Vet says warning against ice water for pets is overblown

An old rumor is getting new life as hot summer weather blankets much of the country.

Links to blogs and other online posts warn pet owners about the supposed dangers of giving ice water to an overheated pet. They claim giving ice water could cause a dog’s stomach to spasm and bloat, resulting in serious injury or even death.

The claims seem to have begun with a grain of truth, but some may have snowballed into frightening falsehoods.

Snopes.com cites a veterinarian who calls the claim “web-based misinformation (that) will just not die.”

The warnings about ice water for pets have been circulating since at least 2007.

Dr. Randall Carpenter, a veterinarian, told our sister station WXMI the danger is real, but is not necessarily directly connected to ice cubes or ice water given to your pet.

“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,” Carpenter said.

But, he said, that is true for large amounts of water at any temperature, not just ice cold.

Carpenter said consuming cold water or ice cubes in moderation will not cause bloat. He said giving your pet ice cubes and cold water in hot weather is fine as long as it is done with moderation and common sense.