Is it safe to treat my dog to a small ice cream cone?

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Dogs love anything that’s cold and mushy, but ice cream really isn’t the best choice for a treat. If you must, though, give it in very tiny amounts—not even a spoonful–and be sure it’s vanilla, because chocolate contains ingredients poisonous to dogs.

You also need to keep a few other things in mind: The ice cream should not be low-cal, because some artificial sweeteners can be harmful to dogs. Also dogs, like most adult mammals, often have a hard time digesting dairy and that could result in gastrointestinal problems, like diarrhea. Ice cream is also loaded with sugar, so if your dog is diabetic, you’ll want to avoid anything with that substance.

Dogs do deserve special treats now and then, so you may wish to create some homemade ice cream substitutes for her. Keep in mind that:

• Yogurt is a safe substitute for milk. It contains probiotics, which are good for your dog’s digestive health.
• Sugar isn’t good for either humans or non-humans, but your dog can have bananas, berries, apples (as long as there’s no core and seeds—all toxic to dogs) and other safe fruits. (Ask your veterinarian for a complete list.) Add a small amount of honey to sweeten. Alternatively, add savory flavors like low sodium chicken or beef broth, peanut butter, or liver
• Eggs are a very nutritious treat and dogs love them. (Better to give cooked, not raw, eggs, though.)
Doggie Pops:
Here’s a healthy and tasty treat for your dog. In a blender or food processor, combine plain yogurt, one banana and two tablespoons each of peanut butter and honey.
Freeze “pops” in ice cube trays (if you can find ones with unique shapes, such as bones—all the better).
There are also some special dog “ice creams” that are lactose-free and all natural; ask your veterinarian for suggestions.

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