Caramel is like the gentle golden color of the setting sun, with a taste that lingers even when everything else has melted away. I mean, who doesn’t like caramel?

Lying on your couch with your pup, having a cup of coffee with caramel candies. He’s staring at the caramel candies like a hungry dog! You know how they’re always begging for food and how hard it is to resist their adorable begging eyes. As you’re about to give him a caramel candy, a thought hits. Can dogs eat caramel? Or is caramel bad for dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Caramel?

No! While caramel is not inherently toxic to dogs and a bite or two won’t hurt your dog (at least immediately), too much of it could have lots of short-term and long-term bad health effects on dogs.

So, technically, dogs can eat caramel as it’s not toxic for them. But the raw sugar is dangerous for them and can lead to many health issues, such as dental problems, sugar overdoses, diabetes, addiction, and even obesity.

When it comes to dogs and sweet treats, you need to understand the ingredients and risks of the treat given. This article will help you understand the potential hazards of giving caramel to dogs and give ideas for substitute sweet treats.

Does Caramel Harm Dogs?

Chocolate, onion, and garlic, to mention a few, are among the many “normal” human foods that can be toxic to dogs. It’s good to know that caramel isn’t on the list. Nonetheless, it has the potential to do significant harm to your dog.

Below we have discussed some of the short-term and long-term effects of caramel on dogs.

Short-Term Effects of Dogs Eating Caramel

Sugar has similar effects on dogs as it has on children; they revel in the rush they get from sugar but cannot deal well with it.

Your dog will experience edginess, inability to concentrate, and distress before tumbling into lethargy. This instant change will affect their mood, and they may become petulant and moody. They may also undergo instant physiological issues due to consuming too much caramel—of which sugar is a vital part.


Eating caramel cause the blood sugar level of our dogs to spike up, making them hyperactive. High on sugar, your dog with dilated pupils may start tearing up your home before passing out. More so, dogs with sugar levels spiking in their blood can run miles without stopping for a breath. At the end of the hyperactivity, your dog may suddenly pass out. However, they would only remember the good times when they were high on sugar.

Upset Stomach

The digestive systems of our pooches are not equipped to process sugar the same way as we, humans, do. According to Dr. Ari Zabell, “all animals rely on the bacteria and other microorganisms in our gut to help us digest the food we eat. A higher dose of sugar than our pets are used to can upset the balance of those microorganisms and lead to diarrhea – sometimes explosive, sometimes bloody, and sometimes even with vomiting.”

Sugar Overdose

Addiction is one thing, but too much sugar can lead to overdosing in certain dogs. Most of this has to do with the proportion of caramel (which is simply cubed sugar) and the dog size. A sugar overdose may necessitate emergency veterinary treatment, so watch out for the symptoms.

A few common after-effects of sugar overdose are vomiting and diarrhea, so keep an eye on your dog. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a large amount of sugar and is throwing up, stop feeding it for 24 hours and take him to a vet if the symptoms persist.

Short-term and long-term effects of dogs eating caramel
infogeaph showing Short-term and long-term effects of dogs eating caramel by Keepingpet

Long-Term Effects of Dogs Eating Caramel

Let’s look at some of the even more serious consequences of feeding a dog too much caramel. The health issues in dogs are exacerbated, much as the short-term consequences.

It will start off as basic weight gain, which dogs, unlike humans, are ill-equipped to deal with. Your pet’s dental issues will begin once he or she becomes obese. Cavities, root canals, and missing teeth may make your dog’s life a living hell.


If your dog consumes too much sugar on a daily basis, it may develop diabetes later—yes, there is such a thing as canine diabetes. Diabetes develops when a dog’s body is unable to handle sugar in the blood, and it frequently demands treatment. Because dogs are smaller than humans and are unable to metabolize sugar in the same way that humans do, diabetes can develop more quickly and with less sugar consumption than humans

It’s as bad as human diabetes, but in some aspects, it’s much worse since they don’t realize what’s happening to them. Diabetes, as you might expect, causes a slew of health issues for your dog and will certainly decrease its lifespan.

Dental Issues

As you probably already know, consuming a lot of sugar can contribute to dental issues. Your dog is no exception unless you’re used to brushing his teeth on a regular basis—which most pet parents are not.

Dogs use their mouths for a variety of purposes, so it’s not only an inconvenience or a cosmetic concern like it is for humans. It is much more than that. They rely on their jaws and teeth to grasp objects and protect themselves against predators. So, it’s essential to keep our canine’s canines in good health.

