Can Dogs Get Brain Freeze? Is it Painful? How To Prevent It?

We’ve all gotten a brain freeze at least once in our lives. Slurping down a cold smoothie or overeating ice cream sounds fantastic until you have to stop because of the sudden jolt of pain in your head.

You probably share your ice cream or cold food with your dog too. After all, who would be cruel enough to deny those puppy eyes? Surely, not you.

frozen foods like frozen meat can also put them in harm's way.

But have you ever thought about your beloved pet experiencing a brain freeze?

Yes, you heard it right; your dog can get a brain freeze like you.

Wolfing ice cream or in big servings may seem fine to you, but it can be hurtful to your dog. Unless you know what you’re doing, feeding your dog frozen foods like frozen meat can also put them in harm’s way.

Why? Because dogs can’t tell us what they’re feeling. Can dogs get brain freeze, and can it be dangerous? Simple Answer, Yes.

Dogs get brain freeze just like us hoomans, but dog owners often don’t know when their dogs get a brain freeze. Often, people don’t even know dogs can get a brain freeze.

But don’t worry; you can always protect your pawl before things worsen.

Please scroll down below to learn about brain freeze in dogs and how to prevent them.

Your dog can also get cold headaches (like a brain freeze), which can be tricky to manage. 

While your dog can’t tell you when it’s suffering from a cold headache, there are some ways to know something is wrong.

Cold headaches typically include pain in the forehead and tingling, but these symptoms can’t always indicate to a dog owner that their pup is suffering.

One way to tell that something is wrong with your dog is by its behavior. If your dog is acting weirdly, whimpering, whining, or howling in a way that’s out of the ordinary, it may be in pain.

Cold headaches usually happen after a dog eats or drinks something cool, so immediately stop giving your dog cold food unless you know it isn’t a cold headache.

Also Read: What Your Dog’s Head-Under-Chin Gesture Really Means?

Can Dogs Feel The Brain Freeze Hurt?

Your pets may look different than you, but they also experience pain and discomfort.

After eating something cold or drinking icy drinks, your dog may suddenly start behaving differently.

Not all dogs will face behavioral changes when they get a brain freeze, and not all dogs will experience the same changes; but if your dog gets a brain freeze, it will be in pain.

For most dogs, getting a brain freeze is not a fun experience.

Dogs don’t just feel pain in their foreheads like we do; they may feel pain across their faces.

Additionally, dogs who get a brain freeze can suffer from uncontrolled shaking and tingling, which makes moving an uncomfortable experience.

You can imagine why brain freeze and dogs don’t go together.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has a Brain Freeze

Shying Away from the Food

Concerned pawrents will want to know if their beloved dog is experiencing a brain freeze.

Trying to figure out whether your dog is getting a brain freeze is not exactly easy. Some dogs will experience the same symptoms and may display the same signs, but even dogs in the same family may not go through the same changes as the others.

However, here are some signs that can tell you if your dog is experiencing brain freeze:

Changes in Behavior

The best way you can guess if your dog is in pain is by observing its behavior.

Dog owners know their dogs the best, so if you feel your dog is behaving in a way it usually does not, you’ll probably realize something is wrong.

While not every dog will change its behavior, some changes include a disinterest in food, whimpering when you pet a dog, bowing down the head, sleeping, or taking naps for more extended periods than usual.

Avoiding the Sun

You should be concerned if the words ‘outside’ and ‘walk’ do not affect your dog.

All dogs love going outside, but if your dog feels disinterested in the idea or doesn’t seem to want to do so, it may be in pain.

If you’re already outside with your dog and your dog quickly wants to leave, you know something is wrong. Usually, your dog might be pulling on its leash or laying on the ground to stop you, so if the dog is suspiciously okay with the idea of returning to the house, you know your pupper is feeling discomfort.

Shying Away from the Food

An instant way of telling your dog is suffering from a brain freeze is if it immediately backs away from the frozen food it was already eating.

However, just because a dog backs away from the food momentarily does not mean it won’t go for it again.

