There’s nothing better than sitting down to eat an ice lolly on a hot day. And whether your dog is getting a bit hot, or just doing the usual puppy-eyes to convince you they get to try anything you’re eating, you’ve probably wondered if dogs can eat ice lollies too.
It’s a bit of a yes and a bit of a no, truth be told. So while your dog shouldn’t tuck into a Calippo, you could make them their own tasty frozen treats really easily. (And some dog-friendly ice lollies are just as appetising to humans too!)
Back to regular store-bought ice lollies now though. Why shouldn’t your pooch have one?
It really depends on the lolly, the amount, and the dog. Technically, yes, a healthy dog can probably eat a little bit of an ice lolly without causing them any harm. But that doesn’t mean you should let your dog eat an entire ice lolly, or let them eat them regularly. They are still very unhealthy for dogs, and like many manufactured human treats, they have the potential to make them sick.
You definitely don’t want to feed them a whole ice lolly because it has a lot of sugar in, and a dog that eats anything frozen too quickly could upset their stomach and end up vomiting. Only giving them a tiny piece of ice lolly as a treat will limit the amount of sugar your pooch eats and will stop your pup from feeling ruff by preventing brain freeze and overeating.
It does depend on the ice lolly though. Some ice lollies contain safe ingredients that could even be considered healthy, such as lollies made from fruit juice and pulp. Ice lollies typically have very little fat, which gives them one advantage over ice creams.
A lick or two on occasion is probably pretty safe. Your dog won’t be ingesting a lot of ice lolly from a few licks, just don’t let them bite a chunk off or feed them a whole lolly. Even if they’re only having a lick or two, you need to check there’s no xylitol in the lolly recipe, as even a small amount can make your dog sick.
Yes, some ice lollies will undoubtedly be bad for dogs. For a start, they contain a lot of sugar, usually around 12g of sugar per lolly. That’s a lot for a dog to eat and certainly isn’t good for them. Just like if you eat a lot of sugar, your pooch can develop bad oral health and rotten teeth.
Not only that, if they eat a lot of sugar over time, it can contribute to unhealthy weight gain or even lead to your pooch developing diabetes. Meanwhile, if your dog already has diabetes, they definitely shouldn’t eat ice lollies because of the high amounts of sugar in them.
Surprisingly, some of the “healthier” lollies actually have even more sugar than the super colourful kids lollies. One brand of fruit smoothie lolly has a staggering 18g of sugar, while a fruit pastille lolly has 11.6g. However, the smoothie lolly is made from real fruit juice and pulp, so it has some nutritional value. But it just goes to show that what you think is the healthy pick might not actually be as straightforward as you would think.
So sugar isn’t good. What about a sugar-free ice lolly? Well, that might be even worse. You need to check the label to see what sweeteners have been used in the recipe because one common sweetener called xylitol is highly toxic to dogs.
Even if your dog only eats a small piece of ice lolly and ingests a little xylitol, it can make them very unwell. They only need to eat about 0.1g of xylitol per kilogram of their bodyweight to become very ill and potentially suffer from hypoglycemia. If they eat more than half a gram per kilogram of their weight, they could suffer from liver failure.
That is particularly worrying if you only have a little dog like a Chihuahua, which may only weigh 2 kilograms and so can suffer liver failure from eating just a single gram of the sweetener.
Again, it’s a judgement call. A little bit of vanilla ice cream probably won’t make a healthy dog unwell, but it shouldn’t be a regular treat. Ice cream has a lot of sugar and fat and definitely isn’t good for your dog to be eating often or in large volumes.
Meanwhile, ice cream could potentially contain harmful ingredients like coffee, chocolate, or raisins too. You will also need to check the label carefully to make sure there is no xylitol lurking in there either. Learn more about safely treating your dog to ice cream.
Yes, dogs can eat ice cubes. Ice is just frozen water after all, so there’s no danger of there being any nasty ingredients or additives, and definitely no fat or sugar to worry about. You can give your pup some chips of ice in their water to cool them down or offer a chunk of ice to chew on a hot day to help them cool off.
That being said, you’ll still want to be careful, particularly if you have a small dog. Giving a little dog a whole ice cube can be a choking hazard, but it shouldn’t be a big deal for a big dog unless they try to swallow it whole. You know your dog best, so if they’re likely to try wolfing it down without chewing, you should crush the ice before giving it to them.
Don’t give your pup too much ice at once though. Chewing too many ice cubes carries a small chance that it could weaken and damage your dog’s teeth. Plus, eating too much ice too quickly could upset your dog’s stomach too.
But, ice isn’t very appetising is it, and some dogs might not like chowing down on something that is so plain and literally freezing cold. But don’t worry, there are more tasty frozen treats you can offer your dog.
Well, you can probably give your dogs a few licks of xylitol-free vanilla ice cream or a little chunk of your ice lolly without it posing any risk to your dog. But you will need to check the label carefully to make sure there are no harmful ingredients, and only let them have a small amount as a special treat.
There are definitely far healthier frozen treat options that you can offer your dog that is just as tasty to them, if not more so. You can make dog-safe ice lollies easily with only a few household ingredients.
There are loads of ways you can make doggy ice lollies!
You could mash and freeze a banana mixed with peanut butter or blueberries. It will be a sweet and creamy treat that tastes so good your dog will go mutts for it. You could also try freezing chunks of watermelon then blending it to make a slushie. These sorts of treats are super quick, cheap, and simple to make, and you know your pup is eating something that’s actually reasonably healthy. Better still, they’re just as tasty on a human tongue, so you and the pup might have to portion some each!
Frozen yoghurt can also make a tasty but cooling treat for your pup whether you keep it plain or mix it with something special like peanut butter, honey, mango, or frozen berries. Try making these healthy peanut butter “pupsicles” as a special treat for your furry friend.
You could also make some diluted gravy and freeze it for your pup. They’re sure to love the meaty treat, just be careful there isn’t too much salt in it.
Finally, you can even freeze your dog’s dinner. Yep, you heard that right. You can either freeze a Kong toy and stuff it with Pure Pet Food to offer an exciting dinner for your dog. Or, just mix their Pure with water as normal, then put it in an ice lolly mould and freeze it. Then you can offer your pooch their dinner in “pupsicle” form, helping to keep them cool and give them a bit of enrichment and variety with their meal. In doing so, you know your pup is still eating a balanced, healthy diet while tucking into a tasty, cooling treat.
Yes, your dog probably can eat a bit of an ice lolly, but it doesn’t mean they should. You will need to be absolutely sure there are no harmful ingredients in the lolly, and make sure they only eat a small amount as a very occasional treat to make sure they don’t eat too much sugar.
On the other hand, you can easily make your own ice lollies at home for your dog that are perfectly safe and only use natural ingredients. There are loads of different ways you can make an ice lolly that your pup can eat using just one or two common household ingredients. DIY dog ice lollies take a matter of minutes to make and are cheaper and healthier than offering your dog a normal ice lolly you might otherwise give to your kids.
You can even roll Pure into tiny balls and pop them in the freezer and feed your dog their complete meal that way in the cooler months. This gives your dog the same effect of an ice lolly, just with a lot more nutritional value and health benefits.
Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS
Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.