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Can Dogs Eat Jelly Beans? Are Jellybeans Safe for Dogs?

No. Dogs should not eat jellybeans.

It does not help that dogs show immense appreciation upon being given a jellybean or two. Unfortunately, some people use jellybeans as rewards because dogs react positively to them.

While jellybeans do not have hazardous effects on dogs like chocolate does, they are bad for their health in the long term.

This article will discuss why jellybeans are bad for dogs.

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Why are Jellybeans Bad for Dogs?

If you have ever had jellybeans, then you know how sugary they are. This is where the problem lies. Too much sugar increases the risk of obesity in dogs. And this is no small issue; in the US, 30% of all dogs are obese. Obesity predisposes your furry friend to conditions such as heart disease, osteoarthritis, hypertension, and certain types of cancers.

jelly beans
Image Credit: Dawn Jones, Pixabay

Moreover, jellybeans offer no nutritional value to your pet. In fact, they contain a host of ingredients that can have a detrimental effect on a dog’s health. They include:

Sugar

As mentioned, jellybeans have an exceptionally high sugar content, which is why they are so popular. While dogs can tolerate some sugar in their diet, the amount of sugar in jellybeans is too high for comfort.

Such high levels of sugar not only encourage weight gain but also promote issues such as diabetes and tooth decay. Moreover, if your pup is not used to sugary treats (as it should be), even an occasional jellybean can result in a stomach upset.

Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener. It is a staple ingredient in the sugar-free variant of sugary products, such as candles, chewing gum, and cakes.

While xylitol might be “sugar-free,” it is still not good for your pup. In fact, according to research, xylitol is toxic to dogs, even in small amounts. Upon absorption, this compound triggers the dog’s pancreas to secrete large amounts of insulin. A spike in insulin levels in the bloodstream is associated with effects such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

A low blood sugar level is characterized by symptoms such as lethargy, delirium (confusion), seizures, vomiting, and even liver failure. In extreme cases, hypoglycemia can result in coma or death. Therefore, if your pup eats jellybeans containing xylitol accidentally, take them to the vet immediately.

sugar
Image Credit: sharon-mccutcheon, Unsplash

Caffeine

While caffeine is not a common ingredient in jellybeans, some jellybean brands do include it in their products, dubbing them “sporting jellybeans.”  Since these are promoted as energy boosters, they also come with a higher sugar content than standard jellybeans.

The effects of caffeine on dogs are far-reaching. It not only affects the animal’s behavior by making it hyperactive but also increases the dog’s heart rate, putting it at risk of serious conditions such as high blood pressure.

Artificial Additives

Some manufacturers use a concoction of artificial colors, flavors, and other additives to increase the desirability of their products. As you can imagine, the majority of artificial additives are not good for dogs.

upset dog
Image Credit: Pitsch, Pixabay

Pectin

Pectin is what gives jellybeans their texture, as it is a gelling agent. Since pectin is a soluble fiber, it can be beneficial to dogs in small doses. It alleviates issues such as diarrhea by thickening the pooch’s stool. In higher doses, however, pectin can absorb all the water in the dog’s stomach, resulting in constipation, among a host of other gastrointestinal issues.

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Conclusion

While a few jellybeans are not likely to harm your dog, they are better off with other treats. However, that is easier said than done, as dogs have a special affinity for jellybeans. But be warned, more than a few jellybeans can be hazardous to dogs, especially if they contain caffeine or xylitol. If your dog consumes jellybeans accidentally, take them to the vet immediately.

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Featured image credit: Pixabay