We humans love our sugary treats, and caramel is a favorite source! You may be enjoying this delicious sweet in one of its many forms and ask yourself if your dog may enjoy a little bite as much as you do. So, can dogs eat caramel?
Although caramel is not considered toxic to dogs, it is pure sugar, which can have both short-term and long-term negative effects on your pup.
In the short term, it can cause behavioral changes like hyperactivity while long-term effects include dental problems and obesity. In general, all sugary snacks are considered bad for dogs, but alternative treats do exist. Meat cuts, some fruit and vegetables, and peanut butter, as well as healthy dog treats designed specifically for canine consumption are viable options.
Read on for more information on whether a bit of caramel will do your pooch more harm than good.
Why Is Caramel Bad for Dogs?
Dogs rely on us to feed them a healthy and nutritious diet, in the same way children do. We need to ensure that they get plenty of good food while avoiding bad food. Caramel is made up almost entirely of sugar that has been heated so that it caramelizes. While children and adults can occasionally enjoy a small amount of sugar, dogs should avoid it at all times. Our omnivorous nature means that we can digest and dispose of a lot of the sugar, but a dog’s body does not treat sugar in the same way and the negative effects of this treat are greatly magnified when fed to a dog, regardless of its size.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
Dogs are not equipped to deal with large quantities of sugar. They may experience negative effects immediately after ingestion, and symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea. If this does happen, you need to stop feeding your dog and consult a veterinarian if the symptoms persist after 24 hours.
Sugar and Obesity
Caramel is basically pure sugar, and sugar represents empty calories. A single candy stolen from the bag won’t lead to your dog becoming overweight, but it won’t take too many sweet treats for them to start putting on the pounds. Obesity is a major problem for dogs because they can struggle to carry their own weight. It can lead to joint and muscle problems, and it is incredibly difficult to shift weight from a dog that wants to eat. Especially, if they have become accustomed to eating sugary treats like caramel. Obesity can also lead to problems like diabetes.
Dogs rely on using their mouth and teeth for a whole manner of tasks. As well as eating and drinking, they use their mouth to carry, to identify objects, and even to defend themselves against potential threats when required. Keeping your dog’s teeth in top condition is vital and coating them in a chewy and sugary sweet will lead to tooth decay, gum problems, and a host of other oral hygiene problems.
A sugar rush is a genuine thing. In children it can be irritating, but it will usually pass without too many problems. Having a 100-pound dog charging around after chewing down on sugary caramel might sound amusing, but it can lead to injury, and your puppy will endure a massive sugar crash.
Also, sugar rushes are addictive and your dog will crave more. They will even start to adjust their behavior to try and get more of the sugary treat, which can lead to discipline and behavioral problems in the long run. It is also impossible to convince a dog that they need to cut down on a particular food, and they will see no reason why they shouldn’t have more.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Caramel?
If you believe your dog has eaten a piece of caramel, you should monitor them. It is unlikely that a single caramel binge will lead to major problems, but it could cause them to vomit or give them diarrhea, both of which can be dangerous. Ensure they have water available to drink and monitor them. Expect some hyperactivity and be prepared for listless behavior before they fall asleep for a while. If vomiting and diarrhea persist for more than a few hours, consult a veterinarian and let them know what has happened.
Is All Sugar Bad for Dogs?
Honestly, pretty much any amount of sugar is bad for dogs. Sugary treats are empty calories. This means that they pile on the pounds without providing any nutritional benefits. Your dog will get fatter, but they will be missing out on essential vitamins and nutrients that they can only get from the food in their diet. Check any treats that you provide to ensure that they do not contain sugar and look for healthy and sugar-free alternatives.
Alternatives to Caramel
Fortunately, there are plenty of tasty and palatable alternatives that you can feed your dog instead of caramel and sugary treats.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel?
Caramel is pure sugar and is bad for your dog with potential short-term and long-term negative effects. It can cause obesity, destroy teeth and gums, and its chewy texture means that your dog may not know what to do with it and swallow it whole, potentially causing a choking hazard.
There are many alternatives to caramel, including peanut butter as well as wholesome and healthy dog treats. Always avoid foods that are high in sugar, because this represents empty calories that pile on pounds but do not provide any nutritional benefit.
With that said, if your dog has eaten a small amount of caramel, he should be fine, but you should watch for vomiting and diarrhea, and always seek veterinary advice if you are concerned with prolonged symptoms.
Featured image credit: RoyBuri, Pixabay