Read: Best Dog Toothpaste for Shiny Teeth and Kissable Breath


Raw sugar is very addictive, which is one of the riskiest aspects of feeding it to dogs. They become addicted to the sugar rush and want more and more of it. Imagine your dog has the same addiction as you, only they don’t realize it’s addictive, and you don’t have the same capacity to reason or explain it to them as you would with a human. Instead, he desires more, which you are unable to provide, and he is perplexed as to why. Doesn’t it tug at your emotions a little?

Sugar should be avoided at all costs if you don’t want to convert your adorable puppy into a sugar addict unintentionally.


Too much sugar causes weight gain and eventually obesity in dogs, just as it does in humans. Dogs readily get obese with exceeding consumption of fat; feeding them caramel on a daily basis may be enough to tilt the scales. While there are many aspects to a balanced diet, avoiding sweet human delights should be one of them!

Can Caramel Kill a Dog?

No, caramel cannot kill a dog. As discussed earlier, there is nothing toxic about caramel, but it is not healthy for dogs and can cause many health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and dental issues, which can reduce the lifespan of your canine buddy.

That said, if a dog eats caramel that contains xylitol, he may die if quick treatment is not provided. According to the US Food and Drug Authority, xylitol is absorbed in our dogs’ bloodstream resulting in the rapid release of insulin, causing hyperglycemia—an extreme decrease in the blood sugar level.

What Happens If a Dog Eats Caramel?

The most likely scenario is that they will have a severe case of the zoomies. Consider it as racing about, playing wildly, and then collapsing in a sugar coma. Does this ring a bell? That’s exactly what happens when your toddler gets his hands on a stash of sweets!

If you compare the two, you’ll see that a sugar high is harsher in dogs than in children. It causes greater injury and is also more difficult for your dog to grapple with.

What to Do If a Dog Eats Caramel?

Don’t panic if your dog grabs a piece of caramel, it’s not toxic. Although, you’d want to monitor him for symptoms of the sugar rush. The good thing is that sugar rush symptoms are quite easy to catch.

Symptoms of Sugar Rush In Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sulkiness
  • Irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Agitation
  • Catatonic sleeping
  • Exhaustion
  • If your dog has consumed extra sugar and you witness changes in his behavior—rushing around the house, playing with a zest you may have never seen before, and being unable to settle down. Theoretically, he will be filled with so much energy that he could run miles and miles without a break.

    Older dogs are likely to become nervous and disturbed and double as grumpy. Always keep an eye on your dog during the zoomie stage, as he is high on sugar and may hurt himself while over-exercising.

    Once the sugar wears down, he will thud. He may zone out halfway of a play session and take an extremely long and deep nap. This is very normal, but you’ll still want to watch over him to make sure he is okay.

    Read: Do Puppies Sleep a Lot?

    Often, a dog might experience diarrhea and occasionally vomit too. This is more likely if he has eaten a lot of sugar. It will clear up in a few hours but make sure he has access to plenty of water. If you are still concerned, you may contact your vet for help.

    At times, chocolate products contain caramel. Although the caramel is not toxic, the chocolate can be. If your dog eats a chocolate caramel, search for the following signs of chocolate poisoning:

    Signs of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

  • Shivering
  • Seizures
  • Amplified Heart Beat
  • Increased Urination
  • Restiveness Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Can Dogs Have Caramel Popcorn?

    No, dogs should not have caramel popcorns. Caramel in its purest form is worse than caramel syrup that is poured over popcorn. But that does not mean caramel popcorns are healthy for dogs. Actually, caramel drizzled over popcorns usually has other artificial flavors and additives, which could be toxic to dogs. So, it is best that we do not offer any caramel popcorns to our pooches.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Ice Cream?

    No. Not only is the quantity of sugar in the caramel sugar is alarming, but dogs aren’t supposed to consume ice cream either. After being weaned as puppies, most dogs become lactose intolerant as their bodies are producing little to no lactase—the enzyme necessary for digesting lactose sugar present in dairy milk. This greatly reduces dogs’ ability to break down lactose sugar. Thus, making digestion of dairy products a cumbersome task for dogs. This is why when dogs eat dairy products like ice cream, they experience symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and in some cases, constipation.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Syrup?

