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Can Dogs Eat Caramel? Is It Good Or Bad?

  • 11 min read

The following information is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not constitute pet medical advice.
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*Can Dogs Eat Caramel?*

The scent and shiny color of caramel are enough to whet your appetite. The taste makes it even more divine, with the way it melts away in your mouth.

With the way we love caramel and caramel-coated foods, one might wonder if their dog can partake. Which is the source of the question, can dogs eat caramel?

You might be lying down watching some movie while enjoying caramel popcorn. Your dog can start staring at you with those cute eyes, begging to taste the source of that sweet smell.

However, should you give caramel to your dog?

We will be looking at the effects of caramel on dogs and whether it is safe for them to eat it. However, first things first, what is caramel?

What Is Caramel?

can dogs eat caramel

Caramel is created by heating sugar to a very high temperature of up to 340 degrees Fahrenheit. As heating goes on, the sugar molecules break down and form new compounds that have a golden brown color with a deep and rich flavor. This process is called caramelization.

Caramel is mainly used with the addition of other ingredients. You can make caramel sauce by mixing caramel with sauce. You can make caramel-coated apples, caramel popcorn, etc.

Caramel has a very sweet taste. It is sticky and even gets stickier when it gets warm. The highly concentrated version is a bit bitter, therefore salt is usually added to counter the bitterness.

Can Dogs Eat Caramel?

Technically yes, but should they? No.

Dogs can eat caramel because it isn’t toxic or poisonous to them. Therefore there will be no problems immediately after eating it. However, what happens if your dog eats caramel regularly?

Raw sugar such as caramel is very dangerous to the health of your dog, both in the short and long term. It can lead to addiction and other health conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, dental caries, etc.

While caramel is not toxic to your dog, it could pose a lot of health risks. Therefore it’ll be your duty to make sure your dog stays off caramel or any other sugars.

Is Caramel Safe For Dogs?

can dogs eat caramel

Dogs can get pretty curious about human food and guilt-trip you into feeding it to them. However, some of the ingredients used to prepare our food are poisonous to dogs. Such include onions, garlic, nutmeg, chocolate, etc.

Fortunately, caramel isn’t one of them. Although it isn’t toxic to dogs, caramel can still deal damage to your dog’s health. Therefore to maintain peak health for your dog, it’s best to avoid caramel and other sugars.

So it is safe?

That we’re saying caramel is not toxic doesn’t mean you should go about feeding caramel to your dog. It just means in case your dog eats caramel without your knowledge, then you have nothing to worry about.

It won’t cause harm if it’s not too much.

Why Is Caramel Bad For Dogs?

We’re responsible for what our dogs eat, just in the same way our children rely on us for food. Therefore it is your duty as dog parents to make sure your pooch gets nutrients from a healthy source.

Caramel is purely made from sugar and that’s bad for your dog. Dogs do not have as many enzymes that digest sugars as humans do. Therefore this magnifies the bad effects of caramel.

What Are The Effects Of Caramel On Dogs?

Feeding caramel to your dog will only bring about negative effects, it’s hard to see the upside. To make it easier, we’ll divide the effects into short-term and long-term.

Short-Term Effects Of Dogs Eating Caramel

Have you ever seen a child eat so much sugar?

If yes, then you know what a sugar rush is. It is even worse in dogs. After consuming such a load of sugar, your dog will become edgy and unable to concentrate. This quickly progresses to distress and lethargy.

Mood changes are one of the hallmarks of sugar consumption in dogs. They become moody and irritable. Now, let’s look at the short term effects one at a time;

Stomach Upset

It has been known that dogs do not have as many enzymes as humans do when it comes to the digestion of sugar. Therefore they rely on the microorganisms in their gut to help them break down sugar.

This goes to show that your dog’s gastrointestinal system isn’t equipped to handle sugar as we do. And this usually leads to problems when your dog takes a substantial amount of sugar.

If the amount of sugar taken is more than what these microorganisms can handle, it leads to gut irritation and diarrhea. Diarrhea might be explosive, bloody, or even associated with vomiting.


Caramel is pure sugar, therefore eating it will definitely increase your dog’s blood sugar level. This will nudge them into a sugar rush and make them hyperactive.

While being high in sugar, your pooch can go on a destructive spree, tearing your home apart. Or even run several miles without catching his breath.

After this intense phase of hyperactivity, your dog is likely to pass out.

Sugar rush happens in children as well, but it has been noted to be quite worse in dogs. Therefore prepare for some frantic behaviors if that happens. It can manifest as;

  • Irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Agitation
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Exhaustion
  • Catatonic sleeping
can dogs eat caramel

Long-Term Effects Of Dog Eating Caramel

Let’s take a look at the long-term effects of caramel on dogs. This is a result of an accumulation from frequent consumption of this sugar-filled food.

While you might feel like a good parent for feeding such sweet treats to your dog, the health consequences are dire.


