Claiming: Giving ice cubes to overheated dogs is dangerous
Relax – giving your hot dog ice cubes won’t harm it.
That comes out from organizations like the American Kennel Club. However, if all you’re getting is pet advice from Facebook, you may have heard the opposite.
“PLEASE DO NOT give your dogs ice cubes or other frozen items in the heat to cool them down!” Read the text in a July 9th post that was shared nearly 3,000 times before it was deleted. “Giving the dogs ice cubes in the heat has the opposite effect of cooling.”
The recently reappeared warning about ice cubes dates back to 2010 and has been circulating on the Internet since at least 2014.
However, veterinarians say it is a perfectly acceptable way to give dogs in moderation ice cubes to keep them cool.
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“(I) was just trying to be a good person, maybe it’s not true,” said Lindsey Racher Tanner, the Facebook user who shared the post, in a message to USA TODAY. “I didn’t know it was going to be shared a lot. I think I’ll delete it (because it looks like it) like it could be wrong. I’m not a vet.”
USA TODAY reached out to other social media users who shared the post for a comment.
Ice can help keep dogs cool
The rumor that ice cubes are bad for dogs has been around the internet for years. Vets, news outlets, and independent fact-checking organizations have exposed this, saying that small amounts of ice – given as treats or in water bowls – can help dogs cool off.
Citing experiences with “animal customers,” including the death of a 7-year-old dog, it says on social media posts that ice cubes actually make dogs warmer by triggering what is known as the dog’s anterior hypothalamus. In extreme heat, a dog’s temperature should be “gradually lowered” by giving him lukewarm water, the post said.
The idea that dogs should have limited access to water when overheated is true. But the claim that ice is harmful has been refuted for years.
“In theory, cold food can warm you up, but only to maintain your core temperature. If the dog is already uncomfortably warm, its cooling systems are already working at full speed,” David Harris, UK veterinarian, wrote in 2018 a blog post for Vet Help Direct. “By doing it – very easily! – cool down with ice cubes, you actually help them. “
But that doesn’t mean you want to give your dog a huge bowl of ice water after a long, hot walk.
Drinking excessively or drinking too quickly can cause gas, a term used to describe gastric dilatation volvulus. The potentially life-threatening condition occurs when a dog’s stomach expands and expands, building pressure that can rupture, prevent the lungs from expanding, or twist the stomach in the abdomen.
“Dogs should always be able to cool off after a lot of energy and excitement before being offered free access to food and water, much like the way racehorses are led and cooled after a race,” said Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer at the Kennel Club , wrote in a blog post on June 23. “You can offer them water, but only small amounts at a time, until the dog is calmer and rested. Free access can be granted at that time.”
More:How to keep pets safe in the heat, according to a veterinarian
Ice cubes can actually help prevent gas because they “slow down water intake by overly excited dogs,” wrote Klein. However, pet owners should not put their dogs in an ice bath, as this can cool them down too quickly.
If your dog is showing symptoms of heat stroke – such as severe panting, drooling, or vomiting – the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends dwelling him, pouring cold water over him, and giving him small amounts of water to drink .
“Animals are particularly at risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to exercise, or have heart or respiratory problems,” says their Humane Society website.
Our rating: wrong
Based on our research, we rate the claim that it is dangerous to give ice cubes to overheated dogs FALSE. Veterinarians and independent fact-checking organizations have debunked the rumor that has been circulating on the internet for years. Giving dogs ice cubes as treats or in water bowls can help them cool off in hot weather and moderate their water consumption.
Our fact check sources:
- Lindsey Racher Tanner, July 9, Facebook (deleted)
- Lindsey Racher Tanner, July 14th Facebook exchange with USA TODAY
- American Kennel Club, June 23rd, Can Dogs Have Ice Cubes?
- USA TODAY, Jul 11, relief in sight as extreme heat wave breaks further records in west. For Death Valley? Cooler temperatures mean 120-125.
- Diane Bach, July 17, Facebook
- Snopes, June 17, 2014, Is ice water dangerous for dogs?
- Agence France-Presse, July 25, Feeding a dog ice cubes is not fatal
- Vet Help Direct, July 31, 2018, Can I put ice in my dog’s water bowl?
- Veterinary News, Jul 9, 2014, What to Tell Your Customers About the Ice Water and Dog Rumors
- American College of Veterinary Surgeons, accessed July 20, Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, accessed July 20, Heat Stroke
- ABC News, June 20, 2014, Will Ice Cubes and Ice Water Kill Your Dog This Summer?
- Humane Society, invoked July 20, Keep Pets Safe in the Heat
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