Dogs may love ice cubes, but ice cubes don’t love them back

June 12, 2018
  • By Karin Spicer
  • Contributing Writer
Sunny the ice cube connoisseur. LAUREN BISANZ/CONTRIBUTED

Teddy likes chomping on ice cubes. Most dog parents I talk to say their dogs also enjoy the “cube.”

A dropped ice cube is Teddy’s prey. First, he pounces on the frozen goodness. If it slides away, Teddy tracks it, nose to the floor.

The pooch places a front paw on the cube to stop it from sliding. When Teddy has it firmly in his mouth he takes his catch to the living room. He’s learned that ice cubes don’t slide on carpet.

Teddy teases the ice cube by tossing it several times in the air. Then he picks it back up and shakes his head back and forth.

He lets the cube know who’s in control — and it’s not the ice cube. Teddy’s final move is to plop down and crunch his prize. It’s gone in several bites.

Sunny, a blonde lab living in Atlanta with her parents, my niece and her husband, Lauren and Dan Bisanz, adores ice cubes, too.

The 5-month-old puppy watched her mom work the refrigerator’s ice dispenser. Sunny saw the cold cubes pouring out of the silver box. Like mother like daughter. Sunny jumped up and pushed the ice dispenser button and, to her delight, ice cubes tumbled out.

Sadly for Teddy, our refrigerator doesn’t have an ice dispenser on the outside door.

Writing for petmed.com, Dr. Susan C. Nelson, clinical professor at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University, says ice cubes can cause tooth breakage in dogs. The larger and harder the cube, the higher the chance of this occurring.

I never thought an ice cube could hurt a dog’s teeth. The way Teddy shreds through a supposed indestructible toy, one would think his teeth were made of steel. But once again there’s a doctor saying, with good reason, there is something that isn’t good for my four-legged pal.

So as much as I’ve enjoyed watching my furry child attack ice cubes, I’m no longer going to drop ice cubes, on purpose, on the floor. Teddy needs his teeth.

Lauren wants Sunny’s teeth maintaining their healthy glow. She also doesn’t want Sunny spewing ice cubes all over the kitchen floor.

Dr. Jill DiFazio, critical care specialist with the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group in New York City, suggests on petmed.com using smaller cubes or shavings and giving ice in moderation.

That sounds more than reasonable.

Lauren is discouraging Sunny from using the ice dispenser. When the now 10-month-old pup hears the dispenser, she sprints into the kitchen and sits next to the fridge, waiting for her mom to fill her dog bowl with a few ice-cold nuggets.

As the cubes melt, Sunny bobs for them like a child would bob for apples on Halloween. When the cubes are gone, the furry child’s face is soaked and the floor needs a mop. But Sunny’s teeth are less likely to have suffered any damage.

Teddy doesn’t like ice cubes in his water dish. Baby carrots have replaced ice cubes as his “prey.”

Now when Teddy prances to the refrigerator when I open the freezer section I guiltily say, “Sorry, bud, but ice cubes can hurt your teeth.” My iced tea isn’t bad warm.