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Italian ice has a long and rich history. While it is more popular during the summer, some people enjoy it year-round, stocking refrigerators with their favorite flavors. Like ice cream, Italian ice is often served in a variety of ways and appeals to many people around the globe.
Many dog parents are often tempted to reward their pups with this tasty treat, especially in hot weather to cool them down. But is chomping on Italian ice safe for your dog? Well, let’s find out.
What is Italian Ice?
Italian ice is a sweetened frozen dessert made with fruit or fruit flavorings (mostly from juices, purees, or concentrates) or any other artificial food flavorings. It is similar to snow cones or sorbet but unlike the American-style sherbet, it doesn’t contain dairy or egg products. Commercially made Italian ice may contain other ingredients such as corn syrup, citric acid, potassium sorbate, and Carboxy-methyl Cellulose among others.
Learn more about Italian ice here:
Can Dogs Eat Italian Ice?
The short answer is: Dogs can eat Italian ice. However, due to its high sugar content and artificial food flavorings, it is not healthy for dogs. If you decide to give your dog Italian ice, make it small amounts, and if possible, as a special treat only. Small amounts of Italian ice won’t harm your dog unless he has pre-existing health conditions like allergies.
Potential Health Concerns
The first problem with giving your dog Italian ice is the fact that it is loaded with sugar. High amounts of sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to weight gain, which can, in turn, cause a wide range of health problems. Even if you decide to go for sugarless Italian ice, you must ensure that it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which are extremely toxic to fogs.
Another concern with Italian ice is that some flavor bases or concentrates may be harmful to dogs. Steer clear of Italian ice made with a chocolate flavor base because they can be toxic to your dog due to the presence of theobromine. Green tea and coffee flavors are also toxic to your dogs because they contain high amounts of caffeine. Citrus fruits are also not recommended for dogs, so if the Italian ice you plan to give your dog is lime or lemon-flavored, it is advisable to steer clear of it.
Healthy Alternatives to Italian Ice
Instead of feeding your dog Italian ice as a cooling treat during summer, make him a homemade Popsicle. A homemade Popsicle or ice cream is good because you can control or dictate the type of ingredients that you add to the ice. Alternatively, buy your pup a toy that you can stuff with peanut butter, pureed banana and pumpkin to create a delicious treat that you can freeze. Here is a quick list of the best toys you should consider: 15 Best Dog Toys You Can Put Peanut Butter In
What can do if my dog accidentally consumes large amounts of Italian Ice?
If your dog consumed a lot of Italian ice without your consent, just stay calm. Try to find out the ingredients of the ice that he ate. If it doesn’t contain any potentially dangerous ingredients, then your pouch is going to be okay.
However, if the base flavor of the ice your dog consumed was something like chocolate, coffee, grapes or if the ice contained artificial sweeteners like xylitol, you need to consult your vet immediately, especially if your dog manifests symptoms like vomiting, depression, weakness, uncoordinated movements, or hypokalemia.
Italian ice is not a healthy treat for dogs. While your dog can snack on it without any issue, it can lead to a wide range of health issues if consumed in excess. Instead of Italian ice, consider giving your dog frozen pumpkin, banana, and peanut butter treats on a hot summer’s day.