When we hear about diabetes, we think it’s only a human disease. However, it does affect dogs too. It is basically a disease where the body is unable to handle sugar leading to spikes in blood levels.

If your pup consumes sugar regularly, then the chances of developing diabetes are very high. Due to the size and enzyme composition of dogs, they tend to develop diabetes even faster than humans when the risk factors are there.

I’m sure you’ve heard pretty nasty things about diabetes. Yeah, it’s the same in dogs as well. Diabetes can predispose your pooch to a whole lot of other bad health conditions.

The worst part is that your pooch doesn’t even know what’s wrong with him. And without proper treatment, it can lead to a reduction in lifespan and death.

Dental Problems

It is widely known that eating sugar can lead to dental problems, especially dental caries. It is no different in dogs. It’s even more common in dogs that eat sugar because most parents don’t brush their dog’s teeth.

For humans, teeth are basically for eating and aesthetics. It’s different for dogs, they use their teeth for almost everything. They use it for eating, grasping objects, fighting off predators, etc.

So it is of utmost importance to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. This can be achieved both by avoiding caramel and brushing regularly.


This is the riskiest part of feeding sugar to your dog. Raw sugar such as caramel can easily lead to addictive behavior. They become addicted to that elation they feel during the sugar rush and would want more.

Imagine your pup’s surprise when you’re unable to provide the sugar he desires so much. This is because they don’t know what addiction is, unlike humans. They just want that good feeling back.

Therefore to prevent turning your pooch into a sugar addict, it’s best to stay off caramel. Or keep it properly where it is out of reach for your dog to avoid accidental consumption.


Due to the relatively small size of dogs compared to humans, they easily gain weight when fed fatty or sugary food. Therefore daily consumption of caramel can easily tilt your pooch towards obesity.

And obesity has several implications for a dog. It can cause joint and muscle problems and many others.

Can Caramel Kill A Dog?

No, caramel can’t kill your dog. As earlier said it isn’t toxic. However, regular consumption can lead to a host of health issues like dental caries, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, etc. While these conditions won’t immediately kill your dog, they will reduce his lifespan.

Although it is important to note if the caramel contains xylitol. This is because xylitol can lead to death if not treated promptly. Xylitol causes your dog’s body to release so much insulin that ends up leading to hypoglycemia.

The blood sugar level of your dog falls drastically low. This can be expressed by several symptoms such as seizures, lethargy, weakness, etc.

What Happens If My Dog Already Ate Caramel?

can dogs eat caramel

This will depend on how much he ate. Caramel isn’t toxic, therefore if your dog just ate a tiny amount, then there’s nothing to worry about. His gut will probably handle that.

However, if he ate so much, you should be expecting him to go into a sugar rush. This means hyperactivity that is characterized by playing wildly, destroying things, and racing about.

Moments after this hyperactivity, your dog will probably pass out. This is normal, although you should watch over him while he takes a deep nap. You can visit your vet to make sure everything is fine.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Caramel

It doesn’t end by refusing to give your dog caramel. You might have some lying around and your dog just eats it without your consent.

Therefore it is important to always keep it out of reach of your dog. Put it on top shelves away from your dog. This will prevent accidental consumption.

Additionally, it is ideal to train your dog not to eat anything you didn’t offer. This training usually starts from puppyhood. So the earlier you start training your dog, the better he is at controlling his impulses.

Alternatives To Caramel

If you’re pleased with your dog and want to treat him to a sweet meal, there are other ways to do that. Using caramel as treat will only cause problems in the long run.

As an alternative, you can use chicken turkey or lean beef. These are high-protein foods and are still quite delicious for your dog. Cook them thoroughly and without ingredients.

Nuts are also a great alternative. They have a natural sweetness and are packed with energy. Only offer your pup plain and untreated nuts. Peanut butter can also be used, however, only use unsalted and unsweetened peanut butter.

If you prefer plant-based, there are some vegetables and fruits that dogs enjoy. Carrot, cucumber, lettuce, etc can all be eaten by dogs.

Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Caramel?

We enjoy caramel in many foods as humans. There are caramel popcorns, caramel-coated apples, caramel sauce, etc. Therefore it is not far-fetched when we start discussing things like “can dogs eat caramel?”

This is because as a dog parent, your pup is so dear to you that you’ll want him to partake in whatever you enjoy. However, if you always give in to this impulse, then you’ll unintentionally do more harm than good.

Caramel isn’t toxic to dogs, therefore you shouldn’t be worried if they ate it just one time. However, continuous consumption of caramel can pose several health risks.

Among many of them, the notable ones included diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, addiction, sugar rush, dental issues, etc. These health issues can drastically reduce the lifespan of your pooch.

So as you can see, caramel might cause harm to your dog immediately, but continuous consumption can lead to many health problems. And with that many health problems, your pooch will surely have a decreased quality of life. That’s something you never want to witness.

Deep down you might feel guilty for not giving your dog that sweet caramel, but trust me, you’re doing the right thing. The duty lies on you to make sure your furry friend lives a healthy life.

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