Iced Water – is it bad?

iced water

Iced Water – is it bad?

Is it bad to give your dog Iced Water or Ice Cubes to cool them?

Straight answer = NO

It seems that there has been a post floating around the net and on Facebook over and over telling of a very tragic incident which was put down to the use of iced water. (see link for details of original thread etc www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2010/july/internet_myths#.Ud2KNlOzPLY )

Having spoken at length with various veterinary professionals, the opinion from those who “know their onions” is that there is no specific published data on ice cubes or iced water causing gastric dilation whatsoever.  However it is a multifactoral issue with many factors being involved such as eating habits, diet, exercise, heatstroke, stress & panting, and mostly problematic in large dog breeds due to the deeper nature of the thoracic cavity.

Therefore, people should not be worried and alarmed by this mythical thread on iced water and should feel perfectly fine in continuing with it’s use as a general aid in warmer seasons to help cool our dogs BUT NOT IF THE DOG IS IN CRISIS. 

If after saying all of this, you are still concerned, then simply using cold water should be enough to quench the thirst and reduce the temperature.

General cooling maintenance of a dog in this fashion is, as I say fine, but it is worthy of note that a dog who is suffering with heatstroke should NOT be cooled dramatically with either iced water/ice cubes while in crisis or by plunging them into very cold water.  It is not safe to give to dog’s showing signs of heat stress or even worse heat exhaustion/stroke and this is a point which needs to be clarified.

Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body’s core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, introducing a host of new problems. When the body temperature reaches 103.9°F, stop cooling. At this point, your dog’s body should continue cooling on its own.

I hope this clears up any worries that anybody has and I thank the follower who asked me the question initially very much for bringing it to my attention.

Keep those furries cool! 😉

Comments

  1. Reply

    Am sure from the research I have done on articles ‘re this.The danger is when you give ice water to dogs suffering heat exhaustion. The ice water causes vasoconstriction resulting in the heat not being able to be released and there is a higher demand for oxygen. I think people need to be advised that although it is fine in normal circumstances for dogs to drink ice water. When they are completely over heated and are reaching heat stress it is not in fact safe to do this. Think a tip of the day could be very useful, Recognizing and emergency first aid Heat exhaustion. It worried me that people are saying it’s fine to give ice water without clarifying circumstances it is would actually be dangerous to give the ice water. Also how to safely cool a dog down and not

  2. Reply

    I find it very worrying that in the tip of the day it’s states that it’s fine to give iced water to dogs. This although true does not go on to state that it is not safe to give to dog’s showing signs of heat stress or even worse heat exhaustion/stroke. Think this point needs to be clarified. The general publical tend to work on simpicty and will work on the fact that they think it’s safe so will use it in all situation’s.

    “DO NOT use ice or ice water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body’s core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, introducing a host of new problems. When the body temperature reaches 103.9°F, stop cooling. At this point, your dog’s body should continue cooling on its own.” A quote from one article I have read on the subject and many other appear to back up this scientific theory.
    It would be for a tip of the day to be how to recognize Heat Stress and Heat exhaustion and the emergency first aid required.
    http://dogs.about.com/od/dogandpuppyhealth/qt/heatstroke.htm
    http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/cardiovascular/c_dg_heat_stroke
    http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/heat-stroke-dehydration-dogs
    http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/heat_illnesses.html
    http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/h/heat/heatstrokelandingpage09.aspx
    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1677&aid=1683
    http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-Heat-Stroke-in-Dogs
    By the way I generally love the tips of the day

    • Reply

      Hi Patricia,

      I hear what you are saying and will add in the extra bit regarding heat stroke just to clarify things a little more. The main problem just now is that people are being terrified by the thread running around on Facebook and are punishing themselves for using iced water which, if done for normal cooling reasons, is perfectly safe as all the evidence indicates. That said, I will add your comments and links to the blog in the hopes that people understand fully and do not make a heatstroke situation worse. I have actually already done a heatstroke blog previously too :)

      Thanks for getting in touch

      Kerry

  3. Reply

    Whilst I can understand some of the problems that may, that’s may, be associated with ice cubes, we have with all of our dogs given them frozen carrots/apples in ice, the carrots or apples make them want to chew the ice, which naturally takes a little time. One of our dogs has never been interested in them, so he makes his choice, the rest relish them, particularly on a hot day under the shade.

    • Reply

      I agree entirely with you Lynne. For me, the problems are when the dog is actually in crisis, not just in normal warm weather circumstances and I think this is the bit people are confused about. To give ice water, ice cubes or frozen veggies or Kongs to chew to cool in normal circumstances is 100% fine and I do that with all of my three too so you have no need to worry with what you are doing. You sound like a very caring and sensible owner to me … keep doing what you do 😉

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