Is It Safe For My Puppy To Eat Ice?

For puppies, chewing on stuff is a way of life. There’s just something about chewing that they genuinely love, mostly due to innate forces and instinct. Instinct or not, however, there’s no denying that puppies chew like mad, so making sure they have plenty to chew on is essential.

The thing about chewing, though, is that your puppy’s teeth are still immature, fragile, and can be easily damaged if they chew on something too hard. They don’t know the difference, which puts the responsibility on you to provide them with the appropriate chew toys and treats for their age.

Most manufacturers make chew toys, bones, and treats specifically for puppies, which is certainly helpful. They take into account that your pup’s teeth still haven’t matured and strengthened fully. To that end, these treats and bones are softer and more pliable so that when chewing like mad, your pup won’t accidentally chip, break or otherwise damage one or more of their teeth.

One thing many puppy parents like to give their puppy to chew is ice, especially on a hot day. Chewing on ice is something most puppies love to do, but it brings up an important question I often hear from readers: Is it safe for my puppy to eat ice?

The answer is that, in most cases, yes, it’s safe for your puppy to eat ice. There is a slight risk of damaging a tooth or choking for very young puppies, but it’s very low. Ice is also a fantastic method of reducing your pup’s teething pain, and since it’s just water, the nutritional health risks are practically nonexistent. 

Now that you know that, yes, it is safe for your puppy to eat ice, I’m willing to bet you have more questions. For example, is ice bad for a puppy’s teeth? Also, is ice water bad for dogs, and what are the risks of chewing on ice cubes. If so, read on. I’ve got the answers to those questions and several more below. As a new puppy parent, it’s great information to help you raise your pupper into a healthy, happy dog.

Why do Dogs like to Chew on Ice?

One of the more interesting reasons that puppies like to chew on ice is for the sound. The thing is, dogs can hear extremely well, and the noise of crunching ice is music to their ears. (It’s the same when they chew on bones.)

Also, to a puppy, an ice cube is more of a chew toy than a treat. Indeed, it’s a great way to keep them amused on a hot day and cool them off simultaneously. Plus, dogs and puppies instinctively know that an ice cube, and the water it makes, will help them cool down.

In short, dogs love the sensation of chewing on ice cubes, love to play with them, and also instinctively know that the cold will cool their body off on a hot day. For those reasons, they love chewing on ice cubes!

Hazards of Puppies Eating Ice

Although it is relatively safe to give your puppy ice cubes to lick and chew, some risks are involved. The most obvious is the risk of choking if they try to swallow an ice cube too large for their throat. However, most puppies won’t try to do this as they are too interested in licking and chewing on the ice cube. (Swallowing an ice cube typically happens accidentally.)

While adult dogs with strong teeth will generally not have a problem chewing ice cubes, a young puppy might. The reason is that their teeth are still weaker and immature and prone to breakage if they chew on something too hard. The risk, frankly, is low, but if your puppy chews on an ice cube and breaks a tooth, neither of you will be very happy about it.

Much older dogs with weaker teeth, gums, and jaws can also have a problem chewing on ice cubes. A broken tooth caused by chewing on ice can be extremely painful and require doggie dental surgery to correct.

Some puppy parents worry that eating ice cubes will cause their puppy to bloat, but based on the evidence I’ve seen, the chance of this happening is extremely rare. They would have to eat an entire tray of ice cubes quickly for bloat to occur, and, even then, it might not.

Is Ice Bad for Puppies’ Teeth? 

As I mentioned earlier, ice cubes can be hazardous to your puppy’s teeth, especially much younger puppies whose teeth are still relatively weak and immature.  However, it’s relatively rare for a puppy to break a tooth when chewing on ice. 

If you’re worried, you can give your puppy shaved ice or ice chips rather than whole ice cubes, which are smaller and softer. By the way, both are better for small-breed puppies, as they have smaller mouths and teeth.

Is Ice Water Bad for Puppies? 

In 2010 an article was written that, for the last decade-plus, has been causing concern among puppy parents. It was titled “No Ice Water for Dogs…Please Read ASAP.” 

The article told the tail (pun intended) of a show dog named Baran. It seems that Baran was given water with ice cubes in it to help him cool off during a hot day at a show. Within a few minutes, the poor dog was having, as the article claimed, violent stomach muscle spasms that caused him to bloat, a life-threatening condition.  

However, one thing to keep in mind is that, while the cold water might have played a small role, it’s highly unusual for cold water to make this happen. It’s more likely that Baran drank too much water too quickly, which can cause bloat even if the water is room temperature. The fact that the water was cold likely had very little or no impact on the situation.

In other words, no, ice water is not bad for dogs or puppies. It’s much riskier to let them drink too much water all at once, which might happen if your puppy is overheated and trying desperately to cool off on a hot day.

Giving Puppies Ice Cubes on a Hot Day is Usually No Problem

If you’ve considered your puppy’s age, size, teeth, and capacity to eat them at a moderate pace, giving your pup ice cubes shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a good idea to keep them in sight as they dig in and, if they’re smaller, give them smaller ice cubes, shaved ice, or crushed ice.

Final Thoughts

In answer to the question, is it safe for my puppy to eat ice, the answer is that, yes, in most cases, giving them ice cubes on a hot day is perfectly fine. However, the younger the puppy, the higher the risk that they could break a tooth or choke. That’s why it’s a good idea not to give very young puppies ice cubes but shaved or crushed ice instead. 

Did you find the answers you were looking for in today’s blog? I certainly hope you did and that it helped you understand the pros and cons of giving ice to your puppy. If you have more questions or would like to educate yourself further on how to raise your precious pup, please see my other blogs. I do my best to fill them with real-world, useful information and advice. Until next time, have fun being a puppy parent, one of life’s genuine pleasures.