Can Dogs Eat Black Licorice?


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If you’re like many dog owners, you’re probably wondering, “Can Dogs eat Black Licorice?”. While there are many benefits associated with black licorice, including acting as an anti-inflammatory, decreasing allergic reactions, increasing immune system functioning, and assisting with arthritis, many believe that eating licorice could cause your pup a ton of pain.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about black licorice, including whether or not your dog should be allowed to consume licorice extract, licorice plant, or licorice root.

The History Behind Licorice

Licorice, or Glycyrrhiza Glaba, is a plant that has been around since ancient times.

It’s believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean region before being traded throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. The root of this plant is known for tasting sweet and was used as a traditional Chinese medicine to treat constipation, upset stomachs, headaches, and congestion in humans.

As licorice evolved, it was eventually mixed with other binders such as honey and herb roots to create throat drops.

Eventually, it was mixed with sweeteners and artificial flavors to produce the sweet candy we’re familiar with today.

Can My Dog Eat Black Licorice Candy?

The short answer is that dogs should not eat licorice. The consumption of black licorice can result in your dog’s blood pressure dropping, elevated potassium levels, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, and weakness. In some instances, black licorice has been known to cause seizures or even lead to death.

While the licorice root extract can have health benefits, the other ingredients found in licorice candy are junk and offer no nutritional benefits for dogs.

There is too much sugar, corn syrup, and sweet flavor added to the candy. This is such a complicated question because many people confuse black licorice candy with licorice root, which is an entirely different product.

Can Dogs Eat Red Licorice?

Similarly, red licorice is not safe for dogs in any form. While many people assume that it’s okay to give your dog red licorice because it does not contain the same ingredient as black, the truth is that both are dangerous and potentially fatal.

Can My Dog Eat Twizzlers?

No, Twizzlers are not safe for dogs. Twizzlers are made with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives that are toxic to your dog’s health. Even the natural red dye found in these licorice-flavored snacks can make your pup sick.

If you suspect your dog has eaten Twizzlers, stop them from eating the snack and restrict their access to any other sweet food. Keep an eye on their behavior and ensure that they’re not displaying any severe symptoms such as having issues breathing.

Likely, your dog will only have a stomach ache from consuming a small number of Twizzlers. However, if they’ve consumed more than a few pieces, you’ll want to get in touch with your vet.

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Can My Dogs Eat Any Kind of Liquorice At All?

While feeding your dog black and red licorice candies can be harmful to your dog’s health, licorice root can be beneficial to your pup.

However, licorice roots need to be given in extremely low doses. Your dog can develop high blood pressure due to the increase in sodium and decrease in potassium associated with the licorice root extract.

Before feeding your dog any type of licorice root, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian first. Licorice root may be safe for some pups but may not work for others depending on the dog’s breed and current health condition.

The Problems With Dogs Eating Red or Black Licorice

Regardless of the color or flavor, dogs cannot consume licorice. In addition, since the black licorice candy contains chemical sweeteners, there are no nutritional benefits associated with it, making it a junk food that could potentially cause your dog to become very sick.

If you’re still unsure why this can be so dangerous for your furry friend, here are a few of the concerns with feeding any type of licorice to your pup.

Xylitol Addition

Many black licorice candies contain xylitol, which can be very toxic to your dog. This chemical can lead to seizures or the death of your puppy, even if only a few grams were ingested. Even if they don’t experience that extreme of side effects, they can still be faced with liver failure, liver disease, or hypoglycemia.


Glycyrrhizin is considered an anti-inflammatory that can help reduce the effects of allergies or relieve joint pain. However, this chemical can cause sodium retention or increase potassium loss in high doses. This could lead to lethargy, weakness, increased thirst, breathing rates, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Too Much Sugar

Licorice is a sugar candy, and as such, it’s not the best choice for your dog. Dogs love sweet things, and licorice can be an easy target for them to seek out. However, too much sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, obesity, tooth decay, and even diabetes in dogs that are often left unsupervised.

What Are Some Symptoms That My Dog Has Consumed Licorice?

If your pup has ingested black licorice candy, it could begin to show the following symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness and tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

If you notice your dog showing any of these signs and know that your dog ate licorice, immediately call your doctor for veterinary advice.

Alternatives to Feeding Your Dog Licorice

While Licorice root has been shown to provide some benefits to your dog’s health, such as helping with a stomach ache or decreasing inflammation, the risks associated with it are not worth the fuss. As such, we recommend offering your pup something else that is safe and can be used on an as-needed basis for their aches and pains.

When it comes to alternative ways to give your pup pain relief, you might want to consider these four options. Some great alternatives to feeding your dog licorice include:

Aloe Vera

Aloe gel is a great way to treat your pups with any cuts, scrapes, or skin irritations. While dogs should not eat or lick Aloe Vera leaves, applying them topically is a great alternative healing solution for your pup.


Ginger root is a great substance to use to help with your dog’s upset stomach and can also decrease inflammation.

Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle can help improve a dog’s liver function as well as protect it from damage. If your dog has ingested licorice by accident, this is a great way to assist with any liver damage that may occur.


Chamomile is an excellent alternative to helping with digestion. The herb can be soaked in water for 10 minutes and then fed to your pup to ease any stomach aches or gastrointestinal issues.

If you’re unable to find these extracts or need something on-the-go to feed your dog, you can also head to your local grocery store to find supplements or dog treats that can assist with the same types of issues.

Conclusion: Should My Dog Eat Licorice?

The short answer is no, and we recommend that you put anything that contains licorice right in the trash and out of sight for your pup. Even though some people think it might be okay to give their dog a little bit, we cannot stress enough how dangerous this can be for them, especially if consumed in large quantities.

Licorice isn’t only found as candy. It can be found in some sodas, tea, and even herbal products. So make sure to keep an eye on everything that goes into your pup’s mouth. If you believe that your dog has ingested black licorice or any other type of candy with it in it, please contact the Pet Poison Hotline immediately or head to your local emergency veterinarian.