Gummy bears are not healthy for us humans. So, it’s not surprising if dogs can’t eat these sugary treats. But, is it possible for our canine companions to enjoy these sweet treats even once in a while? Can dogs eat gummy bears?
Let’s discuss if it’s safe for our dogs to eat even just one gummy bear or gummy candy. And what happens if your dog consumes a handful of gummy candies lying on your countertop? We’ll also dive into the potential dangers that come with feeding gummy candies to our canine friends.
Can Your Dog Eat Gummy Bears?
Sweet and sour gummy bears come in different flavors, colors, and shapes. While gummy candies, gummy worms, and gummy bears are delicious treats for us, humans, they are not made for canine consumption. Hence, you should not share them with your pup even if he starts pawing your legs and begging you with his puppy eyes.
And though regular gummy bears are not toxic to dogs, these candies are formulated with a large amount of sugar. While they are unlikely to cause immediate life threatening side effects to your dog, they can still cause several negative health effects when your dog ingests large amounts of gummy bears frequently.
What’s more concerning, gummy bears also come in the sugar-free form. These gummies don’t contain sugar, but they do have artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs.
In fact, xylitol is more toxic than chocolate even a small amount can already be dangerous for a dog’s safety and overall health. Unfortunately, consuming large quantities of gummy bears with xylitol can be fatal for dogs.
Are Gummy Bears Good for Dogs?
No, gummy bears are not good for dogs. One gummy bear doesn’t provide any nutritional benefits for dogs other than its 0.2 grams of protein. Plus, it’s also packed with sugar which can have many negative side effects on our dogs in the long run.
Also, our canine friends should receive their protein intake from their complete and well-balanced diet, and not from unhealthy, and potentially life-threatening treats like gummy bears. And besides, there are several healthier and safer treats out there that your dog can enjoy without compromising his health and safety.
Are Gummy Bears Safe for Dogs?
As mentioned earlier, there are several types of gummy bears on the market today. While it’s undebatable that these candies come in bear forms, we can’t deny the presence of sugarless gummies that contain the toxic xylitol.
Even regular gummy bears are not safe for dogs when consumed in large amounts because of their high sugar content, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Different Types of Gummy Bears
If we explore the different types of gummy bears that are available on the market, we would have a deeper understanding of why our dogs are better off without these sugary treats.
Since we can hardly tell the difference between a non-toxic gummy from an extremely dangerous one, there’s a chance that our dog can get hold of the latter. And as pet parents, we definitely don’t want that to happen to our canine companions.
Regular Gummy Bears
These are the usual gummy bears that are sold in stores, and that are most probably stored inside your kitchen cabinet. While these types don’t contain xylitol and other toxic ingredients, they are still packed with sugar and they don’t provide any nutritional value. They are just empty calories that can predispose your dog to canine obesity, dental problems, diabetes mellitus, and more.
Sugar Free Gummy Bears
Sugar-free gummy bears carry the most dangerous complications to dogs because of their xylitol content. Even a small amount of this toxic compound can already cause serious problems in dogs regardless of their size, though the effects would be more severe in smaller breed dogs compared with larger dogs.
Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener that can be found in sugarless gummies, jelly beans, breath mints, protein bars, peanut butter, chewable vitamin gummies, mouthwash, toothpaste, and even in some medications. Apparently, this ingredient is commonly used in human products to decrease the calorie content of food and to help in preventing plaque formation.
Unfortunately, while xylitol is mostly safe in humans, it is extremely toxic in dogs. It causes severe hypoglycemia or extremely low blood sugar in dogs, and it can directly damage their liver – both of which can be fatal for our canine friends.
THC Gummy Bears or ‘Edibles’
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol or THC are the most common active compounds (or cannabinoids) found in the marijuana plant.
And depending on the type of gummies, one or both of these cannabinoids can be present. What’s concerning, though, is the presence of THC. This is the active ingredient that causes psychoactive or high-inducing effects, and it’s also the active ingredient that is toxic to dogs.
Due to the legalization of the use of marijuana in some states, cases of accidental pet intoxication have also increased over the years according to Pet Poison Helpline.
If you suspect that your dog has been exposed to marijuana in any form, you should go to your veterinarian immediately and be honest about what your dog has consumed. It is the veterinarian’s job to treat your dog, not to report you to the policy.
Why Are Gummy Bears Bad for Dogs?
Dogs who ate one or two regular gummy bears without artificial sweeteners, and other toxic ingredients, are unlikely to experience negative and life-threatening complications.
Small breed dogs and puppies who ate large quantities of gummy bears are more likely to show signs of gastroenteritis from consuming high amounts of sugar in one go.
Then again, gummy bears don’t provide any nutritional value to our dogs since they are just empty calories that can just predispose them to unhealthy weight gain, diabetes mellitus, and gastroenteritis.
If you are giving gummy vitamins or a gummy candy that contains xylitol or THC, your dog may also be at risk for xylitol poisoning, and THC or marijuana toxicity – both of which can be fatal.
