Can I give my dog ice cubes as treats?

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Dogs love to chew on ice. Even more, they love to play with ice cubes.

So, is it safe to give them? Well, the answer to that depends on who you talk to. While some suggest filling the water bowl at night with ice, others say it should be avoided at all costs.

It’s generally okay as long as you do it in moderation, once or twice a week, but here are some things to look out for:

• Ice cubes can be good—or bad—for the teeth. On one hand, the ice can soothe inflamed and painful gums which is great is your puppy is teething. Also, any kind of chewing action can help remove plaque. On the other hand, the ice cube can be too big and hard for a smaller dog and could end up chipping delicate teeth.
• Ice cubes can get stuck in the throat. Many argue that, since the ice melts, this isn’t a concern, but others worry that it will put undue stress on the dog. After all, no one wants to choke!
• The ice cubes could pick up odors from other refrigerator food and be unappealing.
• If your dog is playing with the ice cube and it keeps going back and forth on the floor, it could pick up dirt, bacteria or other harmful items that, once the ice cube unfreezes a little, could stick to the cube.
• Muscles tend to contract—a lot—whenever they’re placed in cold. (Think about what would happen to you if you fell into a frozen lake.) So if you think your dog is experiencing heat exhaustion, the best way to cool her down is with room temperature water—not ice—because that contraction could result in a veterinary emergency. There have been reports of that happening with ice cubes.
• It sometimes causes tummy upsets.

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