Mint ice cream isn’t toxic, so your dog can occasionally eat it in small amounts. However, just because your dog can eat something doesn’t mean they always should. There are several factors to consider when giving your dog mint ice cream, and owners may agree that it’s simply not worth the risk and will find an alternative treat. Still, having all the facts to make your own decision is a good idea.
Is Mint Ice Cream Harmful to Dogs?
The answer to this question depends very much on the ingredients. Classic mint ice cream is not toxic. However, it shouldn’t be served to your dog excessively because of the high sugar and fat content, not to mention the lactose. In the short term, they can negatively affect your dog’s digestive system, as most dogs are lactose intolerant. And in the long term, they can cause your dog to gain weight, become obese, and potentially develop diabetes and joint problems.
In general, ice cream can be bad for your dog, not just specifically the mint variety. So, let’s look at why more closely:
- Lactose intolerance: As dogs grow out of puppyhood, they can become lactose intolerant. If your dog then consumes dairy, it can lead to gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Fat: Ice cream contains high amounts of fat which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is common in canines, but a less common result of eating a high-fat diet is pancreatitis.
- Sugar: Ice cream is high in sugar, which can harm dogs if consumed in large quantities. Too much sugar in their diet can result in dental problems, digestive upset, obesity, and diabetes.
- Toxic ingredients: Ice cream can contain the sugar substitute xylitol, which can cause severe health issues for a dog. Xylitol poisoning can cause seizures, vomiting, liver failure, loss of coordination, and death. Mint ice cream sometimes contains chocolate chips. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and should be avoided.
How to Safely Serve Mint Ice Cream to Your Dog
We recommend speaking to your veterinarian before giving your dog this tasty treat.
If you decide to give your dog mint ice cream, make sure you offer it in small portions, such as a couple of licks, and monitor them for signs of an upset stomach. You might see signs like bloating, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea within about 2 hours if the ice cream doesn’t agree with your dog’s stomach.
Alternative Cool Treats for Your Dog
If you’re not interested in serving mint ice cream, there are other cool treats you can feed your dog. You can blend bananas, yogurt, and mint together for a treat with less lactose and lower fat content. Freezing it in ice cube trays creates a cool treat for hot days that is healthier than ice cream. You could even change it up by swapping out the mint for peanut butter or adding in other dog-friendly ingredients like apples or oats.
Mint itself is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts and can make a refreshing change. But always check the variety as English pennyroyal is a variety of mint that is toxic to dogs. Make sure you don’t feed your dog too much mint, as it can cause an upset stomach.
Vegan ice cream or frozen yogurt are also good alternatives to traditional ice cream since they have less sugar and lactose. Also, ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s have introduced a nondairy, frozen dessert made especially for dogs. One is made with pumpkin and cookies, and the other is made with pretzel swirls and peanut butter. Again, these treats should only be served occasionally, and not as part of your pup’s regular diet.
What Happens If Your Dog Eats Ice Cream Containing Harmful Ingredients?
Accidents can happen; maybe you spilled some ice cream or didn’t check the ingredients list as closely as you should have. Your first step is to identify what makes the ice cream harmful. For example, contact your vet if it contains xylitol or chocolate. If your dog hasn’t eaten much ice cream, you may be able to monitor your dog at home. Call your vet back if you notice signs of illness like diarrhea or vomiting.
In most cases, your dog will be fine because they have to eat a lot for it to be harmful. However, it depends on your dog’s size, age, and overall health. So, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and check with a professional, just in case!
Dogs can eat plain mint ice cream, but only occasionally. The high sugar and fat content can cause long-term harm to them, and most dogs are actually lactose intolerant, making consumption of dairy a cause for an upset stomach. Check the ingredients before sharing ice cream with your pup because ingredients such as xylitol and chocolate are toxic.
There are alternative, refreshing treats you can offer your dog instead of traditional mint ice cream, so if you decide it’s not worth the risk, you can share something that’s equally as tasty while enjoying the sunshine!
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