While a dollop of whipped cream on their nose for a holiday photo or an occasional Puppuccino likely won't hurt your dog, this isn't a food item they should indulge in often. Most whipped creams are safe for dogs if given in moderation. However, there are many more nutritious treat options. If your dog gets into a significant amount of whipped cream or you'd like to give them a bit, it's important to understand which types may contain toxic ingredients and how to proceed.
Whipped Cream is Not Ideal for Dogs
Whipped cream is technically not toxic to dogs, though it's also not very healthy. This is because its main ingredients (sugar and cream) do not provide dogs with any nutritional value. In fact, if consumed in excess, they can have negative health effects.
- Fat: High-fat foods like whipped cream can cause digestive upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can also trigger inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis. Dogs with this painful condition often need to be hospitalized with supportive care.
- Sugar: Sugar isn't great for humans, and it's equally harmful to dogs. Eating treats with a lot of sugar increases your dog's risk of developing obesity, cavities, diabetes, and other hormone-related diseases. It also interferes with the natural bacterial flora within the intestines.
- Dairy: Just like most humans, dogs tend to have difficulty digesting dairy products, including whipped cream. Dogs commonly develop flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, and a gassy stomach after ingesting lactose. It's also possible for dogs to be allergic to dairy. Dogs with this condition may react with symptoms similar to lactose intolerance, or develop more severe allergic signs.
Sugar-Free Whipped Cream is Toxic
Certain whipped cream varieties, typically those touted as being "sugar-free," "keto," or "low-carb," contain ingredients that can poison your dog. Xylitol is a highly toxic ingredient used in many products. This sugar alternative causes a dog's body to release a large amount of insulin, resulting in an equally rapid decline in blood sugar. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is dangerous and even fatal if left untreated.
Other Ingredients to Avoid
Whipped cream or desserts, including similar products like Cool Whip, can contain other dangerous food items. Avoid any dishes with any of the following ingredients.
How Much Whipped Cream Can Your Dog Eat?
Ideally, your dog shouldn't indulge in whipped cream. If you're unable to resist those puppy dog eyes, however, you may wonder how much you can give. Most veterinarians advise that pet owners adhere to the 10 percent rule, whereby any treats stay under 10 percent of your dog's daily calorie requirement.
That means a 50-pound dog should have no more than 1 ounce of whipped cream as their only treat for the day. But even this amount might upset your dog's stomach. Try to stick with less than a spoonful or a small dollop as an occasional treat. Whenever possible, skip the highly processed Cool Whip and elect for a whipped cream product that contains whole, non-toxic ingredients.
Are Puppuccinos Safe for Dogs?
If you're familiar with this Starbucks secret menu item, you know that it's simply an espresso cup filled with whipped cream. The great part about this treat: it's completely free at most Starbucks locations. The not-so-great part: Puppuccinos can make your dog sick. Depending on your pup's sensitivity to dairy, existing conditions, and their size, an ounce of whipped cream might be too rich. Check with your vet before ordering this sweet treat.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Whipped Cream
If you discover that your dog ate an entire tub of Cool Whip or a creamy fruit salad, it's a good idea to contact your veterinarian. Depending on your dog's medical history and size, they may recommend inducing vomiting. Monitor your dog for symptoms of stomach upset, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or inappetence. If these symptoms persist or do not resolve after 24 hours, speak with your veterinarian. However, seek urgent veterinary care if the whipped cream or dessert contained any toxic ingredients like xylitol, grapes, or coffee.
Keep the Whipped Cream to a Minimum
Although whipped cream is tasty, it doesn't benefit your dog. However, if your pup just loves going for a ride to get a Puppuccino, you don't necessarily have to deprive them. Instead, ask for a small dollop of whipped cream rather than the whole cup and leave this treat for special occasions. Your dog won't know the difference!