Pet Health

Can Dogs Eat Caramel?

Explaining whether dogs can eat caramel, the risks, what to do if your dog consumes this candy and alternatives that are safe for your pet.

7
min read

Caramel is a sweet delicious treat that many people enjoy. 

But, is it one to share with our furry friends? Can dogs eat caramel safely?

And, what would happen if your pup did get into some caramels?

In this article, we’re easing all your worries and more. We’re talking about what caramel is and whether or not dogs need those ingredients. Then, we’re discussing whether or not dogs should actually be eating caramel and what you should do if your dog ingests some. 

What is Caramel?

The main ingredients in caramel are sugar, butter, cream and some other different flavors and additives. The treat was made with humans in mind and is commonly used as a dessert topping, in baking and as a flavor for drinks. But, some things were meant to be reserved for humans and caramel is one of them. 

Can Dogs Eat Caramel?

Unlike chocolate or grapes, caramel is not inherently toxic to dogs. It is not recommended to feed your dog this sweet treat either though, as the high sugar content can come with a wide range of different problems for your beloved pet. 

There is even a risk of sugar overdose when it comes to dogs getting into human treats, like caramel. 

The Risks of Sharing Caramel with Your Dog

Since caramel isn’t toxic to dogs, should they really be forced to avoid this sweet treat? The truth of the matter is, you’re not being mean by keeping the caramel away from your dog. In fact, you’re prioritizing their health and safety by making such a difficult decision!

Some of the risks associated with giving your dog caramel are:

A Blood Sugar Spike

Like humans, dogs also have a risk of developing diabetes and issues with uncontrolled blood sugar. Dogs with elevated blood sugar (even from some human candy) are at a higher risk of liver enlargement, tissue damage, dehydration and nerve damage. 

An Upset Stomach

Table sugar and artificial sweeteners are not natural to a dog’s digestive system. In large quantities, these ingredients can seriously disrupt your dog’s natural microbiome, causing an imbalance in their digestion. Dogs who eat caramel could suffer from symptoms of digestive upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. 

The Possibility of Choking

Dogs can’t just eat anything and everything. They can also choke on foods and substances they shouldn’t be eating, like caramel. Because this candy is so sticky and chewy, it increases the risk of your dog becoming confused by the texture and potentially choking. 

Dental Damage

As we mentioned above, caramel is incredibly sticky and chewy. And, unfortunately, dogs are unable to clean their teeth like humans can. This can lead to the breakdown and decay of your dog’s teeth, which is already a serious problem worth considering. 

Signs of a Sugar Overdose in Dogs

If your dog consumes too much sugar, it could be a medical emergency. While small amounts of sugar will typically lead to digestive discomfort that can be relieved over time, large quantities could lead to hospitalization. This is why you should always be mindful and educated about the foods you feed your dog. 

Dogs who get into sugary substances, like caramel, are most at risk for a sugar overdose. This is because the consumption of so much sugar triggers a massive insulin release. If your dog begins showing signs of a sugar overdose, you should contact your vet for guidance immediately. 

Some classic signs of sugar overdose in dogs include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty Concentrating

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Caramel

Thankfully, there’s no real reason to panic just because you suspect that your dog may have ingested some caramel. The food isn’t inherently toxic to dogs, and doesn’t contain any real ingredients that are actually poisonous to canines. Caramel is not a substance made for dogs though, so it’s important to stay vigilant and aware if you think your pup consumed caramel. 

Short-term, dogs may display signs of hyperactivity and an upset stomach. Make sure to offer lots of water to try and mitigate the effects of eating so much sugar. Canned pumpkin can also be helpful for minimizing the effects of an upset stomach. 

Long-term, sugar poses the same risks to dogs as it does to humans. Obesity, diabetes, and dental cavities are some of the biggest long-term effects sugar (and caramel) consumption can have on a dog. Their bodies just aren’t used to processing large amounts of sugar, and it’s best if we keep it that way. 

Alternatives to Caramel for Dogs

Just because dogs can’t, and shouldn’t, enjoy human treats like caramel doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated. There are plenty of delicious goodies to give your furry friend without compromising the health of their body, mind, or teeth. While enjoying your next piece of caramel candy, try giving your pet:

  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Pears

Summary

If your dog consumes caramel, it’s not an immediate emergency. It is, however, something that requires your attention and investigation. Caramel is not poisonous to dogs. It does contain high levels of sugar, which could result in an upset stomach or, in severe cases, a sugar overdose. For this reason, you should keep all caramel candy out of your dog’s reach, and in a place where only you can find them. The first step to preventing obesity or dental cavities in your pet is to limit their sugar. 

And remember, there are plenty of safe, natural treats you can shower your beloved dog with. Just keep the caramel in the cabinet. 

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