We have all seen videos of Golden retrievers happily enjoying a taste of human food. The joy and excitement on their faces are enough to warrant any pet owner to offer them a bite or scoop of whatever they are eating, especially when it comes to ice cream.
Can Golden retrievers eat ice cream? Maybe, depending on the kind of Ice cream it is.
Is Ice Cream Healthy For a Golden Retriever?
Ice cream is delicious, tasty, and refreshing on a very hot day. No Golden Retriever can refuse a scoop of ice-cream. Does that make it healthy for it? Maybe, depending on the type of ice-cream and ingredients used in its manufacture.
Just like many other types of food developed for human consumption, ice-cream is not a dog-friendly food. Store-bought ice-cream contains dairy, a lot of sugar, and certain flavors that can be dangerous to dogs.
Before giving your dog any type of ice-cream, consider asking your veterinarian for their expert opinion. The vet can determine the kind of ice-cream and quantity that should be issued based on your dog’s medical history.
Dairy Products And Dogs
Although dairy products are not toxic to dogs, they can cause some serious discomfort. According to an article by Anna Burke “Can Dogs Drink Milk?” most dogs are lactose intolerant and hence have difficulty breaking down and digesting milk. Other dogs have trouble drinking milk, but they can handle other dairy products such as cheese and plain yogurt.
However, some dogs can have adverse reactions to the presence of dairy in their diet and end up having allergic reactions and other health complications.
How can I tell if My Golden Retriever is Lactose Intolerant?
It is not easy to determine whether a dog is lactose intolerant. Usually, a pet owner only finds this out when they offer their pups dairy products.
In other instances, the dog may not be lactose intolerant, however, when it consumes a large amount of milk, ice cream or any other product with dairy, it can induce signs similar to those of lactose intolerance. These include loose stool, gas, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Sugar and Dogs
Just like humans, dogs are attracted to sweet foods. Anything that has sugar would automatically be appealing to dogs’ taste buds. It is for this reason that dogs rarely turn down anything that contains sugar, including ice cream, even if it may not be healthy for them.
Sugar provides energy which is crucial in maintaining certain bodily functions and aids in active play. Store-bought dog food and treats often contain a lot of sugar used to mask the bitterness of some of the ingredients used in the food’s manufacture.
Just like human beings, the risks of consuming too much sugar are also experienced by dogs, hence, when feeding golden retrievers and any other dog for that matter, ice-cream, it is important to consider the impact it has on the dog’s health.
The increased levels of sugar intake can destabilize the dog’s healthy diet leading to other health complications.
Additionally, Colleen Paige, the author of The Good Behaviour Book for Dogs: The Most Annoying Bog Behaviours. . . Solved!” claims that the excess sugar in a dog’s diet can lead to uncooperative, hyper, and unfocused behavior when they are on a sugar high, and sleepy, lethargic, moody, and irritable behaviors after the sugar-high dissipate.
What about Sugarless Ice-cream?
If sugar is so dangerous, then is it okay to give my golden retriever sugarless ice-cream? Maybe.
Ice cream that is manufactured without sugar is often sweetened with other artificial sweeteners that can be harmful to dogs. Xylitol, for instance, is one such sweetener.
Liz Palika’s article, “Dogs and Sugar: Good or Bad?” defined xylitol as sugar alcohol derived from plants. It is very sweet and has a myriad of dental benefits. It is for this reason that it is used in toothpaste, mouthwash, gums, butter, candies, and baked goods.
As beneficial as it is to human beings, it is extremely toxic to dogs. If a dog consumes any product that contains Xylitol, then it can cause the dog’s blood sugar levels to drop.
The dog can exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, coordination problems, seizures, and eventually liver failure. Hence, when offering your golden retriever sugarless ice-cream, check the ingredients to ensure it does not contain Xylitol.
Ice-cream Flavour and Dogs
One of the reasons ice cream is such a delicacy is because it can be issued in different flavors. From Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, Coffee, Blueberry, Raspberry, Bubble-gum, just to name a few. As enjoyable as all these flavors are to humans, some are toxic to dogs.
An article by Katherine Ripley, “Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?” states that chocolate is one of the few flavors that are toxic to dogs because they are not able to process theobromine, a component within chocolate itself.
For the safety of your golden retriever, it is best to ensure that the only flavor of ice-cream given is plain vanilla.
Dangers of feeding Golden Retrievers Ice cream
Like all other dogs, when golden retrievers are given large quantities of ice cream regularly, they are in danger of:
Due to the excess sugar in the body and the inability of insulin to break down all the sugar. This can also be due to the body’s inability to utilize the insulin being produced.
Due to the increased calorie intake levels of the dog as a result of added sugars and a destabilized diet
As a result of lactose intolerance
Rapid Liver Failure
Due to the consumption of Xylitol
Hypoglycemia or blood sugar drop
Due to the consumption of Xylitol
- Sugar Addiction
What Kind of Ice-Cream is good for My Golden Retriever?
Clearly, store-bought ice cream poses a great danger to a dog’s health. If you are to give your dog ice-cream as a treat, its best to ensure that the ice-cream issued is purely vanilla flavor and does not contain Xylitol.
It is also important to ensure that the quantity is very minimal to guarantee that the dog’s healthy diet is not destabilized. A whole scoop is surely too much! However, just a lick or two should be okay.
If you would like to incorporate Ice-cream as a treat for your golden retriever, since there isn’t an option where you can get ice-cream that does not contain sugar, dairy, or artificial sweeteners, it is best to make your own Ice cream!
If your dog absolutely has to have ice cream as a treat, then it is crucial to ensure the best, healthier, safer option is selected, this is Home-Made Ice cream. With it, you can regulate the amount of sugar used and additionally ensure that dairy is not present.
The Banana Treat Ice-cream Recipe described below is an example of a simple homemade nice-cream treat for your golden retriever:
Banana Peanut Butter Ice-Cream Treat
3 Ripe Bananas
1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter
Peel the bananas (Cut them or leave them whole) and freeze them, for 2 hrs or overnight
Blend the Bananas in a Powerful Blender or Food Processor
When you achieve a creamy texture, add a tablespoon of peanut butter
Continue blending until it is mixed well
Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the freezer for a much firmer ice cream.
Other simple Home-made dog ice-cream recipe
- Banana Strabery Ice cream
- Banana Ice cream
Alternatives to Dog Ice-Cream
If you do not want to give your golden retriever ice-cream, consider other alternatives. For instance, frozen yogurt. It is fermented, contains less lactose, and is easier for dogs to digest. Ensure that the yogurt is not a commercial brand, as it will have a lot of sugar content, instead buy plain and unsweetened yogurt.
Nice Cream is another viable option in place of ice-creams. It is a vegan ice cream alternative that is made from bananas. It is safe for dogs to consume this; however, consider checking the number of bananas the dog should consume as described in the article “Can my dog eat bananas?”
Conclusion– Can Golden Retrievers eat ice cream
As pet owners, we celebrate the joy our pets have when we offer them delicious treats and other foods that get them happy and wagging their tails. However, even with the joy our golden retrievers give us, it is important to consider that not everything will be beneficial to their health.
As a pet owner, when you consider giving your dog ice cream, take a moment and check the type of ice-cream you are going to give them. If it is not sugarless then consider whether your retriever may be lactose intolerant and give as little as possible as you await the reaction from the dog.
If the coast is clear, consider adding just a bit more, as directed by the veterinarian. If you would like to incorporate ice-cream as a treat, then consider home-made ice-cream and other fruit-based desserts as an alternative to commercial ice-cream.