So, before you proceed in giving your canine companion this delicious treat, you may want to consider the following risks that come along with each gummy bear that enters his mouth:
1. Gastroenteritis, Diabetes Mellitus, Tooth Decay, and Increased Body Weight Because of Too Much Sugar
Dogs consuming too many sugary treats, such as gummy bears can experience gastrointestinal issues, especially in puppies and smaller breed dogs. Symptoms of gastroenteritis include vomiting, nausea, stomach pains, and loss of appetite.
It's typically temporary but can change over time. We always recommend obtaining the help of an authorized vet if possible, especially with puppies. Smaller dogs can easily become dehydrated and hypoglycemic (low blood sugar levels).
Gummy bears are packed full of sugar, which could come from corn syrup, glucose syrup from wheat corn, sugar from beets, and maltitol syrup. Too much sugar consumption in dogs can affect their metabolism and hormones. Signs that your dog’s metabolism has been affected include weakness, loss of muscle tone, and an increase in fat content in his body.
And let’s not forget that too much sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to obesity and diabetes mellitus, both of which can have several life-threatening complications if not managed and treated on time.
Osteoarthritis, heart disease, and pancreatitis are just some of the potential side effects of eating sugary foods in dogs regularly.
And since dogs can’t brush their teeth, and most pet parents don’t brush their dogs’ teeth either, feeding them sweet treats such as gummy bears can predispose them to teeth and dental issues.
2. Xylitol Poisoning
The primary reason why we should not give gummy bears to our dogs is that they may contain synthetic sweeteners that are safe for us humans, but dangerous for them. The toxic effects of xylitol vary according to dose, but even a small amount can cause serious harm.
Xylitol may cause hypoglycemia or blood glucose deficiency in the body. The symptoms include vomiting, weakness, and wobbliness which can then be followed by seizures, tremors, and death as the blood sugar level continues to drop.
The signs of hypoglycemic symptoms can be observed 30-60 minutes after a dog ingests xylitol. And these effects can last up to 12 to 24 hours after exposure or even longer.
3. Marijuana or THC Toxicity
Marijuana or THC toxicity in dogs may cause various symptoms, such as vomiting, nausea, lethargy, dilated pupils, and wobbliness.
Symptoms of the disorder can include tremors, seizures, agitation, dribbling urine, and vocalization in more serious cases. There are many signs of marijuana toxicity that could be observed 5 minutes to 12 hours after exposure.
Dogs can be exposed to THC or marijuana from eating ‘edibles' such as THC gummy bears, through second-hand smoke, or by consuming their owners' stash (in any form).
If you suspect that your dog has been exposed to marijuana, consult your veterinarian immediately as they will most likely require medical treatment.
4. Potential Intestinal Obstruction
Some gummy bears are wrapped inside a plastic. So, when dogs accidentally eat the gummy bears with their wrapper or packaging, they could choke or the wrapper may lodge in their stomach or intestine and cause intestinal obstruction. This is an emergency situation that may require surgical intervention.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Gummy Bears?
The more gummy bears your dog ate, the more serious his symptoms can be. This is especially true if you have a smaller breed dog or a puppy. However, we can’t always determine the exact amount of gummy candy our dog ate. So, it’s best to observe his initial signs right away and respond accordingly.
No matter what, if your dog ate gummy bears, you should not panic as it will only cloud your judgment on what to do next. If your dog only ate one or two gummy bears without xylitol, he will most likely be just fine.
But to be on the safe side, it’s best to observe him for changes in his behavior and other unusualities. Take your dog to the vet if you notice signs of gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
However, before you head to the ER or the clinic, you can give him water to drink to prevent dehydration and to help him in flushing out the toxins out of his body. You should also remove all gummy bears near him and store them somewhere out of his reach and sight.
If your dog has eaten gummy bears or candies with xylitol, you should consult your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. Unless directed by your vet, you should not induce vomiting as this can only make things worse, particularly if your dog is already hypoglycemic (low blood sugar level).
If possible, don’t forget to take with you a sample of the gummy bear and its packaging. Inform your vet that your dog ate xylitol, and give him the approximate time your dog ate the gummy bears with xylitol.
Can Dogs Die From Eating Gummy Bears?
Yes, dogs can die from eating gummy bears, particularly if they ate gummy bears with xylitol. A 65-pound dog can die from eating even just a few grams of this artificial sweetener.
The good news is that one or two regular gummy bears may not kill them. However, you should still watch your dog closely and always keep him away from candies or products with xylitol.
As pet parents, we only want the best for our canine buddies. And knowing that a delicious treat like a gummy bear can please them, we could be easily swayed to give in to their begging eyes whenever they see us munching on our sweet snack.
And while giving in to their desire of feeding them one or two regular gummy bears occasionally won’t hurt, it is still not healthy. What’s more, before knowing it, you may be feeding your pup these unhealthy sugary treats frequently already.
And as mentioned earlier, while regular gummies are not toxic, consuming these sugar-rich candies regularly can cause a lot of health issues in dogs.
Hence, it’s best that you look for other healthier options when it comes to your dog’s treats. And just in case, you still want to treat your pup with gummy bears occasionally, just remember not to give him the sugarless variant that contains xylitol.