We all love to spoil our best friends with tasty “people” treats now and again. Is this harmless, or are we jeopardizing our loved ones health? Ice cream, in moderation, is a harmless and yummy dessert for us humans, but our fur babies have trouble digesting the contents and could have major health issues from specific ingredients.
Puppy Health Hazards
After the weaning stage of their life, dogs have a hard time digesting lactose. Lactose intake as an adult can lead to bad gas, vomiting, diarrhea and bloating. Since most all ice cream is made with milk, cream and some sort of sugar, we’re not off to a fantastic start.
Any ice cream with nuts, nutmeg, spices, caffeine, raisins, artificial flavors and/or chocolate should be forgot about right now. The Humane Society of The United States deemed those ingredients dangerous for canine consumption.
Chocolate is very dangerous. There is a substance called theobromine within chocolate that we process quickly, but dogs do not, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system. A little bit of chocolate may lead to digestive discomfort, while large amounts can lead to irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures, internal bleeding or heart attack.
Also be lerious of a sugar replacement called “xylitol.” Xylitol is very dangerous for our furry little friends. Even just a small amount can lead to a drastic drop in blood sugar causing weakness and lack of coordination.
Lastly, if your dog is already overweight, don’t feed them anything besides a good healthy, well balanced, dog intended diet.
Potential Long Term Effects
It is true, small amounts of vanilla flavored ice cream are preferred and probably won’t send your dog to the vet, and in most cases will be just fine. But is that a reason to continue feeding them ice cream on occasion?
Just like humans, dogs don’t get life threatening health ailments overnight. They sure can get them though.
Continuing to spoil the pooch will lower his quality of life and ultimately limit your time with him. Health risks involved with eating unhealthy foods over a prolonged period of time include
- Weight gain
- Damage to joints, bones and ligaments
- Heart disease
- Difficulty breathing
- Decreased stamina
- Decreased liver function
- Digestive disorders
- Decreased immune function
- Skin and coat problems
- Increased risk of cancer
- Decreased quality and length of life
Ice Cream Alternatives For Your Pooch
Frozen yogurt is a better option than ice cream. It contains less lactose and is fermented. However, stay away from commercial frozen yogurt as it is packed full of sugar, much like ice cream. Lean towards plain, unsweetened yogurt and pop it in the freezer.
Always make sure the yogurt you buy is free of artificial flavorings!
Another option if you are stuck on the idea of ice cream, is “nice cream.” This is a no sugar added, fruit based, vegan version of ice cream made in a food processor with frozen bananas. You can add some peanut butter, strawberries, mango or some blueberries to make it interesting. You should limit the amount of fruit you use, too much can lead to diarrhea. Make sure to steer clear of cherries, grapes and raisins!
Small amounts of vanilla ice cream once in awhile is ok, but still is not a good choice for your fur baby, the alternatives are better, but still not preferred. There are no health benefits for your dog, and you may end up just decreasing his quality and length of life. After all, the greatest gift we can give our best friend, is more time with us.