. Take a couple of dog cookies and break them into smaller pieces. Take an ice cube tray and fill the compartments with the mixture and freeze for a couple of hours.

The end product will be healthy ice cream for dogs your dog will absolutely love. This is an ideal way to give your dog some refreshment, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Make sure you don’t use store-bought frozen yogurt because that one is packed with sugars. You can use the same recipe with mango, apples, blueberries, pears, and any other fruits that are safe for dogs to eat. You can check out this article for more information about it - Healthy fruits dogs can eat.

World Dog Finder team

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