One of the photos the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released to mark Prince George’s third birthday has sparked concern as it shows their son offering what appears to be a white chocolate ice cream to the family dog, Lupo.
In response to the photos, the RSPCA has urged people to avoid giving their pets ice cream over the summer, as dairy products can be difficult for them to digest.
However one vet said that ice cream isn’t so bad after all, as long as your pooch isn’t lactose intolerant.
“It is lovely that Prince George is trying to help keep his family dog, Lupo, cool in these high temperatures,” a spokesperson for the RSPCA told The Huffington Post UK.
However the animal welfare charity advised others to “be cautious” when giving their dogs food meant for human consumption.
“Some items, like chocolate, can be highly toxic to dogs and dairy items can be difficult for them to digest,” they said.
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs as it contains a stimulant called theobromine, which can affect their heart, central nervous system and kidneys.
If your dog eats chocolate, it may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness and hyperactivity, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and seizures.
Some dogs can be lactose intolerant too. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
However, according to Dr Bruce Fogle from the London Vet Clinic, if your dog isn’t lactose intolerant ice cream is a “perfect hot weather coolant”.
“Don’t forget, dogs can’t sweat. Panting is their only effective way to cool down,” he said. “Heat stroke develops faster in dogs than us. Avoid confined places, especially cars in hot sunshine.
“And if you don’t want to share your ice cream with your pal, offer ice cubes. Most dogs love the crunch of cracking ice.”
A spokesperson for the RSPCA added that you can make a dog-friendly ice lolly if you’re worried about them being lactose intolerant.
“Making these can be really fun for children and the end product is both safe and enjoyable for dogs,” they explained.
The Huffington Post UK reached out to Kensington Palace who declined to comment.