Can Dogs Taste Ice Cream?

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Introduction

"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" Summer is right around the corner and ice cream trucks and trips to your favorite ice cream shop might happen more than you like to admit. Ice cream is a quintessential summer treat and there are tons of flavors to choose from all season long. 

Taking trips to the ice cream shop can be even more fun when you take your adorable furry friend along with you. Dogs love to take car rides and go places with their family so they can feel apart of your fun adventures. Therefore, you may have wondered if you can share your ice cream or get them a small cup when making your ice cream stop. 

Although we cannot give you a simple yes or no answer, dogs can have some types of ice cream in some circumstances. 

Signs of a Dog Liking Ice Cream

Let's face it, your dog is going to absolutely love the taste of ice cream. It is creamy and sweet, meaning most dogs will gobble up some ice cream faster than we can blink. Although there are some kinds of ice cream you must avoid feeding your pup, certain types of plain ice cream are just fine for your dog to indulge in from time to time. 

If you give your dog ice cream for the first time, you will immediately know if they love it or if they are not sure about it. When you give your dog ice cream and they like it, they will lick up the ice cream without and hesitancy and they will eat it quickly. 

After they finish their first bite, they will want to go back for more bites right away. They may bark or whine for more, they might paw at your or the cup of ice cream, your dog may also look alert, wag their tail, put their ears up, drool, lick their lips, or even pace around in circles in anticipation. 

On the off chance your dog does not like ice cream or doesn't like cold food, they will likely try a few licks off the spoon and then appear disinterested. They won't go back for more licks and they may even walk off to show they are indifferent to the ice cream. 

Body Language

These are some signs you might notice if your dog likes ice cream:
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Wag tail
  • Pacing
  • Lip licking
  • Drooling
  • Ears up

Other Signs

Here are some other signs you may notice if your dog likes ice cream:
  • Begging for more bites of ice cream
  • Excessive drooling and lip licking
  • Pawing at you or the food

History of Dogs and Ice Cream

Ice cream dates all the way back to the second century! Unfortunately, we do not have a specific date of creation or any exact idea of who was the original creator. Ice cream was not exactly like what we have today, though. 

Ice cream many thousands of years ago was made from snow or pieces of ice that were flavored with things such as honey, nectar, and fruit juices. We have seen references to ice cream in pieces of literature and other records. For example, Alexander the Great regularly ate ice that was flavored with honey and nectar. 

As time progressed, so did the evolution of ice cream. When Marco Polo came back from Italy, he brought a special recipe with him that was close to what we know as sherbert today. 

The style of ice cream we have today was developed sometime in the 16th century. It was popular in Europe and frequented the tables of the wealthy and the powerful. America did not see its first taste of this frozen treat until around 1744 - where it remained a treat solely for society's elite. It was not until the 1800's that ice cream became available to the general population. 

Since ice cream was such a rare and expensive dessert, it is very unlikely ice cream was ever shared with dogs. Today, ice cream is often shared with family pups as an occasional treat! We even see special dog ice cream available in the supermarket as well. 

Science Behind Dogs and Ice Cream

Small amounts of ice cream on occasion is fine for most dogs. However, if your dog is lactose intolerant, you will want to avoid ice cream as it is full of milk and cream that will cause vomiting, loose stools, bloating, and GI upset. 

Ice cream does contain a lot of sugar and richness, so giving too much to your dog and too frequently is bad for their health and can cause weight gain. Although this is a yummy treat to share with your furry friend, ice cream does not have any health benefits for them, which is why moderation is key. You would not eat a huge bowl of ice cream every day, so the same thing should go for your dog as well. 

Training Your Dog to Have Ice Cream

If you decide to treat your dog to a few licks of ice cream or get them a puppy cup from your favorite ice cream shop, there are a couple of tips to keep in mind. These tips will ensure that you are not going to harm your dog in the process and that you can share ice cream with them in a safe way. 

You must never give your dog chocolate ice cream or ice cream with bits of chocolate in it. Chocolate is toxic to dogs in large quantities. You will also want to avoid flavors that contain raisins or tons of other additives like cake, sprinkles, candy, candy bars, cookies, and things like these. These extra ingredients are unnecessary and just add more sugar and calories to the ice cream. The best flavors to stick with is pure vanilla, peanut butter, or strawberry. 

You also never want to give them sugar-free ice cream. These types of ice cream are filled with artificial chemicals and sweeteners that are very harmful to your dog. Some ice cream may contain xylitol, which is one of the most toxic and deadly substances a dog can eat. It can cause extensive liver damage and even death if too much is consumed.

You must also limit the amount they eat. Give them a few licks at the bottom of your cone or cup. Ask your ice cream shop for a single very small scoop to share with your dog so you are limiting their sugar and calorie intake. Smaller amounts of ice cream will also avoid any stomach upset that too much dairy may cause. 

You can also try to give them "frozen yogurt" made at home. Simply freeze plain, unsweetened yogurt with some additions of healthy ingredients like blueberries, melon, apples, bananas, strawberries, or peanut butter. This is a low-sugar and low-calorie alternative to ice cream. 

How to React if Your Dog Likes Ice Cream:

  • Take some cute pictures!
  • Share with them occasionally.

Safety Tips for Feeding Your Dog Ice Cream:

  • Limit to a small quantity and only give very occasionally.
  • Never give them sugar-free ice cream.
  • Stick with flavors like vanilla and peanut butter.

We Want to Hear About Your Eating Ice Cream!