Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Vanilla Ice Cream

Disclaimer: The content on is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

It might seem harmless but vanilla ice cream can make your dog sick. Even a small amount can make some dogs sick although this might apply more to puppies and dogs of smaller breeds. Here are the things dog owners should know about feeding dogs vanilla ice cream.

Why vanilla ice cream is bad for dogs

The first problem with vanilla ice cream is the lactose content. Dogs in general can’t handle dairy products well due to being lactose intolerant. Their bodies don’t have the enzymes (lactase) to digest the dairy content of vanilla ice cream. As a result, dogs that have too many licks of the vanilla ice cream may end up with mild gastrointestinal problems like stomach upsets and diarrhea.

There’s also the issue of sugar and fat which vanilla ice cream has a decent amount of. Dogs that are feed sugary treats on a regular basis become at risk of a number of health issues including dental problems as well as long-term consequences like obesity.

Last but not least, some vanilla ice cream products may contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. This is generally seen with ice cream products labelled as sugar-free.

What to do if your dog ate vanilla ice cream

It’s not considered an emergency if your dog had a few licks of the vanilla ice cream unless it happened to contain toxic ingredients like xylitol. Dogs, especially those of larger sizes, may end up fine without showing any symptoms. Other dogs, however, may show symptoms like stomach upsets and diarrhea depending on the amount of vanilla ice cream they ate.

We would recommend watching over your dog carefully over the next day or two if you think he ate more vanilla ice cream than he should have. A call to the vet would be strongly recommended if your dog starts to show any adverse health reactions.

Alternative dog treats to vanilla ice cream

Your dog is sure to appreciate any frozen treat during a hot summer day. While vanilla ice cream is off-limits, there are plenty of alternative frozen treats you can let your dog eat. This could include frozen fruits like blueberries or a tiny amount of fat-free, frozen yogurt (plain only). Yogurt does contain lactose content but nowhere near the level that vanilla ice cream has. As always, make sure frozen treats are only given to dogs in moderation.

Our human food for dog database outlines more details if you want to know what food is or isn’t safe for dogs to eat. Sorbets, for example, could be a safer frozen treat for dogs (as long as they don’t contain toxic ingredients) because they don’t contain dairy.


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