Caramel is one of those treats that goes with pretty much everything from popcorn to baked treats and the coffee you wash the treats down. While we may have a lot to celebrate and enjoy about the nutty and sweet flavor profile, the same cannot be said for our furry best friends.
Dogs should never eat caramel. Technically speaking, caramel is not toxic to dogs. However, with side effects like dental cavities, the consumption of caramel will undoubtedly ruin your dog’s quality of life.
In the upcoming sections, you will learn all that you need about caramel and its numerous health effects on dogs. This will include the rare occasions where consuming caramel can actually be life-threatening for the pooch.
That way, you will understand exactly why we advise that you avoid giving your dog caramel at all costs. Let’s dive right in.
Is Caramel Toxic To Dogs?
No, caramel is not toxic to dogs. However, it is harmful, and too much of it will cause serious long-term health effects for the dogs. For some perspective, here are some of the most important reasons why you should not feed your dog caramel.
Dogs don’t know to brush their teeth after a sugary treat. If you feed them caramel, you increase their risk of developing dental health issues, including cavities. These are not only incredibly uncomfortable for the dog but could also result in dental abscesses and even systemic sepsis.
The teeth are not the only part of your dog’s dental anatomy at risk if you feed your pooch caramel. They may also develop gingivitis.
The bacteria that exist naturally in your dog’s mouth thrive in a high-sugar environment which is what caramel can create. The result is inflammation and infection that could eventually result in your dog losing their teeth.
Dogs suffer from diabetes just like humans do, and it can be triggered by long-term consumption of unhealthy foods. Caramel falls in this category of unhealthy foods with its high sugar content and puts your dog at risk of developing the disease.
Diabetes greatly compromises the quality of life in dogs and shortens their life expectancy too. Some of the signs that your dog may have diabetes include increased urination, thirst, and increased appetite, just to name a few.
Caramel has a lot of calories and could therefore contribute to your dog’s risk of developing obesity. To be fair, consuming caramel alone will not make your dog overweight.
However, a combination of overindulgence in this sugary treat, a generally unhealthy diet, and low levels of activity more or less guarantee that your dog will end up obese.
Can Caramel Make Dogs Sick?
In addition to the long-term side effects, caramel can cause your dog to be seriously sick in a matter of minutes or hours. This typically happens when the dog consumes too much of the caramel in a very short amount of time.
Here are some of the signs you may pick up on to let you know that your dog took too much caramel and needs some help.
Excessive consumption of sugar may irritate your dog’s digestive system. One of the most common side effects is diarrhea. The diarrhea is more often than not free of blood.
However, if diarrhea persists for long enough, the dog may experience injuries to its digestive tract and actually have some blood staining. However, this is a very rare occurrence.
The high sugar content in caramel can be very dehydrating for the dog. Furthermore, the pooch may be losing fluids through diarrhea, vomiting, and panting from the discomfort they are experiencing.
The dehydration only worsens matters and can even result in life-threatening complications like seizures and kidney failure.
Nausea And Vomiting
You may also have to deal with nausea and vomiting as an immediate consequence of your dog consuming too much caramel at once. This is typically a reaction mounted by the dog’s brain to get rid of what it registers as harmful to the body.
Your dog will likely only vomit what it has eaten, after which it will experience some relief. However, in very serious cases, they may continue to dry heave and only vomit stomach secretions or bile. Fortunately, this is another very rare consequence.
Hyperactivity And A Sugar Crash
Dogs are just as likely as we are to experience sugar highs from consuming sugary treats like caramel. Your dog will turn into a firecracker with more energy than they know what to do.
This burst of energy alone can cause a lot of trouble as it puts the dog at the risk of injury or even at the risk of attack if their hyperactivity causes them to pick fights with bigger and stronger dogs.
What follows is a proper sugar crush, in which case the dog will get lethargic, confused, and may even lose consciousness.
Can Caramel Kill My Dog?
While pure caramel is considered non-toxic to dogs, it is possible for your dog to die after taking caramel.
One way caramel can kill your dog is through complications of overindulgence in the sugary snack. Short-term consequences like dehydration and long-term effects like obesity and diabetes not only compromise your dog’s quality of life but also threaten to end it.
Another way caramel could kill your dog is if it is made using toxic ingredients. Perhaps the most commonly found toxic additive in caramel is xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener that has been shown to be poisonous to dogs.
It is therefore very important that you read the ingredients on commercially-prepared caramel treats if at all you must give your dog some. This is because even small amounts of xylitol could have fatal consequences for your dog. Some of its effects include:
- Loss of coordination
Can Dogs Eat Caramel-Dipped Fruits?
No, dogs should not eat caramel-dipped fruits. The high levels of sugar both in the caramel and in the fruits will just increase their likelihood of developing both the long-term and short-term side effects of excessive sugar consumption in dogs.
These side effects include vomiting and diarrhea in the short term, as well as dental issues and obesity in the long run.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Caramel?
If your dog eats caramel, the first thing you need to do is to find out how much they ate and what was used to make the caramel. This will inform your next step of action. Here are some of the possible next steps you could take if your dog eats caramel.
Call The Vet
If your dog overate caramel and is getting sick from it, call the vet.
If the caramel that your dog ate has toxic ingredients like xylitol, call the vet.
If the caramel that your dog ate was expired or otherwise contaminated, call the vet.
It is vital in all these situations to get your dog immediate veterinary assistance, as some of the seemingly simple signs and symptoms could have life-threatening consequences for the dogs.
Hydrate Your Dog
Ensure that your dog has access to cool, clean water after their caramel binge. This will help prevent dehydration and its numerous life-threatening outcomes. It also offers the dog relief from symptoms like nausea and abdominal discomfort.
Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
If your dog takes caramel, you have to ensure that you clean their teeth thoroughly after. This is especially important if the caramel is in the form of chewy candy or a coating on fruit or popcorn. In these cases, the caramel is more likely to get stuck on and between the dog’s teeth.
Here, dental water additives alone may not be enough. You may have to invest in a proper doggy toothbrush and toothpaste to ensure that you get all the caramel bits left behind.