This article originally appeared on VICE UK in July 2018
People can be weird about their pets. “It’ll be cute,” they say. “A dog will keep me company.” Next thing you know, you’re watching an eight-minute Instagram story of their Pomeranian getting a haircut, rearranging dinner dates around Kitty McTruffles’ feeding schedule, and spending £32 on a personalised dog bandana for a “Fifth Woofday Party.”
Something else that’s a step too far, pet owners? Sharing food—specifically, in these summer months, ice cream—with your precious doggo. It seems necessary to point this out after a video of a woman sharing her ice cream with a dog went viral this week. The clip, shared by Instagram account Brown Cardigan two days ago, shows a woman in a park offering her 99 Flake to a dachshund, who happily goes in for a good four-second lick. The woman then licks the SAME ICE CREAM with her ACTUAL TONGUE.
There are a lot of things to unpack here. Firstly, it makes no sense to share a delicious ice cream with an animal that will happily eat a two-day-old egg sandwich off the floor. Look—I like dogs. They’re good boys who give endless emotional support and even perform CPR in certain circumstances. But they’re still omnivores and will eat bits of poo. So why waste your Magnum on an animal that would just as happily chew a dried pig's ear?
This leads me to my second point. Do you know where that dog’s mouth has been? It’s been licking literally anything. Dogs do this. I don’t know why, but they do. Stuff that dogs lick includes, but is not limited to: the pavement, grass, humans, poo, dead rodents, bins, dirt, shoes, poo, and of course, other dogs’ butts. When you offer your ice cream to the precious pupper, and then put it back in your mouth, you’re also getting that butt-pavement-saliva in your mouth. In. Your. Mouth.
Finally, ice cream is not good for the dogs, guys!!! Did you know that there is a national dog obesity crisis? According to a study from campaign Better Cities for Pets, 59 percent of dogs worldwide are obese, and this is mainly due to humans giving pets their own food.
“There is a huge obesity problem in pets across the UK and it is often because the pet is eating human foods which can be too high in fat for them,” Roisin Bolger, a vet at Blue Cross pet charity told MUNCHIES. “Food containing lots of sugar is not a good idea and some pets are intolerant to dairy.”
Bolger suggests, instead, preparing “some ice cubes containing your dog's treats or a piece of tasty meat or fish” which frankly, sounds disgusting, but at least will avoid making your pet fat and contracting food poisoning from sharing its saliva.