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Can Dogs Eat Coffee Ice Cream? The Facts & Ingredients To Avoid

coffee ice cream with coffee beans on top

Ice cream is one of the most delicious frozen treats we can enjoy in the summer heat, and it’s usually not a big deal if our dogs steal a lick or two. However, the dairy in ice cream can incite painful bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Because of this, you should not regularly give your dog ice cream or other dairy products.

Unfortunately, that’s not even counting potential toxic ingredients like chocolate and coffee. While most of us know that dogs can’t eat chocolate, the small amounts of coffee in coffee-flavored ice cream are toxic, too. Let’s check out exactly why coffee is toxic to dogs, what else to avoid, and other useful info.

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Why Is Coffee Toxic to Dogs?

Coffee contains caffeine, which we humans enjoy as a pick-me-up. It also contains xylitol, an artificial sweetener. As it turns out, both ingredients are very toxic to dogs. The caffeine will increase their heart rate and make them very hyperactive, agitated, and possibly even aggressive. Caffeine toxicity in dogs also has a few other symptoms.

Here are some of the most common ones:
  • Extreme panting
  • Vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased body temperature
  • Seizures

In large doses, caffeine can put a dog into a coma or even outright kill them. To avoid these catastrophic effects, avoid giving your dog coffee ice cream or any other coffee product.

close up of a dog panting
Image Credit: Allison Andrews, Shutterstock

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Coffee Ice Cream?

If your dog ate some coffee ice cream, do not panic. A tiny lick probably won’t hurt them, but you should immediately act if they ate a larger amount. You can take them to a vet or opt to call a pet poison hotline. If you notice symptoms like those listed above, immediately call a vet and let them know what happened.

A vet can induce vomiting to remove the coffee ice cream and treat them with activated charcoal, which soaks up toxic ingredients in the stomach. They might also give your dog plenty of intravenous fluids as a way to dilute the toxins in their system. They will likely also observe your dog to make sure they’re okay before you can take them home. Hopefully, all will go well and you’ll be bringing your pup back to the comfort of their own home.

Why Is Ice Cream Bad for Dogs?

Even flavors without chocolate or coffee aren’t healthy for your pups. The xylitol in ice cream can cause intestinal distress and even cause diabetes in dogs, especially if regularly eaten. Regular sugar consumption causes weight gain, too. Keep in mind that obesity in dogs is extremely dangerous and leads to many other serious health problems that could put their life in danger.

If you’re concerned about the ice cream your dog has eaten, call your vet. They will be able to identify if their sugar intake has caused weight gain or any other detrimental health effects and advise you on the best course of action. When in doubt, always call your veterinarian for a professional opinion instead of risking your dog’s health.

dog watching chemex pourover brewing
Image credit: kayla phaneuf, Unsplash

Other Ingredients to Avoid

You’d be surprised by how many common human foods are bad for dogs or even outright toxic. If you have these items in your home, it’s best to keep them away from your dog.

Some very poisonous foods to avoid giving to your dog include:
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions, garlic, and leeks
  • Avocado
  • Cooked bones
  • Tea
  • Citrus
  • Alcohol

Each of these ingredients is toxic to dogs for different reasons, but the point is that you should keep them out of your dog’s reach at all times. If possible, invest in sealed Tupperware containers to store foods that are toxic for dogs. Always keep the foods out of their reach, especially for larger breeds that like to sneak food off of your kitchen countertops.

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Dogs can’t eat coffee ice cream because of the small amounts of caffeine in it, but they’ll probably be okay if they just snuck a tiny lick. If they scarfed down a larger amount, however, you should be calling your vet and letting them know what happened. The vet will be able to take action right away and, hopefully, give them the best shot at recovery possible. Even if you suspect they only took a small lick, make sure to monitor your dog to ensure they don’t experience any discomfort or show any signs of illness.

Featured Image Credit: margouillat photo, Shutterstock


Codee Chessher

Codee Chessher is a seasoned freelance writer with a love of coffee (and caffeine in general), travel, pop culture, and pets. When he's not mainlining espresso, his go-to brewing methods are pour over and the AeroPress. On the go, the Cafe de Olla is a favorite. He's fascinated by the wide range of flavor profiles and numerous brewing methods, and has made it a life goal to try coffee in as many ways as possible.

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