Most of our dogs, given the choice, would spend every waking hour with us.
But, of course, this just isn’t possible.
Yet without a doubt they are spending more time with us and becoming increasingly important members of our family.
One of the habits that highlights this is the way that we share our food with our dogs.
And in response to this, many restaurants are beginning to include dog friendly items on their menu.
One of these is Dairy Queen, which for years has been serving its famous Pup Cup, which is a serving of its soft serve ice cream.
But, could this ice cream contain xylitol- a known toxin to dogs?
What are the ingredients in Dairy Cream Ice Cream?
The great news is that there is no xylitol in any of the many flavours of soft serve ice cream made by Dairy Queen.
A quick look at the menu shows that Ice cream features in six Blizzard flavours and three flavours of Classic Treats.
But xylitol isn’t one of them.
I mean the ingredients which are in this delicious soft serve ice cream aren’t exactly healthy.
But we’re talking about ice cream here, aren’t we?
And here they are:
Milkfat And Nonfat Milk,
Mono And Diglycerides,
Vitamin A Palmitate
In the next section, I want to take a closer look at these ingredients to see just how dog friendly they are.
Are any of these ingredients poisonous to dogs?
It is worth remembering that when it comes to lists of ingredients the “biggest” ones always come first.
Milk and Non fat milk
Milk is only dangerous for your dog if it is lactose intolerant.
It is the most used ingredient in this ice cream which is good news as long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant.
As we all know, eating too much sugar will make our dog fatter and will also increase the rate at which their teeth decay.
And as the second most used ingredient, that is a lot of sugar.
Although this syrup is derived from corn it is effectively another form of sugar. It is about 77% sugar.
Apart from that, see above.
This is the liquid that is left over as milk curdles before turning into cheese.
It won’t harm your dog unless they are severely lactose intolerant.
I can’t find any information on how much lactose there is in whey.
All I know is that it does contain it.
Mono and Diglycerides
These are chemical products that are made from processing vegetable oils. They won’t harm your dog.
Guar gum is a substance that is derived from crushing cluster beans.
It is used in foods as a way to thicken them up and give them a certain texture.
It is also used as a medicine to help fight conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
It isn’t poisonous or toxic to dogs.
Having established that Dairy Cream ice cream doesn’t contain xylitol and having explained a bit about how the ingredients within it might affect your dog, I want to move on.
And in the next few sections, I will be focusing on xylitol and why it is so dangerous to dogs.
What is xylitol?
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in some low fat and reduced sugar foods because whilst it tastes very similar to saccharin (or table sugar) it only has a fraction of the calories.
And it is not nearly as harmful to teeth as ordinary sugar is.
Apparently that is because the bacteria in our mouths can’t convert it into the nasty acid that rots teeth.
But although it has several advantages when it is added into human foods, it is a very dangerous ingredient as far as our dogs are concerned.
And we will find out why in the next section.
Why is xylitol poisonous to dogs?
Xylitol isn’t poisonous for humans, so why is it poisonous for dogs?
The answer lies with blood sugar, and more specifically with the role of insulin in controlling it.
When a dog digests xylitol it absorbs more quickly into their bloodstream than in humans which can result in the pancreas releasing too much insulin at once.
If this happens it can lead to hypoglycemia, and if left untreated this condition can be deadly to dogs.
What are the signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs?
Typically the signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs will occur within a few hours of consumption, and when they begin they will normally be the classic signs of hypoglycemia.
There is a chance your dog could develop liver failure from xylitol poisoning, in which case they may not show signs of hypoglycemia first.
Signs of hypoglycemia in dogs include vomiting, weakness, sluggishness/lethargy, a lack of coordination or difficulty walking/standing, tremors, seizures, or a coma.
If your dog displays any of these symptoms then you should take them to the vet immediately, and if you know your dog has ingested anything containing xylitol then you should take them even if they aren’t displaying symptoms yet.
How much xylitol does it take to poison a dog?
It doesn’t take very much xylitol to cause a negative reaction in a dog, and for this reason any amount ingested is dangerous.
If the amount ingested is fairly small then it’s more likely to cause hypoglycemia, whereas if the amount is larger then it generally causes liver failure.
And it’s also important to keep in mind that the size of the dog is a factor in how much xylitol it takes to become toxic.
So now that we have looked at xylitol in a lot more detail, in the next section I want to look at another ingredients in Dairy Queen’s ice cream dishes that are problematic for your dog.
Dairy Queen ice cream contains cocoa (chocolate)
As I said earlier, looking at the menu, there are nine dishes which have ice cream in them.
Of these, five of them contain cocoa or chocolate.
Now, I doubt that there is enough cocoa and therefore enough theobromine in any of these flavours to trouble your dog but it is something to think about and bear in mind.
And the reason that I don’t think that the amount of cocoa used is enough to poison your dog is because when cocoa is listed as ingredients it comes near the end of the list.
Which shows that only very small amounts of it are used.
The ones to look out for are:
- Girl Scout Thin Mints
- Oreo Dirt Pie
- Caramel Fudge Cheesecake
- Very Cherry Chip
- Chocolate Dipped Cone
But to be on the safe side, if you do want to share an ice cream treat from Dairy Queen, just avoid these flavours.
But what about ice cream from other popular restaurants?
Do they contain xylitol? Or chocolate?
Does McDonalds ice cream contain xylitol?
There is no need to panic but the ice cream served in a McDonalds soft serve cone doesn’t contain xylitol.
So feel free to let your dog have a lick!
What is interesting is how similar the ingredients in McDonald’s ice cream are to the ice cream at Dairy Queen.
Another ice cream dish from MacDonalds is their Hot Fudge Sundae.
This uses the same soft serve ice cream as the soft serve cone with a chocolate sauce drizzled on top.
And guess what? The sauce contains cocoa.
Can you guess what restaurant that I’m looking at next?
Does Burger King ice cream contain xylitol?
We are on a roll here!
There are two main Burger King menu items that contain soft serve ice cream.
They are the Soft Serve Cone and the Soft Serve Cup.
And this ice cream doesn’t contain any xylitol.
Neither do these ice cream dishes contain any chocolate.
Although, keep your dog well away from their Hershey’s Sundae Pie!
And to finish, I want to look at a restaurant that only serves ice cream.
Does Baskin Robin ice cream contain xylitol?
It seems to me that Baskin Robbins has at least twenty three flavours of ice cream that are permanently available in its restaurants.
And the good news as far as xylitol is concerned is that it isn’t used in any of them.
And I presume that xylitol isn’t used in any of the seasonal flavours of ice cream that it has available.
Although of the twenty three permanent flavours, up to thirteen of them may contain chocolate in one form or another!
I’m just saying that to keep you on your toes!