Blue Cross Reveal How To Safely Give Your Dog Ice Cubes In The Sun
With the UK experiencing scorching temperatures this week, our dogs are feeling the heat too.
Heatstroke in dogs can be fatal, so it's essential that your pup has easy access to shade and plenty of water in the hot weather.
From walking your pooch at cooler times of the day, to installing a paddling pool in the back garden for your pet, there are all sorts of ways to help your furry companion cool down.
One such method that seems to divide opinion is feeding your dog ice cubes.
Some owners swear by it, while others point to risks like choking, bloating and broken teeth.
So, should we be feeding our dogs ice cubes? And if so, how can we do it safely?
Caroline Reay, clinical lead at Blue Cross animal hospital in London, thinks it's safe to offer your dog an ice cube in the heat, so long as you follow a few pointers.
She told Tyla: "I don't see an issue with feeding ice cubes to your dog in the warm weather but it's important to remember that the ice cube should always be appropriate to the size of the dog.
"You don't want to be giving a tiny Chihuahua a big ice cube, for example."
For smaller breeds or dogs that are aggressive chewers, "only offering small cubes or ice shavings" is a way to prevent any problems.
As to the subject of bloating, Caroline says: "There's no real foundation to the idea that ice cubes cause bloating in dogs - the two aren't known to be connected."
Blue Cross advise that dog owners can: "Make ice cubes or lollies with your dog's favourite treat inside, or stuff a Kong and pop it into the freezer.
Alternatively, "you could fill a bowl with some low-salt stock scattered with a few treats and freeze it - or even throw in a toy or two, adding enrichment for your pet while cooling them down.
"Frozen carrots or apple slices are also a tasty - but healthy - snack to refresh your pet on a hot day."
You can also try cooling techniques like drenching a towel in cool - but not really cold - water, and drape it over your dog. Just ensure you do not leave these over your dog for long periods once the towel warms up!
Filling a spray bottle with cool water and misting your dog regularly will help keep body temperatures down.
For Blue Cross' full list of top tips for keeping your dog cool - and safe - in the summer, click here.
Caroline advises that if your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, such as excessive panting or being unusually lethargic, then "rapid cooling may be unhelpful".
Ice cubes will not help a dog with heatstroke - instead, it's best to "thoroughly wet the dog's coat, position it in a draught somewhere in the shade, and call the vet".
Heatstroke in dogs - knowing the signs and how to prevent it:
- Heatstroke can be fatal and requires urgent veterinary attention.
- Use the tips above to prevent your dog from overheating and avoid any stress for them.
- But continue to watch your pet for signs of over-heating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs when on a walk, stop, find a shady spot, give your dog water and wet the coat. Contact your vet immediately.
- Never leave your dog (or any pet) alone in a car, even with the windows open - and alert call 999 right away if you see a dog trapped in a car on a hot day.
- Be particularly careful with short nosed dogs such as bull breeds, boxers, pugs, older dogs, and those that are overweight. These dogs can get heatstroke simply by running around.
- Heatstroke can result in collapse, excessive panting, purple gums and redness of the skin - if this happens, give water, wet the coat or cool your dog with a wet towel and contact your vet immediately.
- Read more about keeping your dog safe in summer here.
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