It is generally fine to give your dog small amounts of ice

24 July 2019
What was claimed

Giving dogs ice in hot weather causes them to overheat.

Our verdict

It is generally fine to give your dog ice. If they appear to have heat stroke, cool them slowly without using ice and call the vet.

A Facebook post claiming that it is unsafe to give dogs ice cubes in hot weather has been shared hundreds of times.

The post claims that ice cubes actually cause dogs to heat up by triggering the canine’s anterior hypothalamus. (The anterior hypothalamus is a part of the brain that controls the body’s temperature regulation, among other things.) Supposedly, the dog thus overheats and can become ill and die.

Multiple veterinary advice outlets have addressed the claims made in the post. The consensus is that there is little danger in giving ice or ice water to a healthy dog in warm weather.

The RSPCA does not warn against giving your dog ice, and even recommend putting ice cubes in your dog’s bowl, or making them ice treats.

However, if your dog is already exhibiting signs of heatstroke—which include excessive panting or drooling, vomiting or collapsing—then do not give them ice, either to eat or placed on their skin. Instead, you should cool them gently to avoid shock and take them to a vet.

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