Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Or Is Ice Cream Bad For Dogs?

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 dog a couple of licks of that cone you were having? I bet it wasn’t too long ago!

The Issue Of Ice Cream For Dogs And Lactose

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?

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, dog owners should not resort to feeding their dogs ice cream as a treat, as there are much better options out there to go with.

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 dog 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 For Dogs Dangerous?

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

And since most dogs are lactose intolerant, that means that your dog 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:

  • 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 dog 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.

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).

How Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

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.

You also want to stick with flavors that are safe for dogs to eat, the best of which being vanilla.

Flavors like chocolate or raisin are big NO-NO’s, because both these foods can be very toxic to dogs.

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 dog to the nearest emergency pet care center so they can get the necessary treatment.

How Much Ice Cream Can Dogs Eat?

Feeding your dog ice cream that meets the criteria stated above should be done only a few times a year at most.

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 dog 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! 🙂

A Nice Little Alternative To Feeding Your Dog Store Bought Ice Cream

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 dog, something that’s very similar to store bought ice cream – but much healthier for dogs.


So, the next time it’s fiery hot outside and you’re struggling with the temptation of feeding your dog 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 dog 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!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here