Can My Dog Eat Vanilla Ice Cream?


Who doesn’t love vanilla ice cream? We certainly do! However, it can be hard to enjoy your tub of ice cream when you’ve got the biggest pair of puppy dog eyes staring up at you. Dogs have their own unique way of getting us to share our food with them, and ice cream is often no exception.

The important thing to remember is that dogs are happy to eat anything you give them. They have no idea whether these treats are good or bad for them – they’re just happy to be eating something tasty. That includes things like chocolate, onions, grapes, and even ice cream. Treats that shouldn’t be given to your dog because they can make them very, very ill!

We’re sure that you love your dog, and want to take the best care of them that you can. So you will of course be wondering, can my dog eat vanilla ice cream? And can they eat vanilla bean ice cream?

While dogs may try their best to get you to share your vanilla ice cream with them, you should avoid giving it to them. This is because some dogs are lactose intolerant, so giving them ice cream can cause them to be ill. Ice cream in general is also a high sugary treat, which can lead to diabetes and obesity issues.

So in short, you should avoid giving your dog vanilla ice cream. It’s actually very bad for them. However, if ice cream is given in moderation on very rare occasions, they should be okay to lick the spoon or the empty tub without suffering too many side effects. If in doubt, you should always check with your vet first.

Dogs and Vanilla Ice Cream

You will be pleased to know there is a safer alternative sweet treat that has been designed with dogs in mind! Puppy Scoops ice cream mix for dogs has been designed with your pooch in mind. This will be a much safer alternative than the high sugar ice cream you eat yourself.

All you need to do is add water to the mixture, then freeze it. Then you can scoop it right into your dog’s bowl for them to join in with your ice cream feast! You won’t have to worry about this ice cream alternative being safe for your dogs, as they can eat as much as they like without you worrying about them getting ill.

This dog friendly ice cream will be much better for them than your human ice cream. It doesn’t contain any grains, gluten, or dairy, and only has a small amount of sugar. It also doesn’t have any nasty sweeteners which can be toxic for dogs.

Is ice cream bad for dogs?

The short answer is yes, ice cream is bad for dogs if it’s eaten in large amounts. However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that ice cream can be bad for dogs in small amounts, too.

That’s because ice cream has a high sugar content, and some even include toxic sweeteners which will have a detrimental impact on your dog’s health. Not to mention the high dairy content which some dogs struggle with!

Toxic sweeteners

Some ice creams include toxic sweeteners such as xylitol – even some of the cheaper brands. This is typically used as a substitute for sugar. Xylitol is toxic for dogs, and can even cause low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia.

This is because your dog’s pancreas will confuse the sweetener with actual sugar. It then produces more insulin, which actually removes the real sugar from your dog’s bloodstream. Your dog’s sugar levels then plummet.

Xylitol can also cause liver failure, which is much more serious. It’s also unknown what exactly about the sweetener causes liver failure, but we’re sure you don’t want to risk it with your beloved dog.

Most of the cases this has been discovered from are when dogs get their paws on some chewing gum. However, seeing as xylitol is also in some brands of ice cream, we’re sure you don’t want to risk it happening to your pooch.

True, your dog would need to eat a ton of vanilla ice cream to suffer from these horrible side effects. Moderation is key, after all. However, because there is still a risk of your dog getting ill from eating vanilla ice cream, it’s worth being a little bit more cautious. Just because your dog can eat vanilla ice cream, doesn’t mean they should eat vanilla ice cream.

High sugar content of vanilla ice cream

Another factor for you to consider is the fact that ice cream has a high sugar content. This does make it very tasty for us, but also not that great for your dog.

Sugar is bad for humans too, of course. But it also has a variety of adverse health effects for your dog. This includes making them more likely to develop obesity, weight problems, diabetes, as well as tooth decay.

Sugar works similarly on dogs as it does on humans. We’re sure you’ve experienced the sugar crash after the initial sugar high. Dogs can also experience the same symptoms of lethargy, irritability, moodiness, and sleepiness.

They will also crave more sugar once the crash hits, and it’s not always easy for you as their owner to say no to their pleading face.

Lactose intolerance

Another factor to consider is that some dogs are lactose intolerant. This can lead to some nasty side effects if dogs eat ice cream, including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, or vomiting. Unfortunately, some dogs just don’t have the cast iron stomach they need to cope with eating dairy products.

Lactose intolerance basically means your dogs have difficulty when digesting milk. Interestingly, this doesn’t mean a blanket intolerance for all dairy products. Some dogs may find it difficult to drink milk, however, be able to eat cheese or yogurt just fine. This is because certain dairy products can be easier for them to digest than others.

In complete contrast to this, some dogs aren’t able to tolerate any dairy products at all. Often young puppies have weaker stomachs and won’t be able to handle rich treats like vanilla ice cream. Some dogs can even develop allergies after eating dairy products, which can lead to more lifelong issues.

Your dog won’t suffer from any immediate issues if given ice cream in small amounts, it could lead to more issues later in their life if you give them ice cream as a regular treat. If your dog suffers from diabetes, obesity, lactose intolerance, or allergies, eating vanilla ice cream could pose more of a problem.

Can dogs eat vanilla ice cream?

