Concerned pet owners may have come across a Facebook post warning against giving dogs ice water. The post claims that giving dogs ice water can cause bloat, which can lead to a life-threatening condition called gastric dilation and volvulus, or GDV. It’s often accompanied by a seemingly true story of a well-meaning pet owner trying to keep their dog cool on a hot day only to find they must rush their pet to the veterinary emergency hospital.
It sounds scary, but it’s absolutely false. Veterinarians across the country have been addressing this myth for years, but the misinformation continues to spread thanks to social media. In an article addressing the myth, Dr. Patty Khuly says that “frigid gastric ‘cramping’ is a falsehood akin to those that inform you that your hair will grow back coarser if you shave it (myth), or that you shouldn’t go swimming for 30 minutes after eating lest you drown in a fit of cramps (myth).”
Bloat can be caused when your dog drinks too much too quickly, but the temperature of the water has nothing to do with this. In fact, putting ice cubes in your dog’s water can sometimes slow your dog’s water consumption, keeping the risk of bloat at bay.
If you have a large dog and are worried about bloat, we recommend feeding a few small meals per day instead of one large meal and avoiding exercise for an hour or so after eating. But if your pup is thirsty on a hot day, there’s nothing dangerous about helping them cool off with ice water.
If you have any questions about about the special care your pet needs during the hot weather, please call our hospital. We’re always here to help.