Technically, yes, dogs can eat ice cream cones but ideally, no, they really shouldn’t. This applies to cones with ice cream as well as just the cones themselves that do not have any ice cream in them.
Here, you can learn more about the potential risks that eating ice cream cones can cause to dogs and what you should do in case you find them eating them. Let’s begin!
Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream Cones?
If you feed your dog a small piece of an ice cream cone or even give them a lick, this is unlikely to cause too much harm. However, the problem arises when you feed them large quantities of the cone or give it to them on a regular basis.
Ice cream cones and ice cream contain too much sugar and too many calories, both of which are unsafe for your dog. Dogs tend to have sensitive stomachs and dairy, sugar and flour are bound to cause some kind of distress.
Ice cream cones are also a bit sharp, presenting a choking hazard for dogs.
Is There Any Safe Quantity?
Different dogs are bound to have different levels of tolerance when it comes to certain kinds of food, so it can be difficult to point to a universal safe quantity when it comes to ice cream cones.
However, in general, it might be okay for you to give your dog a small bite from your ice cream or a few licks as long as you do so on a rare basis. This can act as an occasional treat for your dogs, but make sure you do not create an expectation or habit for them.
Apart from the safe quantity, it is quite likely that having too many bites from an ice cream cone as well as frequent feeding can lead to several risks for your dog, some of which you can go through below.
Lactose intolerance is quite a common issue that dogs tend to experience due to their sensitive digestive system.
In particular, after weaning takes place, most dogs are no longer able to digest milk properly since their bodies stop producing too much lactase, the enzyme required for breaking down and digesting milk.
Since ice cream cones are likely to contain dairy, especially when combined with ice cream, this can upset your dog’s stomach and create discomfort and issues such as vomiting and nausea.
Gluten, in the form of wheat, is a major component of ice cream cones. While gluten intolerance itself is not that common when it comes to dogs, there might be a risk of your dog having gluten sensitivity of some sort.
Thus, if you find that your dog does not react well to ice cream cones or any other gluten-based food, then it is best for you to avoid giving them ice cream cones to munch on, even if rare or in small quantities.
If they end up eating too much gluten, this might lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
In general, even without lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity, your dog might end up experiencing digestive issues due to the nature of their digestive systems.
In this case, eating too many bites of an ice cream cone can cause your dog distress and lead to nausea, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and lethargy, among others.
This is why following a healthy diet for your dogs that meets their nutritional requirements is important.
However, if your dog happens to occasionally have small pieces of a cone, then this might be okay and might not necessarily lead to digestive distress. Your dog’s own tolerance level is important to take into account here.
Make sure you particularly avoid flavored or colored cones (like coffee or food coloring) or cones dipped in chocolate.
Pain and Discomfort
Discomfort might be another risk that you might need to look out for. The trouble with the digestive tract and system can actually be quite uncomfortable for dogs to deal with, especially since they also have to deal with issues like diarrhea and vomiting.
Lethargy and depression might end up setting in if your dog is unable to perform the usual activities, especially if the situation lasts for a few days.
While rare, your dog might also experience pain if the symptoms get worse, so make sure you observe your dog and take them to the vet if required.
Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Sherbet?
Apart from digestive issues and intolerance, one of the biggest risks of ice cream cones is that they can present a choking hazard for dogs, especially since they might contain some sharp ends that your dog might not be familiar with in terms of chewing.
This can then lead to blockages or the cone getting caught in the throat, leading to trouble swallowing. This can also lead to breathing issues if not taken care of immediately.
Ice cream cones contain a lot of sugar and calories. If there is ice cream in the cone, then the sugar and calorie content is bound to be much higher.
If you happen to feed your dog ice cream cones frequently and in large amounts, then this can end up increasing the intake of sugars and calories, leading to unhealthy weight gain and obesity.
Obesity can then put your dog at risk of several chronic conditions such as heart diseases, respiratory issues and more, so make sure you limit this kind of intake and ensure sufficient exercise for your dog.
Xylitol is a sweetener that is found in various kinds of foods and is meant to act as a substitute for sugar. Thus, even if you buy sugar-free ice cream with cones, they will still contain a lot of xylitol that can prove to be extremely toxic and harmful for dogs.
In fact, xylitol can lead to poisoning in dogs, resulting in adverse effects and chronic conditions such as seizures, liver failure, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar and even death.
You should note that even if ingested in small quantities, xylitol can result in such toxicities, so make it a point to check the ingredients beforehand to prevent such an occurrence.
Your dog might simply be allergic to certain ingredients found in ice cream cones. This can not only lead to digestive issues but can also result in skin conditions such as dermatitis and lead to various kinds of infections in your dog.
Your dog might then exhibit symptoms such as itching, redness, swelling, discomfort, pain and discharge, among others.
It might not be easy for you to notice that your dog is allergic—especially if they are undiagnosed—so make sure you watch out for signs of itching, licking and inflammation.
What If My Dog Eats an Ice Cream Cone?
While you might be cautious and careful, it is still possible for your dog to eat an ice cream cone without you knowing about it. Either someone else might feed it to them or they might end up eating it on their own if they find it lying around.
In such a case, you should observe your dog’s behavior to see if any symptoms turn up. Usually, if this is a rare occurrence, you might not need to worry too much since your dog might exhibit some digestive discomfort but will be able to get better in a day or so.
Nevertheless, if you are worried or if you notice that your dog is still feeling uncomfortable and displaying other issues, you should take them to the vet.
If the ice cream cone had xylitol in it, then you should definitely take them to the vet immediately.
Alternatives to Ice Cream Cones
Even if you can’t feed ice cream cones often to your dog, there are several alternatives that you can consider buying. You might be able to locate many frozen dog treats, cream, cones, waffle bites and others that are made specifically for dogs while keeping their health and safety in mind.
This can provide them with nutrition while also making for a delicious treat.
Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Frozen Yogurt?
The Final Word
To sum up, it is important to be highly cautious of feeding ice cream cones to your dogs since they can lead to issues like intolerance, digestion troubles, pain, choking, xylitol toxicity, allergies and obesity, among others. A small and rare quantity is fine, but if your dog eats more than that, you might need to take them to a vet.