Ice, Ice...Baby!

Having just suffered one of the more brutal heatwaves here in NYC, ice and I have become best friends. When you get hot, you want something cold. No? It's no different for dogs.  Naturally, I provided a continuous supply of ice or ice water during this heatwave for The Pack as well.  I have always provided ice for all 7 of the dogs that have been part of my family.  I have had no problems with this practice.  Most of them have waited until the ice has melted to drink the cool water, but a few of them, Suede in particular, actually like licking the "icebergs" I sometimes put in their bowls.  But a dog's appreciation of "cold" is not terribly surprising given that I have also noted that most of my dogs love to eat up snow when let loose after a storm.  What's up with that?  The air is already cold...why would they want to eat the snow too?  Go figure!

I also have those water bowls that have a portal for a standard plastic water bottle.  I freeze the water in the bottle and then put it in the bowl.  I do this for several reasons.  The most obvious is because it provides a steady supply of cool water throughout the day, but at a relatively controlled rate.  So if you are like Suede who will drink up water like you just exited the desert, there is a certain amount of control over how much or even how fast she drinks.

I have never had any issues with the practice of giving my dogs ice. In fact, my friend Ron says his dog, Sam,  loves ice cubes.  So imagine my dismay when I received a link, via Twitter, to an article warning dog owners about the dangers of feeding ice to dogs. WHAT? Ahuh!  Supposedly, we should not be feeding our dogs ice or ice water because it can cause bloat.  I am well aware of the dangers of heatstroke...now it becomes a balancing act. Hmmmm...bloat or heatstroke? I am not a vet, but this just seems so impossible to me...so I did what any intelligent skeptic would do...

...I Googled!

Basically, bloat is when the dogs stomach becomes full of gas.  You might think, "doesn't the dog burp or fart though?  I know that's what happens to me when my stomach is full of gas!"  Unfortunately bloat can be life threatening to a dog especially when coupled with another condition called volvulus which is a condition in which the intestines become twisted up so the gas cannot escape.

As with most ailments, these symptoms are not exclusive to this condition but it is still important to know the symptoms as the dog would require immediate medical attention. Some symptoms you might observe are
  • Distended stomach
  • Extreme discomfort for no apparent reason. 
  • Weakness, 
  • Depression, 
  • Difficulty breathing, 
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Dry heaving
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
I am not disputing the dangers of bloat but I am questioning the relationship between feeding a dog ice and a dog suffering from bloat. Why? Because the next time there is a heatwave, an owner may think twice before giving their dog ice or ice water...and then the poor dog succumbs to heatstroke.

According to Dr. Patty Khuly of PetMD, the inferences in the letter referenced by the author, have been circulating via email since about 2007.  This letter indicates that ice or ice water can cause bloat in the dog.  I am not a veterinarian so, once you have read this post, it is in your best interest, and that of your dog, to do a little more research yourself about canines, ice & bloat...I learned something new myself, having done so.

Maybe I should let The Blues Brothers read the article...
clearly they aren't aware of the bloat danger!





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