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Is Ice Water Bad for Dogs?

Now that summer is here there’s a rumor making the rounds that giving your dog ice water on a hot day can kill her. Is ice water bad for dogs? Let’s find out.

After a long walk on a hot day, do you look forward to a tall glass of ice water? Me too! It’s only natural to think that your dog might like a nice, cool drink after a summer walk or run. But is ice water bad for dogs? The answer seems to be a qualified no.

Related Reading: 10 Healthy Summer Drink Recipes

The ice water dogs rumor seems to stem from a 2010 blog post where a dog owner describes a very scary medical situation with her dog. She tossed a few ice cubes into her dog’s water bowl on a warm day. She also gave her dog a bowl of food. Shortly afterward she noticed that her dog was coughing, drooling, and spluttering. She says that her vet told her that the ice water had caused what’s called “bloat” or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). GDV is a dangerous condition where the dog’s stomach spasms and bloats. This can kill a dog. But is ice water the culprit?

Is ice water bad for dogs?

Ice Water and Bloat

There is still some question in the veterinary world as to what causes bloat. The consensus right now seems to be that eating or drinking too fast is the main cause.

The ice water wasn’t likely what caused the dog in question to go into shock. It was that the dog drank the water and ate his food too fast. Experts say that giving your dog a small amount of water – with or without ice – is the key to avoiding GDV.

When dogs eat or drink too fast, they inhale too much air along with the food and water. The air fills their stomach, putting them at risk for GDV. Bloat is no joke – it’s an emergency situation, and it can kill your dog.

The video at the top of this page shows a dog experiencing bloat. Don’t worry! The dog was fine, and the voiceover you’re hearing was added later, so that other dog owners could learn from this person’s experience. The person filming this dog had no idea that he had bloat but did realize that something was wrong and rushed him to the vet, saving his life.

So, is ice water bad for dogs? Not really. The problem comes in when your dog is so jazzed about a big, icy bowl of water on a hot day that she laps up the whole thing too quickly. This can happen with room temperature water or with food, as well.

Recommended Reading for Dog Lovers

Read more: Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, Safety, , , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
9:04AM PST on Feb 26, 2015


11:22AM PST on Jan 28, 2015

Summer is here? Not at my place!
At the moment, I have to worry if eating snow might be bad for dogs. But I know, it depends on the dog. Some tolerate it well, others get the squits.

5:09AM PDT on Oct 9, 2014

Thank you!

4:03PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Hmm, I've never heard that rumor, and I didn't know that bloat could be lethal, either!! I learn something every day. Very interesting.

6:30PM PDT on Jul 11, 2014


8:07AM PDT on Jul 8, 2014


4:52AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

thank you!!

5:55PM PDT on Jul 5, 2014

Ice water? My dog chews ice cubes. I keep cold water in the fridge which I take with me on our walks, along with a small plastic container so I can regulate how much water he gets. Everybody should take a bottle of cold water on walks. Dogs get thirsty, especially when it gets hot. Don't wait until you get home to give him/her water.

7:42PM PDT on Jul 3, 2014


2:52PM PDT on Jul 2, 2014

Thanks for sharing the video.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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