Can Shih Tzu Eat Ice Cream? (and even better dog friendly cold treats)


You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!

When it comes to this frozen treat, it definitely puts a smile on your face. But if your Shih Tzu eats ice cream, it can quickly turn your smile into a frown.

Shih Tzu shouldn't eat ice cream for several reasons. First, dogs can't always digest milk easily, so eating ice cream can lead to diarrhea, constipation, and other stomach issues.

Plus, ice cream has tons of sugar, which can lead to a host of problems, and some of the flavors can even be toxic for dogs.

Shih Tzu dog being given ice cream on a coneCan dogs eat ice cream?

Basically, your pup might be able to stomach a small dose of ice cream now and then, but it isn't worth it. It's best to steer clear of ice cream when it comes to a treat for your dog.

Instead, opt for special doggy ice cream or create some dog-safe frozen treats like the one at the end of this post.

Why Is Ice Cream Bad for Dogs?

Ice cream is a classic treat, but for pups, it can pose a potentially big problem.

Depending on your dog's unique sensitivities, her response to eating ice cream can vary from mild to severe.

Although you might be able to get away with giving your pup the occasional ice cream dessert, it's better to choose an alternative.

There are several reasons why you should avoid giving ice cream to your Shih Tzu.

Trouble Digesting Milk

A primary reason dogs shouldn't eat ice cream is because it's made with milk.

Many dogs are lactose intolerant, which means they have difficulty breaking down the lactose enzymes in milk. In turn, dogs struggle when it comes to digesting milk, especially older dogs.

Like lactose intolerant people, dogs can experience a host of gastrointestinal issues if they consume too much milk or milk products.

These issues include gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and more severe consequences.

Now, you could potentially try some lactose-free versions of ice cream.

Vegan ice-cream, or "nice" cream as it is also called, is made from frozen bananas. You can simply freeze some bananas at home and whip them up in your food processor.

There are also several ice cream products on the market that are dairy but lactose-free.

However, the better option is to source out your dog's ice cream in the pet section.

There are specially created ice creams that are specifically for dogs, like Frosty Paws and Pooch Creamery, that are crafted with dog-friendly flavors and ingredients.

Your dog will love peanut butter or birthday cake ice cream!

Milk Allergy

Even if your pup doesn't appear to have an issue with lactose, she might still have a milk allergy. Eating ice cream can trigger your pup's milk allergy, leading to red and irritated skin, itchy eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, scratching, or worse.

If you are uncertain if your Shih Tzu has a milk allergy but suspect that she may, you can eliminate all dairy from her diet to see if that changes things.

Of course, the only way to know for sure is to schedule a visit with your vet.  Your vet will likely perform a series of specific tests on your pup to pinpoint her particular allergies and the severity of those allergies.

Too Much Sugar

Ice cream is loaded with sugar, and although your Shih Tzu probably isn't worried about fitting into her jeans, too much sugar is bad news.

Besides messing with your dog's energy levels, feeding your pup too many sugary foods can contribute to obesity, which increases your dog's risk for other health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

If you're thinking, what about sugar-free ice cream? Think again!

For one thing, sugar-free ice cream still contains lactose, and certain artificial sweeteners can possess their own doggy dangers. For example, the sugar substitute, Xylitol, is extremely toxic for dogs.

Toxic Flavors

Speaking of toxic ingredients, some ice cream can be more of a problem than others, depending on the flavor.

Many things that humans eat with no problem can be toxic to dogs.

A big one for ice cream is chocolate. It's one of the most popular and iconic ice cream flavors.

Still, chocolate is extremely poisonous for dogs because it contains a compound called theobromine that dogs cannot process efficiently.

Other ice cream flavors can contain certain fruits, nuts, coffee, and other components that are also poisonous or can cause irritation for your Shih Tzu.

So, if you decide to feed your pup some ice cream, at least read the label carefully and verify that it doesn't contain any toxic ingredients.

Is Yogurt a Good Alternative to Ice Cream?

If you decided to drop a few pounds, a popular food to sub in for ice cream is yogurt.

However, not the frozen yogurt you buy right alongside the ice cream in the frozen-food section. This type of frozen yogurt is loaded with just as much sugar as its ice cream cousin, and the sugar-free variety poses the same risks as sugar-free ice cream.

Instead, opt for unsweetened, plain yogurt, and then put it in your freezer. This way, you'll have a frozen treat to serve your pup.

However, keep in mind that even though yogurt contains less lactose than milk, some dogs might still have trouble digesting it, so give your dog a small amount to start with and see how it goes.

If you want your dog to enjoy a frozen treat, there are options other than ice cream that she will enjoy just as much and much more safely.

You can even search for some yummy DIY doggy treat ideas online that you can whip up at home, like this one adapted from Life, Love, and Sugar:

Frozen Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats

You can whip up about three or four of these tasty treats in ten minutes, and you don't even need an oven! If your pup is larger, make three instead of four so she has a bit more treat to enjoy.

All you need are four bananas, ½-cup peanut butter, and four mini plastic cups.

Simply peel, slice, and freeze the bananas. Then, blend the bananas in a food processor until smooth and thick. It should resemble soft-serve ice cream.

Next, add in the peanut butter and mix it together. Finally, separate the mixture into the cups and freeze.

It's understandable that you love your pup and want to pamper them, but make sure that you always do so in a safe and healthy way!

The next time you're enjoying an ice cream cone, resist your pup's adorable, big, round eyes, and give them their own dog-approved frozen treat.

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Posted 12/3/2020