Can Dogs Eat Gummy Bears Safely?

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You can love your dog to death. Although that is a cliché, it’s true. Many dog parents feel guilty about eating anything without sharing it with their furry friends. They share first, then ask questions like, “Can dogs eat Gummy Bears safely?” Although there is an endless list of safe human foods for dogs, candies like gummy bears are not on that list.

Can’t resist those begging eyes? Keep a few dog treats like fruit snacks handy to give your canine companion while you enjoy your gummy bears. The act of sharing keeps your dog happy, not what you are sharing. It is a lesson about your pet’s health to teach children as soon as they are old enough to understand. Most dogs are wise enough to know that kids will not hesitate to share, and they won’t hesitate to nuzzle candies right out of toddlers’ little hands.

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Why Can’t Dogs Eat Gummy Bears Safely?

Recipes and ingredients can vary from one brand of gummy bears to the next. Nevertheless, they all contain ingredients that could harm your dog’s health. Let’s look at the various risks posed by gummy bears and the harm they can cause to a dog’s body.

Sugar Overload

Regular gummy bears are the traditional ones that are free of artificial sweeteners. However, they contain loads of sugar, which can harm your doggy dude’s health. When looking at the ingredient list on the Gummy Bear Pack, look for more than sugar. Look out for corn syrup, glucose syrup from wheat or corn, sugar from beets, and Maltitol syrup.

They are all different forms of sugar that manufacturers add to increase natural sweeteners. Occasionally, they list several of these substitutes, misleading consumers as to the total amount of sugar in candies. Although none of the mentioned sugars are toxic like xylitol, too much can have severe consequences.

If your canine companion consumes too much sugar, he will get an upset stomach. That’s because too much sugar can disrupt the balance of the microorganisms in their gut. The organisms are crucial to breaking down food in their digestive system. When harmful bacteria numbers exceed the good ones in the dogs’ gut, explosive and bloody diarrhea or vomit may result. In some cases, dogs can become significantly dehydrated and require hospitalization for supportive care. 

Dogs that have eaten large amounts of gummy bears are more likely to end up with gastroenteritis, especially smaller breeds or puppies. It is a condition that includes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of interest in their food. Beware, frequent sugar overloads could lead to life-threatening diabetes. Too much sugar can also cause Type II diabetes in dogs and, in worse cases, they may have pancreatitis. 

Artificial Dyes

Excessive sugar is not the only health danger posed by regular gummy bears. According to research, artificial coloring agents can cause various health issues, from behavioral changes to cancer in humans and dogs. The colors on the ingredient lists include caramel color, Blue 2, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6. Furthermore, Red 40, possibly the most common artificial color used in food, is made from petroleum.

Yellow 5 and 6, and Red 40 all appear on the ingredients of various popular gummy bear brands like Haribo Gummy Bears. Reportedly, these three are contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens. Most importantly, these three colorants are also linked to asthma, allergies, thyroid tumors, lymphomas, ADHD, and chromosomal damage.

Weight Gain

If sharing your gummy bears or other sugary treats with your furry friends is a regular occurrence, it might cause them to gain weight. Without weight management, your pooch could become obese. Obesity in dogs is linked to numerous health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, infections, and more. 

Tooth Decay

Sharing your gummy bears with your doggy dude will compromise his dental health. Any sweet treats, including gummy bears, will increase your K9 companion’s risk of developing dental disease.

Choking and Gastric Obstructions

A gummy bear swallowed whole would likely travel through a large dog’s digestive system. However, it could be a choking hazard when your Yorkie swallows an entire gummy bear. Some dogs are curious and manage to find candies and other forbidden eats regardless of how well you hide them, and that poses an entirely different risk.

A canine smart enough to find the hidden treats might not be smart enough to remove the wrapper. Although most gummy candy products are not individually wrapped, the risk remains. If your pooch should ingest a candy, wrapper and all, it could cause choking. Another possible scenario involves the wrapped candy lodged in the dog’s small intestines or stomach, causing a blockage. A gastrointestinal obstruction could be life-threatening.