    No. Your dog should avoid caramel syrup due to its high sugar content. Dogs that eat sugary foods on a regular basis are more likely to develop diabetes, obesity, and dental issues.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Cake?

    Caramel cake is high in sugar, carbohydrates, and calories, so dogs should stay away from cakes too. Even if a single bite isn’t harmful, a high-sugar diet can be detrimental to your dog’s health. It’s preferable to keep dogs away from caramel cake.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Dip?

    Caramel dip is ultimately the same as caramel, however, it may contain some additional sugars, making it worse than simple caramel for dogs. More so, caramel dip should not be given to your dog since it may stick to their teeth and cause cavities.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Fudge?

    No, don’t let your dog have caramel fudge either. It is very unhealthy for dogs as it contains dairy ingredients and a high amount of sugar.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Rice Cakes?

    Same as above—no. Plain rice cakes are okay for your dog to have in moderation since a lot of dog foods have rice in their ingredients. Whereas rice cakes are low in nutrients, adding sugars, caramel, and chocolate in them makes it go from risk-free to problematic.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Apples?

    No, dogs should not consume caramel apples as there are too many calories and sugar in it that can lead to an unhealthy spike in the blood sugar level of your dog.

    The toppings on caramel apples could be unhealthy for dogs. Chocolate and cinnamon often used in toppings are dangerous for dogs.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Lollipops?

    No, dogs should never have lollipops, caramel, or any other. The lollipop stick is a choking hazard, and the hard candy can get caught in your dog’s teeth and cause dental issues. And, it goes without saying, the excessive sugar in lollipops would upset your pooch’s stomach.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Nuts?

    Snacking on a few nuts is safe for dogs, but only if they are plain—unsalted and free of any added sugars or other additives. So, just like caramel, caramel nuts are not toxic to dogs, but if consumed in excess, your dog may experience tummy troubles.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Pudding?

    Yes, dogs can have caramel pudding occasionally, in small amounts, as a treat. But not the sugar-free one since it has xylitol that is toxic to dogs. Make sure that the pudding doesn’t contain xylitol.

    Can Dogs Have Caramel Waffles?

    A few bites of caramel waffles won’t hurt your dog, but it’s best to avoid them. Consuming too many calories can lead to obesity and other health issues.

    What Treat Can You Give To Your Dog?

    Besides the evident “doggy treats,” there are ample substitutes that you can give to your dog. We understand that you love your pup and want to pamper him with every treat, but you need to understand that every treat is not for him. There are loads of dog-friendly treats out there.

    Milk-Bone Maro Snacks Dog Treats

    Some of them include homemade bakery treats made particularly for dogs. Others can be actual dog-friendly human food that you can fill up your fridge with.

    Read: Can Dogs Eat Human Food? Busting Myths

    Meaty human foods like chicken, turkey, crab, and lean beef make a good option for dogs. Just make sure they are completely cooked and free of any additives and seasonings. Some dogs can eat raw meat while others are not used to it or bred for it. Better safe than sorry.

    If you’re avoiding meat, you can go for carbs like pasta and rice, but make sure they’re cooked and without any harmful additives. Nuts like peanuts and peanut butter are also fine alternatives as well as an excellent source of energy for dogs, provided they are being fed in moderation.

    Tip! Only feed unsalted nuts and check peanut butter for added sugar.

    On the greener side, vegetables are a good option, but not all of them. Avoid plants with seeds and stalks, they can cause acute digestive problems. Lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and Brussel sprouts make a great snack for dogs.  

    If you want to feed your dog something sweet, go for fruits. Fruits contain natural sugar that is not harmful. Oranges, pomegranates, apricots, and watermelons are good if seeds are removed. Avoid grapes, raisins, and avocados, as they may upset a dog’s stomach or worse.

    Before feeding your dog anything new, research the food and give them a little bit to try out to see how they will respond. You may think the food is harmless but, similar to humans, all dogs are unique, and yours could have an allergy or complication with the specific food.

    Final Verdict: Can Dogs Eat Caramel?

    No. Just because your dog is begging, that does not mean you should give him a bite of your caramel. Dogs beg for food because they’re foodies by birth, looking for food all the time. Even if they’re full, they’d still beg. A begging dog is not a hungry dog!

    Keep away caramel from your dog as much as possible. From the zoomies to sugar overdose, it’s never worth it and can have a severely damaging impact on your dog’s overall health.

    Read: How Much Chocolate Can Kill a Dog?

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