Gummy bears are small fruit candies that often have a jelly-like consistency. They are popular treats with children and even adults do not mind a few gummy bears, every now and then! After all, who can resist these colorful and delicious pieces of candy? But while you may be in the habit of giving your dinner leftovers to your dog, should you oblige your pooch with a gummy bear treat? The following sections will take you through this question.
What Do Gummy Bears Contain?
Firstly, what are the ingredients included in gummy bears? Is there something in the candies that could potentially harm your dog? Xylitol is an ingredient commonly used in gummy bears that cause no harm to human beings but can be quite dangerous for dogs of all breeds. Xylitol is a form of alcohol extracted from plant materials that are often used in medication. It is a sweet substance that is frequently used as a sugar substitute in candies, “sugar-free” gums, mints, etc. It is a natural sweetener that tastes like sugar but does not cause tooth decay like sugar does. But it does provide energy to people and works as a good substitute for sugar, especially for those who are diabetic.
However, xylitol has been proven to be toxic to dogs. Even the smallest amount of xylitol ingested by a canine can be dangerous, even fatal. So, to answer the question of whether dogs can eat gummy bears, the answer is an emphatic ‘No!’
Even if the gummy bears do not contain xylitol, they are likely to contain copious amounts of sugar, which is bad for dogs as it is though it may not be immediately toxic for them like xylitol. While small amounts of naturally occurring sugars are okay for dogs, the added, artificial sugars can wreak havoc with a dog’s system.
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What Happens If Your Dog Eats Gummy Bears?
While xylitol can act as a substitute for sugar in the diet of human beings, the body of a dog will process it as something that is as sweet as sugar, and has as many calories, if not more. Sugar is a big no-no for dogs, but even if your dog is exposed to xylitol for too long, they are bound to develop complications like obesity and heart disease.
Xylitol will also cause damage to canine teeth, even if they are safe for human teeth. Your dog will start developing cavities, which will cause discomfort and affect their overall health. The xylitol also causes the dog to salivate more than usual. However, these symptoms that have been described are still mild ones. Xylitol can be extremely toxic for dogs and can send them into liver failure and cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Your dog may also suffer seizures from even a single dose of xylitol from one piece of a gummy bear!
If immediate attention is not given, the ingestion of xylitol can be fatal for dogs, especially the pooches that are smaller in size. For a larger dog, the xylitol can certainly make them very sick and can even cause long-term damage.
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What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Gummy Bears?
Before you start panicking, check the ingredients of the gummy bears to see if they contain xylitol. Not all gummy bears contain xylitol and if your dog has accidentally eaten one that does not have xylitol, you do not need to worry so much. Of course, they are not healthy for dogs even otherwise but at least this is not an emergency situation that requires immediate medical attention.
If it is a regular piece of a gummy bear, without xylitol, your dog may experience a gastric upset and may have a runny stomach for a day or two. This is simply the body’s way of expelling the toxins and you do not need to worry so much.
However, if the gummy bears do contain xylitol, you should take your dog to the vet immediately. The vet will likely give your dog medication to induce vomiting and remove the xylitol from the system. This may seem like an overreaction, but if the toxins start working in the body they will act fast and will not give you the time to react. It is, therefore, best to be proactive and take them to the vet to be on the safer side.
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The only way to prevent your dog from coming even close to gummy bears is to ban it from your home. If you do not have gummy bears in your home, there is very little chance that your dog will have access to the fatal treat. Even if you have a single bag in your pantry, your dog may accidentally eat it.
You cannot control your pooch’s movement at all times, and sometimes they may be acting disorderly and will not realize the gummy bears are bad for them. So instead of monitoring your dog and scolding them into steering clear of gummy bears, you should not let the opportunity arise at all.
If you have a small child in the house, you need to teach them that the gummy bears are forbidden for the dog. If possible, you should not bring gummy bears back home, even if you have a small child. You can buy the gummies for them outside the house and ask them to finish the candy treats before they enter the house. If you absolutely must keep gummy bears in the house, the least you can do is ensure that they are the non-xylitol variety.
Dogs are also attracted to sweet things and do relish the taste of sugar like humans do. However, their bodies are not built to process sugar in large quantities. In fact, some dog treats manufacturers may also add sugar to their treats to create an addiction and to mask any bitter taste. This should be avoided at all costs. Check the ingredients and pick a treat that does not contain added sugar. The objective of giving you this information is to alert you to the fact that if there is a bowl of candy in your dog’s vicinity, they are likely to consume it if they can. Halloween can be all fun and games while you are trick or treating with your kid until you have to rush your beloved pooch to the emergency room.
Dogs are domesticated creatures whose survival instinct is not as sharp as other canines who live in the wild. In other words, if you have a pet dog at home they are dependent on you to a large extent to keep them safe and healthy. It is your responsibility to ensure your pooch eats well and does not come close to foods that are toxic for them.
As a rule of thumb, avoid giving your dog any kind of junk food (like Doritos). They are addictive for human beings as it is—the body of a dog will have a harder time processing the high sodium foods. Candies are something that most people love to indulge in, and you may want to keep some spare candy at home in case a craving strikes at midnight. However, if you have a pet dog at home, this is a compromise you will have to make. Keep your home safe for your pooch!