Sometimes, dogs have a delayed reaction to the brain freeze, so you should always be watchful when your dog has been served something cold.

Dogs are smart enough to realize that the food they are eating could be what causes their pain, but the naughty creatures might still go for second servings.

If the dog experiences a mild brain freeze, it will take a short pause before continuing to eat.

This is why if you spot your dog taking minute breaks before resuming eating, you should take away the bowl.

Why Dogs Get Brain Freeze?

How a brain freeze happens does not make sense for humans and dogs.

After all, the cold food your dog eats goes to its stomach, so there should be no reason for the dog to feel pain in its head.

As it turns out, eating something cold causes the head to hurt because of the way the food was consumed.

Here’s an easier explanation: on the roof of the mouth is a group of nerves that can sense temperature.

When the nerves feel a sudden temperature change, they send a panicked message to the brain. The message is basically: “help, this is too cold!”

When the brain receives the message, it tries to fix the problem by telling the nerves it’s okay.

But these nerves on the roof of the mouth have only one response: headaches.

So, why doesn’t a brain freeze happen if the food is eaten slowly?

Because when someone eats something cold, slowly, the nerves have enough time to recognize that it’s just food with a cooler temperature.

But dogs don’t eat slowly, do they?

Dogs eat anything in sight quickly, which is why they don’t stop to take breaks between eating. When the dogs consume something cold quickly, the nerves send a big panic message, an actual pain in the head.

Shiver Me Whiskers! Is Brain Freeze Harmful?

Can dogs get brain freeze? Yes.

But is a brain freeze harmful? If left untreated, then yes.

Most of the time, a brain freeze goes away on its own. However, for your furry friend, the time it takes for a brain freeze to go away on its own might be longer.

A brain freeze can be harmful, especially if it is pretty intense.

Since most people can’t immediately tell if their dog has a brain freeze, it is left untreated.

If the brain freeze continues for a long time and the dog keeps eating cold food, it could cause severe health issues.

In some cases, a brain freeze is harmful based on the food’s origin.

Eating traditional ice creams frequently can cause an intense brain freeze. If the dog eats ice cream regularly, it might even begin vomiting.

While some health issues aren’t directly related to a brain freeze, they can be triggered by one. Moreover, some health issues can become much more challenging to treat if your dog also has a brain freeze.

Ignoring The Panic Button: When Is a Brain Freeze Riskless?

Should I stop feeding my dog cold food if a brain freeze is harmful?

Well, a brain freeze can harm a dog, but it is safe to continue with frozen foods in some cases.

Slower Eating

If your dog is given frozen food slowly, it may experience a temporary brain freeze.

However, there’s no need to worry because this brain freeze lasts only about a minute and is not that painful.

In simpler words, when you ease your dog into a cold treat, the nerves on the roof of its mouth may panic for a short second, but that’s because they are adjusting to the temperature.

Eating slowly reduces the chances of a brain freeze too. The slower your dog eats, the lesser the chances of feeling pain.

Controlled Servings

If your dog is eating something frozen, it should be fine if the servings aren’t too big.

Ice creams and frozen yogurt are safe for dogs if they are not more than a scoop.

Yes; you can give them another scoop when the dogs are done eating, but keep the quantity controlled.

Frozen meat and other items may also trigger a temporary brain freeze, but if provided gradually and carefully, your dog won’t feel a thing.

Frozen Food, Brain Freeze, And Dogs: What’s The Stitch?

The relationship between dogs and frozen food is complicated.

Dogs aren’t used to slowing down when they eat, which is why they are prone to getting a brain freeze.

However, this does not mean you can’t feed a dog something frozen; if you are careful with the serving and feed it to your dog, the dog can easily eat frozen food without a brain freeze.

Additionally, some foods can make a brain freeze worse, especially those you buy from public spaces.

Ice creams served by an ice cream vendor or frozen yogurts may harm dogs for reasons more than their temperature.

