After an Instagram post of a woman sharing her ice cream cone with her dachsund went viral (her date was flummoxed by the sharing), more dog lovers started wondering about the potentially unsanitary ramifications of her actions. I remember hearing as a kid that dogs’ saliva was cleaner than humans, which may or may not be why we let our beagle lick all the plates before putting them into the dishwasher (which startled some guests when they came for dinner). And many people kiss and hug their dogs, right? So what about sharing food, specifically delicious ice cream?
The Guardian turned to a series of experts, like British Veterinary Association and the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home—to get the final word on this practice. TL;DR: Keep your dog away from your cone. The problem, unsurprisingly, is that “dogs like eating other dogs’ feces, fox feces, goose feces, whatever feces are available in the park” (although they spell it “faeces”), containing bacteria that you definitely don’t want to get anywhere near your mouth. Also, the experts say, ice cream isn’t the best treat for dogs anyway, due to the sugar and high-fat content.
Fortunately, many places now have canine-focused frozen treats, like a pup cup at Dairy Queen or a Milk Bone biscuit sundae at Culver’s. Also check out farmers’ markets, where heated-up pooches like Ballew, A.V. Club executive editor Laura M. Browning’s husky, can cool off with a pup pop. Just make sure you’re getting separate treats for both you and your pet.