Sherbet ice cream is a popular alternative to traditional gelato, being mixed with sweetened fruit juices, fruit puree and other flavours. Many people reward their dogs with human treats like this, particularly in hot weather so they can cool themselves down; however, is it okay for dogs to eat sherbet, sorbet and other types of ice cream?
Can dogs eat sherbet? Dogs can eat sherbet and sorbet. However, due to the high sugar content and lactose, it isn’t healthy. If you do feed your dog sherbet, make it small amounts and only as a special treat. Tiny amounts of sorbet won’t do dogs major harm, unless they have any pre-existing allergies.
But with so many types of ice cream and similar frozen treats out there, how can you be sure that you are feeding your dog appropriately? And are there any health risks to any of the ingredients in frozen dairy products such as sorbet and sherbet?
Can dogs eat sherbet or sorbet?
Sherbet ice cream is somewhat different to traditional ice cream, containing less dairy and being combined with fruit juices and purees to give it flavour and colour.
Like humans, a lot of dogs can have an intolerance to lactose, meaning that giving them large amounts of dairy can give them stomach upsets, gas, bloating and even pain.
Because of this, as well as the high sugar content in the treat, sherbet and other ice creams should only be given to them once in awhile in very small amounts. An occasional lick of an ice cream shouldn’t do them any harm, but you should not give them bowlfuls of the stuff in one go.
Unlike ice cream and sherbet, sorbet contains no dairy whatsoever which means that dogs known to have severe lactose intolerance can eat it without having any problems.
However, the sugar levels in sorbet are still very high and so it is still not very healthy to feed your dog large amounts of it at a time.
Can dogs have watermelon sherbet or sorbet?
Dogs can have watermelon sherbet, just use it occasionally and opt for one with reduced sugar.
Fruit is always a great way of rewarding your dog and is preferable to resorting to potentially unhealthy and expensive dog treats.
Actual watermelon is a favorite among dogs, especially because of its high-water content that can help to keep them hydrated on hot days.
While a watermelon sorbet isn’t really the equivalent of a healthier snack, watermelon sorbet is made from the juice and puree of watermelon, giving your dog a tasty snack that doesn’t risk them chewing on the rind or choking on any of the seeds.
Dog friendly watermelon sorbet is available on the market, as well as to make yourself through online DIY recipes (see one on Rover.com).
Making your own dog friendly sorbet is relatively easy; use a food processor to puree frozen diced watermelon and its juice into a slushy consistency that can be served immediately.
This can act as a low-calorie snack that doesn’t have any of the added sugars or artificial flavourings that shop-bought sorbet made for humans contains. It is also a healthy alternative for you to enjoy too!
Can dogs have pineapple sherbet or sorbet?
As with watermelon sherbet and sorbet, feeding your dog small amounts of pineapple sherbet won’t cause them any harm and can even help cool them down in hot weather.
While sherbet ice cream contains lactose that could cause any intolerant dogs stomach upsets or even nausea, pineapple sorbet contains no dairy products and is based on pureed pineapple and its juice.
Pineapple is a great fruit to feed your dog, with a sharper taste that many dogs enjoy (although, like humans, they do have their individual tastes).
Because of the high sugar content in the fruit, it is recommended to give them small amounts of pineapple sherbet at a time. Because of this, pineapple sorbet made for humans can contain even more sugar because of the added ingredients on top of the natural sugars within the fruit.
For a healthier alternative, put a small amount of diced, frozen pineapple through a food processor to create a slushy sorbet-like treat that your dog can happily eat in small amounts during the summer.
You can also combine it with some coconut milk or yogurt to thicken the consistency.
Can dogs eat mango sherbet or sorbet?
Mango is another popular fruit treat for many dogs, having enough sugar in it naturally to reward them, whilst cutting out any of the negative additives or other ingredients that add to the number of calories and sugars in shop-bought treats.
Mango sorbet is very easy to come by in the frozen aisle of your supermarket, especially during the summer. Many dogs will want to cool themselves down and giving them small amounts of frozen treats is a fun alternative to normal dog biscuits and chews.
However, the high sugar content in sorbet made for human consumption can make it more unhealthy than pure sections of the fruit.
As with the above watermelon and pineapple sorbets, by putting a small amount of diced, frozen mango into a food processor, along with some coconut milk or yogurt to thicken the consistency, you can make your very own, low-sugar sorbet at home; suitable for both you and your dog to eat.
Still only give them small amounts occasionally, however, as mango does contain large amounts of naturally occurring sugars.
What about other similar human foods?
Now we’ve established that dogs can eat sherbet in moderation, what about other cooling treats that are designed for humans? I decided to look into the facts surrounding ice cream, popsicles, and yogurts.
Can dogs eat vanilla ice cream?
While ice cream as a whole can be unhealthy for dogs, certain ice creams are better than others for an occasional treat.
It is almost universally known than dogs can’t eat chocolate, meaning that even a small amount on a hot day is a no-go zone for them.
Other flavours, such as mint, strawberry and artificial flavours like bubble-gum are still going to contain large amounts of sugar and unhealthy additives, as well as lactose which many dogs will have an intolerance for.
While a small amount of these ice cream won’t cause your dog any harm, aside from chocolate which is toxic for dogs, vanilla ice cream is the best way to go if you want to give your dog a small amount of ice-cream to themselves.
Vanilla ice cream is the basic flavour for most ice cream brands, containing no other colouring or flavouring additives that could negatively affect your dog’s health.
However, ice cream is made from dairy, meaning that lactose intolerant dogs could suffer from stomach upsets, nausea and other symptoms if they eat too much.
An occasional lick of an ice cream shouldn’t be anything to worry about, but if you are concerned for the health of your lactose intolerant dog then home-made sorbets are the better option as they contain no dairy products.
Can dogs eat popsicles?
Popsicles and other frozen treats are a good way of cooling down in hot weather, especially during the summer months where they are very easily come by in stores and on the street.
For dogs who often find it hard to regulate their body temperature in their thick coats, ice popsicles and other cold treats are a great way of cooling themselves down.
However, popsicles made for humans to eat often contain large amounts of sugar, sweeteners, colourings and flavours that in large amounts are not very healthy for your dog.
Also, some contain dairy products which could cause lactose intolerant dogs’ discomfort if eaten in large amounts.
Like small amounts of ice cream, the occasional piece of popsicle won’t cause your dog any harm, but make sure that you are aware of the ingredients.
A popular additive xylitol can be used in popsicles, which is highly toxic to dogs and should not be fed to them even in small amounts.
Always check the label before giving any popsicles to your dog, and it is best to avoid giving them ‘sugar free’ popsicles, just to be safe.
Can dogs eat yogurt?
While yogurt is a dairy product, if your dog is not lactose intolerant than yogurt is absolutely fine to give them. You can even add it to meals to supplement their diet, with many yogurts containing probiotics that help digestion and boosts their immune system.
It is best to give your dog natural yogurt without any added flavours or colours, and always check the label as some do contain xylitol which is incredibly toxic for dogs and can cause everything from seizures, dropping blood pressure and even death.
Frozen yogurt is a good alternative to ice cream in the summer months, although the same precautions should be taken with checking the ingredients and levels of sugar and lactose.
There are many dog-friendly frozen yogurt products available on the market, as well as DIY recipes for you to be able to make some yourself. You can see a great recipe idea on the Clean Eating mag website.
Dogs will eat anything, and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to let them snack on treats such as sherbet and sorbet that could lead to health issues.
Diabetes is a huge health risk, particularly in older dogs so feed sherbets and sorbets to your dog sparingly, perhaps just as a small treat on a hot summer’s day.