Nowadays, sugar is a ubiquitous ingredient in many of the foods we eat. It’s added to cereal, cookies, cake, and even some pet treats. Can dogs eat sugar? It’s a common misconception that dogs can eat anything we can. And while this is often true, there are some foods that we should avoid giving our furry friends – like sugar. Sugar is dangerous for dogs and can cause a range of health problems or even death. Dive in – we don’t sugar-coat here!

The Dangers of Feeding Dogs Sugar


Sugar is a type of carbohydrate and, like all carbohydrates, it can cause your dog to gain weight. In fact, sugar is one of the worst things you can feed your dog because it’s high in calories and low in nutritional value. Just like humans, dogs can become obese from eating too many sugary snacks. This happens because the sugar is turned into fat, which accumulates in the dog’s body. Obesity can lead to a host of other health problems, including joint problems, respiratory issues and diabetes (more on that later).

Tooth Decay

Sugar can also cause tooth decay in dogs. When the sugar is combined with bacteria in the dog’s mouth, it can create acid that attacks the teeth. This can lead to cavities and other dental problems.


Sugar can also cause diabetes in dogs. When a dog eats sugar, their pancreas has to produce extra insulin to process it. This can eventually lead to the pancreas becoming overwhelmed and unable to produce insulin at all. This can cause the dog to develop diabetes, which is a very serious disease.

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Your dog may also develop an allergy to sugar. The most common signs of a sugar allergy in dogs are itchy skin, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog has any of these symptoms after eating sugar, it’s important to take them to the vet right away.

Behavioral problems

Excessive sugar can also lead to behavioral problems in dogs. Dogs who are fed a lot of sugary snacks may become hyperactive, destructive, and even aggressive. This happens because the sugar causes a spike in their blood sugar levels, which corresponds with a burst of energy. If the energy isn’t expended, it can lead to the dog feeling agitated and restless.

Liver Failure

When the liver is overloaded with sugar, it can’t function properly. This can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body and, eventually, liver failure.


Studies have shown that sugar can increase the risk of cancer in dogs. The American Cancer Society reports that “sugar not only feeds cancer cells but also helps them to multiply faster.” So it’s best to avoid giving your dog any foods that contain sugar, especially if they’re at risk for cancer.


In extreme cases, sugar can even lead to death in dogs. This happens when the dog consumes too much sugar at once, which can cause their blood sugar levels to become dangerously high. This condition is known as hypoglycemia, and it can be fatal if not treated quickly.

What Amount of Sugar Is Safe for Dogs?

Even a small amount of sugar can be dangerous for dogs. For example, just one tablespoon of sugar can cause hypoglycemia, which is a potentially fatal condition. The bottom line is that you should avoid giving your dog any sugar – even in small amounts. The only exception is adding a pinch of sugar to your dog’s water if they’re experiencing a bout of diarrhea as a means of electrolyte replenishment. Either way, consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s individual needs.

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Xylitol and Artificial Sweeteners Are Bad for Dogs, Too

While sugar is definitely bad for dogs, so are some sugar alternatives. Xylitol, a common sugar substitute, is highly toxic to dogs. It’s important to keep any foods or snacks that contain xylitol away from your pup, as even a small amount can cause seizures and death. Sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose are also bad for dogs. Aspartame can cause seizures, while sucralose can lead to gastrointestinal problems. So it’s best to avoid giving your dog any foods or drinks that contain these sweeteners.

Healthy Sweet Alternatives

Can dogs eat sugar? As you can see, there are many dangers of feeding dogs sugar. So, what are some alternatives to sugar-laden candy that are safe for dogs? Some good options include:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables: dogs love crunching on fresh fruits and veggies, and they’re packed with vitamins and minerals essential for their health;
  • low-fat dog treats: there are many healthy and low-fat dog treats on the dog food market that are perfect for satisfying your pup’s sweet tooth;
  • frozen yogurt or ice cream: a little bit of frozen yogurt or ice cream is a special treat for dogs, but make sure to choose a brand without added sugar;
  • homemade dog treats: you can easily make your own healthy and sugar-free dog treats at home with just a few ingredients.

Remember, moderation is key when it comes to feeding your pup any type of food, including sugar-free snacks. Too much of anything, even healthy fruits and vegetables, can lead to weight gain. So always consult with your veterinarian about what’s best for your dog’s individual diet.

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Can Dogs Eat Sugar? Final Verdict

Can dogs eat sugar? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. Feeding your dog sugar is a risky proposition with very little upside. Dogs don’t need any added sugar in their diet – they get all the sugar they need from the natural sugars in their food. There are also plenty of healthy and sugar-free snacks you can give your dog instead, so there’s no need to take the risk. Your dog will thank you for it!

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