Ice cream makes charcoal administration a treat
Administering oral activated charcoal (ToxiBan—Vet-A-Mix) to a 120-lb dog that doesn't want it can be difficult. So I mix
a quart of vanilla ice cream with each bottle of charcoal. Dogs are usually happy to eat this mixture, and I don't end up
looking like a chimney sweep.
Dr. Shirley S. Koshi
New York City, N.Y.
Palatability of activated charcoal preparations can make administration difficult. One in vitro study evaluated the effect
of ice cream and a food mixture on the adsorption capacity of activated charcoal, as measured by acetaminophen adsorption.
Ice cream increased the palatability of the activated charcoal but also reduced the adsorption capacity. However, the reduction
of adsorption capacity was overcome by giving a greater dose of charcoal. Activated charcoal with a higher surface area had
less reduction in adsorption capacity than charcoal with a lower surface area.
Activated charcoal can be mixed with ice cream, and I recommend that the charcoal dose be increased if ice cream is mixed
with it. Also, I advise using a charcoal slurry preparation with a high surface area (≥1,000 m
1. Hoegberg LC, Angelo HR, Christophersen AB, et al. The effect of food and ice cream on the adsorption capacity of paracetamol
to high surface activated charcoal: in vitro studies. Pharmacol Toxicol 2003;93:233-237.