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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Chocolate Ice Cream? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Facts

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate Ice Cream? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Facts

bowl of Chocolate ice cream

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It isn’t uncommon for our canine pals to sneak bites of our food (or for us to feed them from our plates). Our four-legged friends are eager to try anything we put in our mouths! But many of our foods aren’t healthy for our dogs, and some are dangerous for them.

One food that many wonder about the safety of is ice cream. After all, a lick or two of ice cream should be fine for your pet, right?

That’s not always the case, though, particularly when it comes to chocolate ice cream. If you want to know whether dogs can eat chocolate ice cream, the answer is a resounding no! Chocolate ice cream is a potentially dangerous food for dogs, so it should never be given to your pup.


Why Is Chocolate Ice Cream Dangerous?

Chocolate ice cream is dangerous for our dogs because of the chocolate in it. Chocolate is toxic for canines as it contains the methylxanthines, caffeine and theobromine. Dogs cannot metabolize methylxanthines properly, so they’re much more sensitive to the effects of them. Theobromine, in particular, is a big no-no for dogs—even small doses can cause diarrhea,vomiting and restlessness, while large amounts can lead to heart problems, seizures and even death.

Now, if your dog had just a lick of chocolate ice cream, they should be fine, though your dog’s size could come into play as well as the particular ice cream product. The effects of the methylxanthines are dose dependent; the more that is ingested relative to the size of the dog, the worse the effects are. Larger dog breeds can handle small amounts of chocolate better than smaller dog breeds,so if you have a tiny dog, even a lick could cause stomach upset. Different chocolate ice creams will also vary in ingredients and theobromine concentrations. If you have any concerns at all about the amount your dog has eaten or any signs they are showing, contact your vet for advice.

chocolate ice cream
Image Credit: DUSAN-ZIDAR-Shutterstock

Is Chocolate Ice Cream Bad for Other Reasons?

Besides its potential toxicity, this food is just plain unhealthy for your pup.

Ice cream of any kind contains a lot of sugar, fat, and calories, none of which your dog needs. Your pet should get all the calories and fat they require from their dog food; try to keep treats healthy and in small amounts.

As with humans, excess fat and calories add up over time, causing weight gain, which can lead to health issues like pancreatitis, diabetes, and joint problems. Plus, your dog might be lactose intolerant. Not all canines are, but it’s fairly common, so feeding ice cream to your pet could result in gassiness, bloating, and an upset stomach.

Finally, some food companies will use the artificial sweetener xylitol which is very toxic to dogs; causing dangerously low blood sugar and sometimes liver damage. There may be other ingredients in the ice cream that are not good for dogs such as raisins or macadamia nuts.

divider-dog paw

What Do I Do If My Dog Ate Chocolate?

If your dog has gotten into a container of chocolate ice cream and eaten a lot, reach out to your vet or the poison control hotline to find out if it’s a problematic amount. Make sure you check the ingredients list for other potentially harmful ingredients such as raisins, xylitol and macadamia nuts. Your vet may recommend that they see your dog right away, so they can be treated.

Cute and beautiful beagle dog lying on the exam table at the veterinarian. Two vets examining a sick and scared pet with a stethoscope
Image Credit: Beach Creatives, Shutterstock

What’s the treatment for chocolate poisoning?

It depends on when and what kind of chocolate was eaten, and how much of it was consumed. But most likely as a starting point, vomiting will be induced, and activated charcoal will be administered to reduce the amount of toxin entering your pet’s system.


Final Thoughts

Chocolate ice cream is one food you don’t want to give to your dog. Chocolate is toxic for canines and can cause everything from stomach upset to seizures depending on the amount that has been ingested. Plus, ice cream is simply unhealthy for our pups since it contains so much sugar, fat, and calories. Then, there’s the chance that your dog might be lactose intolerant, which causes a whole set of different health problems. It just isn’t worth it to feed your pet chocolate ice cream!

Instead, stick with your pet’s regular diet of good dog food and the occasional healthy dog treat. This will give them all the nutrition needed to stay strong and healthy while still allowing them a snack now and again.

Featured Image Credit: Fabio Balbi, Shutterstock

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