Every household has gummy bears stashed somewhere. From small kids to fully grown adults, everyone loves some gummy bears!
The candy is so popular among folks that one cannot help wonder, is it safe for our furry friends too? After all, we want to share all our joys and pleasures with our dogs. But before you toss your pup a few gummies, you won’t regret reading further!
We have got you covered.
Are gummy bears safe for dogs?
No, it is not at all safe to feed your dog gummy bears. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is sometimes present in gummy bears. Even a small quantity of this chemical can cause significant harm to your dog, and in severe cases, it may even result in death.
The presence of Xylitol in a dog’s body causes the pancreas to release an excess of insulin. The sugar present in the blood gets removed, resulting in a condition called hypoglycemia.
If Xylitol is absent in your gummy bears, then eating a few will not be life-threatening to your dog. However, gelatine and sugar will be in gummy bears as the alternative to xylitol. And that can cause obesity and high sugar levels.
Further, such high sugar levels for an extended period of time can cause diabetes.
Gummy bears could also be a choking hazard to your pet as they can get stuck between your pup’s teeth. It could become an obstruction in your pup’s throat due to its small size.
What quantity of gummy bears is okay for your dog?
Traditional gummy bears are formulated without any artificial sweeteners. Although they aren’t poisonous or toxic, they contain high sugar levels and don’t have any nutritional value.
Though better to avoid, giving a large dog one or two gummy bears won’t have any substantial adverse effects if they don’t contain Xylitol.
If small dogs or puppies consume gummy bears in large amounts, they could get gastroenteritis. Vomiting and diarrhea could also occur. So, it is better to avoid giving your pup gummy bears.
Is candy safe for your dog?
Most sweets and candy ingredients could be toxic for your dog. Listed below are some of them.
- Xylitol and all other artificial sweeteners
Xylitol can be found in sugar-free gums and mints. It could also be present in peanut butter and some kinds of toothpaste. Your pup could suffer from an upset stomach, liver damage, hypoglycemia, etc. It also causes seizures, liver failure, and even death in dogs.
Both chocolate and dark chocolate are harmful to your dog. Chocolate poisoning is also known as theobromine poisoning.
Upset stomach, muscle tremors, arrhythmias, seizures, etc., could be caused due to chocolate poisoning. It could also result in death.
Caffeine is highly dangerous for your dog and causes the same results as chocolate poisoning. Any type of caffeine or coffee-flavored candy is dangerous to your dog.
They cause kidney failure in dogs, so avoid giving your dog raisins and grapes.
What are the side effects of giving your dog gummy bears?
There are several harms involved if you give your dog gummy bears.
Some of them are:
- Gastroenteritis: Eating a large number of gummy bears could give your dog an upset tummy, especially if they’re a smaller breed or puppies. Your dog could quickly become hypoglycemic or dehydrated too. Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite are some symptoms of gastroenteritis.
- Liver damage: Hepatic Necrosis is the severe and sudden damage to the liver, leading to acute liver failure. Xylitol can cause this in your dog, and the symptoms may not be seen for 12-24 hours after exposure or even longer.
Liver failure can lead to internal bleeding. If your dog develops hepatic necrosis, he’ll require extensive medical treatment.
- Low blood sugar: Xylitol can cause a significant drop in blood sugar levels, and this condition is called hypoglycemia. The symptoms could show anywhere between 30-60 minutes after xylitol ingestion. Some of the symptoms are vomiting, seizures, weakness, etc.
These effects could last for over 12 hours. It can also be deadly if not treated, as the decrease in blood sugar levels could lead to death.
- Potential Intestinal Obstruction: If your pup has ingested pieces of plastic packaging while eating gummy bears, they could develop a blockage in the intestinal obstruction or gut. The signs are vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, etc.
Your pup might find it hard to keep down food and water.
What can you feed your dog instead of gummy bears?
Your dog should have a balanced meal. The diet should be 90% nutritious and healthy dog food. The rest, 10%, could be healthy treats.
We advise you not to give your dog any type of gummy candies. However, many sweet treats are healthy for your dog when given moderately.
Some of these are:
You could give these to your dog by mixing them with yogurt or peanut butter that doesn’t contain sugar or sweetener. Another way to give these to your dog is to mix the fruits with yogurt, freeze the mixture and create a type of ice cream with it.
Is it possible for your dog to develop an allergic reaction to gummy bears?
Since Xylitol is one of the main ingredients in gummy bears, your pup could develop an allergic reaction to it. Common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
What should you do if your pup accidentally eats gummy bears?
Before heading to the vet, give your dog water and try to flush out the toxins. Doing this can prevent dehydration and calm your dog.
Consuming a xylitol-free gummy bear is okay and might not do much harm. If your dog consumes a traditional gummy bear, it may have an upset stomach. However, this will subside eventually.
Consuming a bowl of gummy bears that contain xylitol is extremely dangerous. Contact your vet or Pet Poison Helpline immediately if your pup has done so.
Do not give your dog any medication without directions from your vet. Make sure you don’t induce vomiting, as it could worsen their condition.
Q. Are healthy gummies safe for dogs?
Yes, but it is better to avoid them. Your dog may need additional vitamins, nutrients, supplements, etc.
However, gummies contain junk that your dog doesn’t need, and adding healthy ingredients doesn’t make the gelatine and artificial syrup better.
Q. Can I give my dog sugar-free gummy bears?
It’s better not to give your dog any type of gummy bear as xylitol can be deadly. It can cause high blood sugar, gastrointestinal problems, seizures, and sometimes even death.
Gummy bears are not safe for your dog. Any sweet or candy with added sugar and sweetener is harmful.
Candies that contain xylitol, chocolate, caffeine, etc., as the ingredients, should not be given to your dog. It can cause many health problems like diabetes, obesity, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and even death.
Instead, you can try some healthy sweet alternatives like apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
We’ve also discussed the side effects of eating gummy bears. Conclusively, keep the gummies away from your pup.
We hope this answers all your questions about gummy bears and dogs. Leave your thoughts, tips, and comments down below!
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.