You may not be aware of the fact that your dog ate gummy bears and ingested a wrapped candy. However, red flags include struggling to pass feces, vomiting, appetite loss, and diarrhea. He might also struggle to keep food and water down. Any of these signs would be best reported to your vet as soon as you notice them.

Xylitol

The most significant concern when feeding your dog gummy bears is whether it contains an artificial sweetener named Xylitol. This deadly sugar substitute could show on the ingredient list as E967. Even a small amount of this chemical can cause an extreme reaction in your dog, and could be fatal. When a dog ingests Xylitol, the pancreas release excessive insulin, which removes the sugar from the blood and low blood sugar causes a condition known as hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. The condition could develop into kidney failure or liver failure in no time.

Symptoms of Xylitol poison typically appear within 15 to 30 minutes. Symptoms include weakness, vomiting, tremors, difficulty walking, and coordination problems. Your dog could collapse, have seizures, or even die if blood sugar levels drop low enough. If your canine ingests xylitol accidentally, we recommend immediately calling a veterinarian or poison control. Immediate medical care might prevent kidney and liver damage.

Studies showed as little as 0.1g xylitol per kg of body weight can cause hypoglycemia in dogs. Xylitol amounts in food will vary depending on product, brand, and flavor. Even a few sugar-free gummy bears or a single stick of gum could be enough to poison a small dog. Hepatic necrosis occurs more commonly with higher doses of xylitol ingestion at 0.5g per kg.

As the liver is responsible for producing many of the blood’s clotting factors, failure can even lead to coagulopathy (spontaneous internal bleeding). Dogs that develop hepatic necrosis have a much more guarded prognosis for recovery and require extensive medical treatment. Dangerous foods containing Xylitol include sugar-free jelly beans, gummy bears, chewable vitamin gummies, breath mints, peanut butter, protein bars, toothpaste, mouth wash, and even some medications.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

THC and CBD

The legalization of recreational marijuana has made it more acceptable, and also more prevalent in cases reported to veterinarians. Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol ingestion occur when dogs eat gummy bear edibles. Although neither THC nor CGD is toxic enough to be life-threatening, the side effects can be severe. Your pooch can suffer nausea, vomiting, tremors, incoordination, disorientation, hypothermia, disorientation, inappropriate vocalization, hyperexcitability, and hypersalivation.

Healthy Homemade Gummy Bears

Are all gummy bears bad for dogs? If you have ten minutes to spare, why not make some healthy gummy bears that you can share with your canine whenever you want.

You will need:

  • Fruit juice – like pomegranate juice, orange juice, or any other pure juice with no additives. You can even use liquidized strawberries or blueberries. The nutritional value of fresh fruit includes natural sources of fiber for dogs, and it can also give your pooch an antioxidant boost.
  • Gelatin powder
  • Honey – You can experiment with the amount of honey to achieve your preferred level of sweetness.

If you don’t have a suitable silicone mold for gummy bears, they are available from Amazon. 

Here’s how:

  • Add the honey to the fruit juice and bring it to a boil
  • Remove it from the heat and add the gelatin
  • Whip the mixture rapidly to dissolve the gelatin completely.
  • Pour the mixture into your gummy bear mold. 
  • Refrigerate it for about 20 minutes to solidify.
  • SHARE!

Nutritional benefits of gelatin and health gummies

  • In addition to being a tasty treat, these healthy gummy bears will also benefit you and your precious pooch’s health.
    • Gelatin supports hair, skin, and nails as well as the joints of you both.
    • Gelatin promotes effective digestion and gut health.
    • Gelatin has a significant amount of protein (17g per serving).

Hopefully, we have answered your questions about whether dogs can eat gummy bears safely. 

In this article, you can replace gummy bears with any sweet treat you want to share with your canine companion, and the same health and life risks will apply

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Mari Serfontein