You don’t know what is inside the frozen treat, so it might cause a reaction if your dog is allergic to one of the ingredients.

Giving your dog a scrap of frozen meat while at the butcher’s might also cause a headache.

Because frozen meat isn’t cooked, it still has some bacteria. It could also carry dangerous germs which, with or without the bacteria, could cause health problems in the dog.

If you want to feed your dog frozen food, you should make it yourself. There are quite a few recipes that allow you to make ice cream or frozen yogurt for your dog, so when you’re feeding your dog the food, you at least know it’s hygienic.

DIY Popsicles for Pup-Sickles

A fantastic recipe for a dog-friendly frozen treat is DIY popsicles. These popsicles don’t have to follow a complex recipe and can be as simple as you like.

Ice Cubes with A Dash of Flavor

Flavor a cup of water with anything safe for your dog. Mix thoroughly and freeze the water into an ice tray.

When your dog whines for a cool treat in the summer, serve it a cube or two.

Froyo Popsicles

Blend in yogurt and dog-friendly fruits. Place the mixture into a popsicle tray and freeze.

You can serve the dog these popsicles in smaller quantities.

Some dog-friendly fruits that you can add are:

  • Watermelon
  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Berries

Cones And Bones: Is Ice Cream Safe for Dogs?

Dogs love a good ice cream cone, but is it safe for them?

Well, the answer is a bit complex. You see, dogs can eat ice cream in minor and controlled quantities.

But if you’re feeding your dog heaps of ice cream straight from the cone, you’re giving them a brain freeze and exposing them to unknown allergens and germs.

Dog parents who want to feed ice cream to their fur babies can look for healthier, homemade alternatives.

If your pupper is a sucker for ice cream and whines when it doesn’t get a bite, you might be unable to convince the dog to let it go.

In these cases, making the ice cream yourself is best.

Making the ice cream yourself will reassure you about the hygiene and safe ingredients, and you won’t have to run after your dog because it snatched an entire cone from your hand.

Can I Feed My Dog Frozen Yogurt?

When it comes to ice creams, frozen yogurt, and dogs, there isn’t a big difference.

Ice creams and frozen yogurt differ from each other only slightly, so you have to look out the same way for both of them.

But yes, you can feed your dog some froyo; if you do, you might also make them healthier.

The temperature of frozen yogurt can harm the dog, but it can be controlled easily. You can wait for the froyo to melt before feeding it to your dog, so you’re good to go.

Froyo contains yogurt, which is famously good for digestion.

Frozen yogurt is a much better option than ice cream.

Can Frozen Fruits Cause Brain Freeze in Dogs?

You might be used to handing out a little bit of frozen fruit to your dog, but you have to be careful about how much you feed them.

Since dogs cannot eat most fruit, you mustn’t feed your dog any fruit that they might get sick from.

Even if you are feeding dogs safe fruits like watermelon, cantaloupes, and berries, do not serve big pieces if they are frozen.

Eating big pieces of frozen fruit can choke a dog, so you should be careful.

You are good to go if you feed them cut-up, frozen fruits!

Can Dogs Eat Frozen Meat?

Technically, dogs should eat frozen meat, right?

Meat is one of the things a dog can eat without any issues, but not all dogs can digest it.

If you want to start your dog on frozen meat (which could be raw or cooked and frozen later), introduce the meat to your dog in small portions.

Ensure you’re cutting the meat into small, bite-sized pieces so your dog isn’t in line for choking.

Feeding frozen meat in cut-up pieces gradually ensures that you’re not feeding your dog something it doesn’t like; if your dog doesn’t take a liking to the meat, taking it out of the mouth is much easier.

Indicators Of Brain Freeze in Dogs

Tingling and Shaking

Doggie parents can tell if their dog is getting a brain freeze if their dog experiences the following signs:

Forehead Pain

If your dog has forehead pain, it will keep its head low and may lean it against a soft item like the couch to relieve pressure.

If you find your dog slouching in a corner and not looking up, it could be a sign of forehead pain.