As we’ve covered in more detail above, we can safely say that vanilla ice cream is not healthy or safe for dogs to eat. Especially not as a regular treat! There are plenty of ingredients in human ice cream which can have a detrimental effect on your dog’s health.

Letting them lick the spoon or empty tub every now and again shouldn’t be that bad, but you should always weigh up the risks before doing so. If you’re particularly nervous about how eating vanilla ice cream could affect your particular dog, you should always check with your vet beforehand.

Calorie content and ingredients

Need a little more convincing? Let’s take a look at the typical ingredients and calorie content of vanilla ice cream in a little more detail. Each tub will be different, of course, but they tend to follow similar recipes and have similar ingredients. These tend to look like: Pasteurized Milk, Pasteurized Cream, Cane Sugar, Nonfat Dry Milk, Vanilla Extract, Stabilizer Blend (Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Cane Sugar), Organic Annatto Extract (Color).

We’re sure there are loads of ingredients listed above that you wouldn’t want your dog to eat. Especially the artificial ingredients!

Calories are another concern for your dog. Just a small portion of ice cream can make up a large percentage of your dog’s daily calorie intake. The recommended daily calorie intake will differ from dog to dog. Vets recommend that you stick to around 25 calories for every pound that your dog weighs as a general rule. It’s also recommended that treats only account for 10% of your dog’s diet.

To better understand how allowing your dog to eat vanilla ice cream regularly will be detrimental to their health, let’s take a look at the average weight of two dog breeds. We’re going to look at two of the most popular breeds: French bulldogs and Labradors.

If we look at the average weight of both French bulldogs and Labradors, we can better work out what their maximum calorie intake should be. We can also take a look at how eating vanilla ice cream regularly can affect that!

The average French bulldog tends to weigh 25 pounds. This means they shouldn’t eat more than 625 calories per day. The average Labrador weighs around 70 pounds, which means they shouldn’t eat more than 1,750 calories per day. Labradors in particular tend to struggle with obesity problems, particularly if they don’t get a lot of exercise.

Now let’s take a look at some of the more popular brands of vanilla ice cream. Taking a look at how many calories are in a serving can help us figure out what percentage of the dogs’ daily calorie intake this would be.

Blue Ribbon vanilla ice cream has 150 calories per serving. This accounts for 24% of a French bulldog’s and 9% of a Labrador’s daily calorie intake.

Edy’s vanilla bean ice cream has 170 calories per serving. This accounts for 27% of a French bulldog’s and 10% of a Labrador’s daily calorie intake.

Tillamook vanilla bean ice cream has 210 calories per serving. This accounts for 34% of a French bulldog’s and 12% of a Labrador’s daily intake.

Walmart great value vanilla ice cream has 170 calories per serving. Similar to Edy’s vanilla ice cream, this accounts for 27% of a French bulldog’s and 10% of a Labrador’s daily calorie intake.

At first glance, the calorie intake might not seem that bad for larger dogs such as Labradors. However, for medium and smaller dogs, it can have disastrous effects. Also, some breeds like Labradors are notorious for having obesity problems. This means that eating vanilla ice cream regularly could still have detrimental effects on their health, even though it only accounts for a small portion of their daily calorie intake.

Can my dog eat McDonald’s ice cream?

You may think that giving your dog McDonald’s ice cream is okay. However, this will still have the same issues as other vanilla ice cream. Perhaps even more so, as McDonald’s ice cream often comes with toppings like chocolate, which can be very harmful to dogs.

We would advise against giving your dog McDonald’s ice cream just to be on the safe side.

How much ice cream can a dog eat safely?

Still determined to give your dog vanilla ice cream as a treat? Then moderation is key. To be on the safe side, you should give your dog no more than a single spoonful of ice cream. We would recommend monitoring their reaction to the treat for at least 24 hours to determine if it will make your dog sick.

If your dog doesn’t react badly to eating ice cream, then you should be okay to give them the odd spoonful every now and then. We would still advise against giving it to your dog as a regular treat. Certainly no more than once a week!

What to do if vanilla ice cream makes your dog sick?

Unfortunately, despite your best intentions, treats like vanilla bean ice cream can still make your dog very ill. If it’s nothing more than just a mild upset stomach, then you can consider yourself lucky.

Here’s what to do if your dog is sick after eating ice cream.

First you should fast them for a day. This allows the stomach to empty and prevents their reaction from getting worse. They should still have access to clean, fresh water, though!

Next you should feed them boiled chicken with plain rice. Start with giving them a few small portions of this a day. This is a tried and tested method for upset stomachs in dogs. After a few days, they should be able to return to their normal feeding routine.

If you notice any more serious signs in your dog such as a painful and hard swollen belly, dehydration, lethargy, blood or vomit in your dog’s feces, you should contact your vet immediately.

Again, if you know your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, you should always consult with your vet.

In Summary

So there you have it! Your dog should be fine with a little treat every now and then, however, you should always use common sense when feeding your dog anything.

Some dogs may be okay with vanilla ice cream as the occasional treat, whereas others can react more violently to it. In general we would advise against giving your dog vanilla ice cream just to be on the safe side. There are plenty of dog friendly alternatives you can give them instead!

Moderation is key! And if in doubt, always consult with your vet before giving your dog anything to eat that you are unsure about.

Kerry White

Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.

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