Is Ice Cream Bad For Dogs? Read This Before Feeding Your Dog Ice Cream

white dog running outside

It’s a sunny summer day, and what else comes to mind other than a good old, delicious ice cream cone to kill the heat?

But, when was the last time you wondered whether you could give your puppy a couple of licks of that cone you were having? I bet it wasn’t too long ago!

How Do Lactose And Dairy Affect Dogs?

When it comes to dairy foods, such as cottage cheese, yogurt and milk, all of these contain something called lactose.

And, just like we discussed in articles for each one of these foods, they are fine to give to your dog as long as you meet certain requirements and stick by certain rules.

But, what about ice cream? Can dogs eat ice cream like they can eat the aforementioned dairy products?

Can Dogs Have Ice Cream At All?

Having your dog eat ice cream is a very critical subject that can’t ever be summarized with a simple yes or no answer, which is why the only answer we have is for you to read on.

In a general sense, pet owners should not resort to feeding their puppies ice cream as a treat, as there are much better options out there to go with.

playful dog with long tongue

For example, have you given feeding your dog some natural, frozen yogurt a chance?

Many people will tell you that ice cream is up there with chocolate on the list of treats off limits for dogs because of how dangerous it can be.

9 out of 10 times, the ice cream you’re thinking about feeding your canine has all the ingredients that they should never come across.

But, specific types of ice cream fed to dogs in specific amounts and under specific circumstances which we will be discussing in this article is a perfectly fine thing to do.

It just becomes dangerous when someone goes and feeds their dog ice cream without knowing the important facts they need to know.



Why Is Ice Cream Not Safe For Dogs?

To start off, ice cream, and just like other dairy products, contains high levels of lactose.

And since most dogs and puppies are lactose intolerant, that means that your pet can get really sick if their body isn’t able to properly digest that lactose.

The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs are: ice cream cone

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal upset

If your dogs consumes ice cream (or any other dairy product for that matter) and shows any of these signs around 30-120 minutes after, then you can be sure that they are lactose intolerant.

If you don’t know yet whether your dog is lactose intolerant or not, try feeding them a very small amount of ice cream and look out for any potential side effects mentioned above.

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, then they are most likely lactose intolerant. If not, then your dog is one lucky boy/girl!

Moreover, ice cream tends to contain very high levels of sugar, salt and artificial sweeteners that are all toxic to dogs, not to mention the fact that it can easily damage the teeth of your dog in the long haul if you make a habit out of feeding your canine ice cream.

(A quick note since we mentioned how much sugar ice cream contains – if your dog is diabetic or even pre-diabetic, any form if ice cream is off limits for them.

sad dog outside

It’s just too dangerous of a risk to take, as even the slightest mistake may cause a very adverse reaction when it comes to their blood sugar levels).



What Kind Of Ice Cream Can Dogs Eat?

Assuming your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, they can go ahead and eat ice cream, but again under certain conditions.

Just to mention that even if your dog is lactose intolerant, you can still feed them some ice cream if you try to search for a lactose-free brand of ice cream, as that should decrease any negative side effects.

Can dogs have vanilla ice cream? Vanilla ice cream is the best flavor to feed your pet because it has less flavors added to it, making is the safest option.

Flavors like chocolate or raisin are big NO-NO’s, because both these foods can be very toxic to dogs. Even flavors like strawberry or pistachio are not recommended to feel your pup.

Moreover, you must make sure that any ice cream you feed your dog doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners.

The most dangerous artificial sweeteners to dogs being used today is xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be deadly to dogs.

So, make sure any kind of ice cream you feed your dog does not contain xylitol.

If you know that any of the mentioned events in this section happened with your dog, and/or see unusual symptoms that are a sign of something wrong, then you should immediately get your companion to the nearest emergency pet care center so they can get the necessary treatment.



How Often And How Much Can Dogs Have Ice Cream?

So how often can dogs have vanilla ice cream? Feeding your furry friend ice cream that meets the criteria stated above should be done only a few times a year at most.

excited dog in the grass

Even if your dog doesn’t seem to have any problems digesting dairy products and is not lactose intolerant, you want to limit their consumption of ice cream as much as possible due to the very high levels of sugar included.

This is why besides you sticking to very low sugar ice cream and making sure that no artificial sweeteners are there, you have to keep the amounts of ice cream you feed your dog to a minimum quantity.

One of the most popular times that dog parents like to use the ice cream surprise card on their dogs is during their birthday celebrations.

Feeding your dog ice cream once a year makes sure that your pet isn’t feeling left out on anything, and you make sure that you don’t have anything to worry about.

Keep your strongest cards for the most important events, everyone! 🙂



Homemade Dog Ice Cream Recipe (The Best Alternative)

At the end of this article, we’d like to share with you a couple of our favorite recipes online for anyone looking for a fast, easy and healthy way to whip up something at home to feed their canine, something that’s very similar to store bought ice cream – but much healthier for dogs.


Here’s a helpful video of another DIY ice cream recipe for your pup!

So, the next time it’s fiery hot outside and you’re struggling with the temptation of feeding your puppy some of the ice cream you’re having, you won’t have to struggle – you’ll already be prepared with all the information you need to know about beforehand, and you will have ideally prepared some of these ice cream alternatives for your canine when the time comes.


  1. Thank you for the helpful information. We have found out the hard way our dog is lactose intolerant. We will not make this mistake again.

  2. I am the proud owner of a pug who is now 14 years of age. I am also the proud owner of five children. From the earliest time I can remember my children would feed our pug cheese and cheese sticks. He never had any adverse reaction to these products and it has become a part of his daily meal. Along with that he does not eat dog food! He eats chicken, beef, turkey, duck, Apple, sweet potatoes and a variety of other things and according to my vet he is one of the healthiest pugs she’s ever seen!

  3. my ten year old Bichon Frise has been diagnosed with liver cancer and is steadley losing weight and probly has not long to live. As the doctor told my mother when my father had liver cancer “let him eat whatever he wants”. I will do the same for my dog and let him eat all the vanilla ice cream he wants.

  4. Thanks for the help. A few hours ago I gave my dog vanilla ice cream and it is yet to be a big mistake. He does have bad gas for a small dog like him.He rarely ever lets out gas. I surely won’t make another mistake like this.

  5. my dog is a three-year-old golden retriever and she loves ice cream! she is not lactose intolerance. my ice cream parlor in town has a special doggy ice cream sundae that I get for her once a week for a summer treat.
    I was wondering what other flavors other than vanilla can she have?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

I accept the Privacy Policy