Will Ice Water Kill Your Dog? Vets Explain

This week on Facebook, an urgent warning advising against giving dogs ice water as temperatures rise has been circulating the social network.

And while the ice water kills dogs rumor was not supported by any specific evidence, it seemed like one of those things it couldn’t hurt to pass on, right? After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry? Right?

The warning regarding dogs and ice water comes from a 2010 blog post that has gone cyclically viral since it was posted, and is titled “NO ICE WATER FOR DOGS… PLEASE READ ASAP.”

Since it was posted, the warning against ice water for dogs has been heavily updated — but the comments relay some anecdotally terrifying claims.

One reads:

“I had a dog to die after giving him ice water. It was a very hot summer day and I was leaving so I went out and the dogs came running across the yard. I noticed they were panting bad so I went back inside and got the dogs fresh water and I put ice in it. I left and went shopping and when I returned I found the boy dog dead under the porch but the female dog was fine.”

The commenter continues:

“I didn’t know what had happened. I called my vet and he said that the ice shouldn’t have caused it. He said that he probably just had a heart attack. I never found out what had happened to him.”

Pretty scary, huh? But will dogs die from ice water on a hot day, or is this just internet scarelore?

Given the motility of the older post, vets have weighed in on the matter… and it seems that the temperature of the water is not at all what poses risk to your dog when they become overheated.

One expert, Dr. Randall Carpenter, DMV of Family Friends Veterinary Hospital, spoke to a local news station to clarify the panic over dogs dying in this fashion. (Allegedly.) Carpenter explains:

“If the dog is overheated and dehydrated, and desperate for fluids and they consume huge, huge amounts of ice cubes or water all at one time, it could create a situation where the dog could bloat… Ice cubes and cold water are fine for pets as long as it’s done with some common sense.”

Another regional expert concurs, and Animal Charity Humane Society employee Shalyse Bolash tells a different local news affiliate:

“It has nothing to do with it. It is perfectly fine. We like ice water. They like ice water. It is refreshing. It is perfectly fine to give dogs ice water. It has nothing to do with bloat… What harms them is the over-indulgence of water. When they start lapping up a big bowl of water, that is going to fill up their bellies. That is when you start to have the bloat issues.”

It seems that much like with humans, dogs can certainly drink ice water without sudden or certain death — however, just as we are susceptible, they too can suffer water intoxication should they consume too much water too quickly. That said, dogs are just as appreciative of a very cold drink on a very hot day, and there’s no reason to deprive them of this relief.

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