It’s hard to believe that we are entering into summer and we are about to experience what is commonly known as the dog days. There are a lot of suggestions as to how to keep your dog comfortable during the summer heat, which includes one that carries a rather terrifying tail along with it. It states that giving a dog ice or ice water could possibly kill them. That has many people wondering if it is true.
You’ll be happy to know that veterinary experts say the answer is NO.
A cautionary article was written and published in 2010, but the rumor about ice and ice water harming dogs has been around for quite some time. According to the urban legend, a dog named Baran was given ice cubes in one of his dog bowls to help stay cool during the hot weather. It wasn’t long after that the dog was in distress and rushed to the animal hospital. The veterinarian told the owner that it was the cold water that caused the dog to have violent muscle spasms in the stomach, resulting in bloating. Bloating is a life-threatening condition in dogs, but not when it comes to ice.
If a dog eats or drinks too quickly, it may be possible that they could bloat. It doesn’t have anything to do with the temperature of the water or if there are ice cubes included in it. It is likely that a dog is going to drink water quickly when they are hot and thirsty and air is going to get swallowed in the process. This could result in bloat.
As the dog’s stomach bloats, it traps air inside and twists, keeping the blood from flowing to the stomach and organs in the general area. It isn’t long before the stomach becomes distended and if help isn’t received quickly, the dog could end up in shock, organ failure, or perhaps could die.
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The dogs that are most at risk for this type of problem are large breed dogs because the stomach has more room to twist. Some of the high-risk dogs include German Shepherds, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Standard Poodles, Golden Retrievers, and Irish Setters
Although you may be able to give your dog ice or cold water, it’s a good idea to not allow them to cool off too quickly. Allowing the dog to cool off gradually when they become overheated is important, according to John Geller, a veterinarian.
One thing you could do is to use a wet towel to cool off the dog if they are suspected of overheating or heatstroke. You may also mist them gently with water, although don’t submerge them in water.
“Do not soak the dog in ice water,” says Ruth E. Chodrow, V.M.D., of At-Home Pet Care, a pet house-call service. ”Ice water will close the capillaries of the skin, preventing cooling of the internal organs.”
Another suggestion is to use a fan and allow the dog to lay on a cool floor surface to increase evaporative cooling. When their body temperature is reduced to 103°F, it is not generally necessary to continue with the cooling efforts. If you bring the dog’s temperature down too quickly, it could result in shock or organ failure.
Now that the question has been answered if a dog can enjoy ice cubes or ice water, there is an additional question. What causes bloat and can it be prevented?
According to Geller, bloat is a general term that is associated with an extreme enlargement of the stomach. “Dogs that are greedy eaters and have access to food may overeat, causing food bloat,” he says, according to Pet Central. “Dogs that are excited, anxious or panting a lot may swallow air, causing gas bloat. In both cases, dog owners may notice that their dog’s belly seems enlarged, and their dog appears anxious, distressed, uncomfortable, and may be dry-heaving or vomiting.”
You can help your dog avoid bloat by giving them several small meals every day and not allowing them to drink lots of water all at one time. You might also want to keep them from exercising heavily for an hour after mealtimes.
Even though there is not a problem with giving ice cubes to your dog, there may be some dangers associated with them. It could result in broken teeth if they chew on the ice or it could become lodged in the dog’s throat. If you are going to give ice to your dog, make sure you supervise them.
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