Unusual Pacing

All dogs are energetic, but if your dog is unusually hyperactive, it could be in pain.

Remember, a brain freeze can make it difficult for dogs to move.

But not all dogs will react the same way, which means that some dogs could react to the pain by pacing around a lot.


If your dog is suffering from brain freeze, then depending on the intensity of the brain freeze, your dog could whimper and cry.

Some dogs howl or whimper when in pain, but if you spot your dog shedding tears, it’s a sure sign to know something is wrong.

Startled Look

Dogs cannot process a brain freeze as humans can; while the latter can immediately tell what’s wrong, the former cannot.

If your dog gets a brain freeze, it may go into shock.

Don’t worry; this shock doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily in danger, but it does mean that your dog is confused/startled enough.

A sign of being startled or confused by the pain of a brain freeze might make your dog look the part; wide eyes and a mouth gasping for air might be the appearance of a dog getting a brain freeze.

Tingling and Shaking

A brain freeze can cause excessive shaking or tingle in body parts, which means your dog could be suffering from much more than just pain.

Saving Your Pupper

If you’ve experienced your dog getting a brain freeze before, or if you want to be prepared against any harmful circumstances, you need to know how to save your dog from getting a brain freeze.

These are the steps you should take when you think your dog is getting a brain freeze:

Regulate the Temperature

A dog’s body temperature may decrease when it eats or drinks something cold.

It isn’t necessary that the dog feels cold or begins shivering; in some cases, your dog’s tongue will get too cold.

If you think your dog is getting a brain freeze, immediately remove the cold treat and give it room temperature water.

However, don’t offer your dog something scalding; eating/drinking hot food can cause equal damage as cold food.

Control the Shaking

If your dog is shaking, slowly take the dog into your arms and rub its coat. If the dog seems to calm down, continue the motion and start massaging the head.

Your dog will gradually calm down with a head massage if it gets a brain freeze.

Comfort the Little Pupper

Your dog will panic or be afraid when it gets a brain freeze, which is why you need to be comforting.

Frequent pets, belly rubs, and soothing words can help a dog return to a good mood.

Preventing Brain Freeze in Dogs

It is better to be safe than sorry, so you’ll need to take some precautions. These include:

Limiting Cold Food

Avoid feeding your dog cold food regularly. You can serve the dog something cold occasionally, but not too frequently.

Smaller Portions

If you give your dog cold food, ensure it’s in small and controlled portions.

Feeding cold food in smaller portions reduces the risk of a brain freeze.

Mix It Up

Add cold food to your dog’s diet, quite literally.

If you want to feed your dog cold treats but don’t want to cause any harm, include the cold food in your dog’s meal.

This way, your dog can eat the treats, but the warmth of its meal will level out the cold.

Alternative Cooling Methods

Some owners feed their dogs cold treats to cool them down in the summer. This is most common with owners who have dogs that love the cold, like huskies.

Instead of feeding your dog cold food, try using different methods to cool them down.

A cool shower, a swim in the pool, or if you have a husky, a lovely ice bath will do the trick.

When To Visit the Dogtor?

While a brain freeze could go away on its own, some symptoms/signs immediately hint toward visiting the vet.

Sometimes, the dog could react to ice cream by vomiting or diarrhea, which is a sure sign to visit the vet.

Even if your dog doesn’t seem to have a brain freeze anymore, you should make an appointment with the vet in case.

Can Dogs Get Brain Freeze (1)

The Final Take

Can dogs get brain freeze? Yes. But should you worry? Not really.

While your pal for life may get a brain freeze every time it gets even a woof of something cold, you don’t have to worry unless you don’t know what to do.

Make sure you have eyes on your dog every time you serve cold food because a dog can display the signs of a brain freeze at any time.

Dogs are used to quickly swiping food and swallowing it, which puts them at a greater risk of a brain freeze than other animals.

However, if you’re quick to react, you can easily save your dog from a brain freeze and continue feeding it some delicious, cold snacks!

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Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.