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Dr. Patrick Mahaney Discusses Canine Health Concerns Associated with Ice Water

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Viral Rumor About Giving Dogs Ice Water Is Leaving Pet Parents ColdDo you let your dog drink water that’s ice cold? Did you know that doing so could be detrimental to his health?

Although, not all dogs that drink ice-cold water have health issues. An interesting tale of one dog who did was shared via Snopes.com . I weigh in on dogs and ice water from my veterinary perspective at the end of this article by Pet360.com’s Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell: Viral Rumor About Giving Dogs Ice Water Is Leaving Pet Parents Cold.

Has the recent internet rumor saying that giving your dog ice water can lead to bloat left you cold?

If you’ve spent any amount of time on Facebook this past week, you’ve likely seen the warning supposedly from a dog parent saying that his dog became gravely ill after consuming ice water.

Here is the warning:

"Hello Everyone,

I am writing this in hopes that some may learn from what I just went through. We were having a good weekend till Saturday. On Saturday I showed my Baran and left the ring. He was looking good and at the top of his game. He had a chance at no less than one of the two AOM's.

It did not work out that way. After showing we went back to our site/set up and got the dogs in their crates to cool off. After being back about 30 min. I noticed Baran was low on water. I took a hand full of ice from my cooler and put it in his bucket with more water. We then started to get all the dogs Ex'ed and food ready for them.

I had Baran in his 48' crate in the van because this is the place he loves to be. He loves to be able to see everyone and everything. After checking him and thinking he was cooled off enough, we fed him. We walked around and one of my friends stated that Baran seemed like he was choking. I went over and checked on him. He was dry heaving and drooling. I got him out of the crate to check him over and noticed he had not eaten. He was in some distress. I checked him over from head to toe and did not notice anything.

I walked him around for about a minute when I noticed that he was starting to bloat. I did everything I was taught to do in this case. I was not able to get him to burp, and we gave him Phasezime.

We rushed Baran to a vet clinic. We called ahead and let them know we were on our way. They were set up and waiting for us. They got Baran stabilized very quickly. After Baran was stable and out of distress we transported him to AVREC where he went into surgery to make sure no damage was done to any of his vital organs. I am very happy to say Baran is doing great, there was no damage to any vital organs, and he still loves his food.

In surgery the vet found that Baran's stomach was in its normal anatomic position. We went over what had happened. When I told the vet about the ice water, he asked why I gave him ice water. I said that I have always done this. I told him my history behind this practice and his reply was, "I have been very lucky." The ice water I gave Baran caused violent muscle spasms in his stomach which caused the bloating. Even though I figured his temperature was down enough to feed, and gave him this ice water, I was wrong. His internal temperature was still high. The vet stated that giving a dog ice to chew or ice water is a big NO, NO! There is no reason for a dog to have ice/ice water. Normal water at room temperature, or cooling with cold towels on the inner thigh, is the best way to help cool a dog. The vet explained it to me like this: If you, as a person, fall into a frozen lake what happens to your muscles? They cramp. This is the same as a dog's stomach

I felt the need to share this with everyone, in the hopes that some may learn from what I went through, I do not wish this on anyone. Baran is home now doing fine. So please if you do use ice and ice water, beware of what could happen."

Pet360.com asked one of our veterinarian consultants about the rumor and while he did not express concern over bloat, Patrick Mahaney, VMD, said ice water may indeed slow down normal digestion. “The application of freezing cold temperatures to internal organ tissues, like the inside of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines, can cause acute onset vasoconstriction that reduces blood flow, nutrient delivery, oxygenation, and metabolic waste removal from the site,” Mahaney said. “This can also affect muscular contraction and slow down normal peristalsis, which is the unconscious movement of muscular tissue lining the intestine.”

Mahaney said it is much better to give a dog water at room temperature. “Your dog will better reap the benefits of hydration when drinking water that is room temperature instead of ice cold. It also is a safer bet for whole body health.”

Snopes.com also addressed the internet rumor.

Thank you for reading this article. Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).
Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2014) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

© 2012 PET360 INC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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