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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream Cones? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Healthy Diet Tips

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream Cones? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Healthy Diet Tips

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Dr. Chyrle Bonk

Veterinarian, DVM

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

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As dog owners, we often share the joys of life with our furry friends. One such joy is savoring a delicious ice cream cone on a sunny day. But can dogs indulge in this sweet treat as we do? The answer is more complex than it appears. While dogs technically can eat ice cream cones as long as they don’t contain chocolate or xylitol, they really shouldn’t as ice cream cones aren’t healthy for dogs. Let’s dive into this doggie dietary question.


What Is an Ice Cream Cone?

An ice cream cone is a crispy, edible holder for ice cream, typically crafted from ingredients like flour, sugar, and eggs. They come in various forms, including waffle cones, sugar cones, and cake cones. While they’re delightful for humans, are they equally safe for our canine companions?

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream Cones?

Technically, dogs can eat ice cream cones. However, it’s not recommended. Here’s why:

Choking Hazard

One potential concern is the potential choking hazard that ice cream cones pose. Dogs, unlike humans, don’t always chew their food thoroughly. A piece of the cone could get lodged in their throat, leading to choking.

High Sugar Content

fat chihuahua dog
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Ice cream cones are generally high in sugar, which isn’t ideal for dogs. Excessive sugar intake can lead to obesity in dogs, just like in humans. Obesity can lead to other health problems over time, including diabetes and joint issues.


Many ice cream cones and ice creams are made using artificial sweeteners, one of which is xylitol. This substance is incredibly toxic to dogs and can cause severe side effects such as hypoglycemia, liver failure, and even death.

Dangerous Ingredients

Ice cream cones may also contain other ingredients that could be dangerous for your pup. Many of the store-bought kinds can be made with chocolate or nuts,  which can cause adverse reactions in dogs.


Signs Your Dog Is Not Feeling Well

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After your dog has eaten an ice cream cone, you’ll want to monitor their behavior and physical condition. Dogs can’t tell us when they’re feeling unwell, so we need to be vigilant about spotting signs of distress.

  • Vomiting: If your dog starts vomiting or bringing up food or bile, this could indicate a problem, particularly if they’ve recently eaten something unsuitable.
  • Diarrhea: This is another sign of potential digestive upset that could result from consuming inappropriate food like an ice cream cone.
  • Loss of Appetite: If your normally ravenous dog suddenly becomes disinterested in their meals, this could be a sign of ill health.
  • Lethargy: Decreased activity levels or unusual amounts of sleep can suggest your dog isn’t feeling their best.
  • Unusual Behavior: Be on the lookout for increased aggression, excessive licking or chewing, or changes in bathroom habits. These behaviors can all indicate that your dog may be feeling unwell.

If your dog shows any of the above signs after eating an ice cream cone, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for advice.

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Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

Ice Cream Cones with sugar chips (Mint, Strawberry and Vanilla)
Image Credit: Anna-Mari West, Shutterstock

While we’re discussing this, it’s worth noting that the ice cream itself also poses risks to dogs. Traditional ice cream, made for human consumption, is not suitable for dogs to eat in high amounts. Even seemingly harmless flavors like vanilla or strawberry should only be given in very small amounts.

Lactose intolerance is prevalent in dogs, so ice cream, which is dairy-based, can cause digestive issues like diarrhea and vomiting. Also, similar to ice cream cones, many ice creams contain high levels of sugar and potentially harmful sweeteners like xylitol.

What About the Occasional Pup Cup?

In recent years, several ice cream shops have started offering “Pup Cups,” small servings of dog-friendly vanilla ice cream or whipped cream usually served in a small cup. These are generally safer options than traditional ice cream or ice cream cones, as they aren’t harmful to dogs as long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant. However, they should still be offered sparingly as a special treat, not a regular part of your dog’s diet.


Tips for a Healthy Diet

measures a portion of dry dog food using an electronic scale
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While dogs can technically eat ice cream cones, the potential risks far outweigh any brief enjoyment your dog might get from the treat. It’s best to stick to dog-friendly treats and avoid sharing your sweet indulgences with your furry friend.

When choosing treats for your dog, always check the ingredient list. Avoid items with a high sugar content, artificial sweeteners (especially xylitol), chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, and anything else known to be toxic to dogs. If you have any questions on safe foods for your dog to consume, consult your vet.

A balanced diet is the foundation of your dog’s health and happiness. High-quality dog food that meets all their nutritional needs should form the basis of their meals. However, there are additional considerations to ensure your dog’s diet supports their overall wellbeing:

  • Supplement their diet with dog-friendly fruits and vegetables for additional nutrients and variety. Remember to research which ones are safe for dogs as some can be toxic. While fruits and vegetables may have some healthy benefits, they should still be given occasionally in moderation.
  • Treats can reinforce positive behavior but should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake to prevent obesity and related health problems.
  • Always ensure your dog has access to fresh water, especially during hot weather or after exercise, to avoid dehydration and severe health issues.
  • Adjust your dog’s diet as they age. Puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs all have different nutritional needs, so feed them appropriately for their life stage.



To wrap things up, while dogs can technically eat ice cream cones, they shouldn’t. As responsible pet parents, we must prioritize our pets’ health above all else. So next time you’re enjoying an ice cream cone, remember to keep it out of reach of your furry friend and offer them a more dog-friendly option, like commercial dog treats instead!

Featured Image Credit: virtu studio, Shutterstock

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