We all know the excitement and joy of owning a pet. Our furry friends become much-loved family members for most of us, so we want to do our absolute best to keep them safe and happy.
We spend our time obsessing over the right kinds of food, an ideal exercise regime, and of course, how to keep them comfortable in adverse weather conditions.
Colder weather conditions are easier to deal with; we know to keep our pets inside with a warm blanket or a cozy spot by the fireplace, but what about hot weather conditions? How do we ensure that our beloved pets are kept cool and happy in extreme heat?
It seems that as the weather heats up every year, so does the debate over whether or not ice water is dangerous for our pets. This idea is fueled mainly by a rumor that claims ice water can cause bloat and lead to death in dogs.
Let’s take some time to break down this rumor.
Where Did This Rumor Come From, and What Is Bloat?
This well-meaning but false rumor started circulating on social media as early as 2010, claiming that a pet owner had fed their dog ice water and the dog had developed bloat and died.
Bloat is a generic term for a condition called GDV or gastric dilatation and volvulus. It’s a life-threatening condition that happens when a dog or cat’s stomach fills with gas, swells, and then twists, causing shock and, in some cases, death.
In dogs, it’s most common in deep-chested breeds like the German shepherd, Great Dane, Saint Bernard, and Irish setter, to name a few.
While we don’t know the exact cause of GDV, eating too quickly, only eating one meal a day, eating too much, stress, over-drinking, exercising too soon after a meal, nervousness, and slower gastric movements have been found to put our pets at higher risk.
There are certain things that we recommend to minimize the risk of bloat in pets:
- Feed smaller meals more often rather than one large one.
- Don’t allow them to drink too much water all at once.
- Stop them from doing heavy exercise straight after eating, rather, wait about an hour.
If we look at it logically, if a dog was dehydrated and overheated, and we offered it ice water, it would be far more likely to guzzle the water down quickly. This guzzling, and not the temperature of the water, would put the dog at risk of bloat.
So, It Is Ok To Give My Pet Ice Water?
Yes, giving your dog ice water, freezing their favorite chew toys, or even allowing them ice cubes on those hot summer days is a great way to cool them down.
We do have a few tips to follow for making sure that your pet is safe when giving them ice in any form:
- Be proactive. If you plan to give your pet ice water, please don’t wait until they have become distressed and uncomfortable. If an overheated dog is cooled too quickly, it can lead to shock and organ failure. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heatstroke, you should immediately take them to the vet.
- If you’ve given your dog ice cubes, you should supervise them as a cube could become lodged in their throat and cause a choke. We recommend either a large ice cube to lick or small ice cubes or chips that are too small to get stuck and will melt quickly.
- Allowing your dog to munch on ice could lead to broken or chipped teeth.
More Ways To Keep Your Pet Cool in Hot Weather
A typical emergency seen by veterinarians in the warmer months is heatstroke, so it’s vital to keep them from overheating. Unlike us humans, dogs can’t sweat; they eliminate heat from their bodies by panting. If the panting isn’t sufficient to lower their core temperature, it will continue to rise until it reaches fatal levels.
In case you don’t have the time to keep an eye on your pet while they chew ice, we’ve come up with some quick and easy steps that you can take to keep your pet cool.
Get Your Pet a Pool
A kiddie pool is a perfect way for your pet to cool off, especially since dogs can disperse heat through their paw pads.
Make Sure There Is Plenty of Shade
Trees provide for a great source of shade; if you’re short on trees in your yard, then make sure that your animal has access to a well-ventilated kennel or the house.
Keep That Water Bowl Full
Always make sure that your pet has access to fresh, clean, and cool water at all times.
The Final Word
We recommend allowing your pet to have ice water during the summer months providing that they aren’t already overheated or suffering from heatstroke. Additionally, you should monitor them while they’re drinking to prevent them from guzzling or choking.