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Ask Dr. Audrey: Does Ice Cause Bloat?

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Our 10-year-old chow mix loves eating ice but someone told me that it can cause bloat. Is this true?

There have been rumors that ice and ice water causes a spasm of the stomach muscle in dogs, leading to a a swollen stomach, and potentially fatal bloat. These rumors are not true, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, while ice may cause a muscle spasm, this is more likely to cause vomiting. Secondly, if ice caused bloating, then we’d see more cases of bloat during winter in dogs that live outdoors in cold parts of the country, where their water bowl ices over, and this isn’t the case.

I think that what is more likely is that dogs are given ice or iced water to drink when they are hot and thirsty, for example after heavy exercise. Under these circumstances, they are very likely to drink a lot of water very quickly, and this is a known risk factor for bloat. To prevent your dog getting bloat, feed several small meals a day instead of one or two large ones, don’t let them drink lots of water at once, and avoid exercise for an hour or so after mealtime.

Every week we run a column from Dr. Harvey. If you have a question about your dog’s health, send in a question on our Ask Dr. Harvey form!

The purpose of this column is to educate. DogTipper shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this site. This column does not replace the importance of specific advice from your own veterinarian. If you have any concerns at all about your dog’s health, please make an appointment with your vet.

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits DogTipper.com, CatTipper.com, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.