Some say caramel was first used by the Arabs around 1000 A.D., while some say its first use was made in the 1880s. Discovered in the remote past, this confectionery product is still in use. It is a popular sweet that is enjoyed by young and adults alike. It is used for topping, filling, and flavoring many desserts.
Since humans use it a lot, dogs also crave it. As a result, dog owners are often concerned if the caramel is safe for their dogs. They also wonder if foods having caramel hurt dogs. Here is the complete guide on caramel edibility in dogs:
Is Caramel Safe for Dogs?
No, adding caramel to a dog’s diet is not a good idea. Although this sweet treat is neither toxic nor poisonous, it can slowly deteriorate your dog’s health. In addition, it has raw sugar in it and many other ingredients that are not safe for dogs.
Caramel is used in many products differently. Let’s see whether any of it is safe for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Chocolate?
Although caramel is not toxic, chocolate in any form is toxic to dogs. Any type of chocolate, whether it’s caramel chocolate, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate, is not suitable for your furry friend at all. Sometimes a dog can be killed with as little as 0.3 ounces of chocolate per pound of body weight. This happens because chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that is toxic to dogs.
Chocolate poisoning symptoms begin a few hours after your dog eats it and can continue up to 72 hours. These may include diarrhea, vomiting, involuntary tremors, pancreatitis, abnormal heart rate, and collapse, etc. It can even lead to death if your dog has consumed a large quantity. So if you doubt your dog has eaten caramel chocolate and is showing any of the above symptoms, take him to the vet immediately or call the Pet Poison Helpline.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Pudding?
Pudding can be served to the dogs having a sweet tooth once in a blue moon. However, the pudding already has high sugar content, and caramel adds extra sugar to it. That’s why it’s not suitable as a dessert for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Sugar-free Caramel Pudding?
After knowing that caramel pudding has excessive sugar, people usually opt for sugar-free pudding. Sugar-free products are safe for humans but not for dogs. It is because of the presence of an artificial sweetener, xylitol, in them. Dogs cannot have xylitol at all. Even a minute quantity is enough to cause poisoning in dogs. If not treated timely, it can be fatal enough to cause your dog’s death.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Popcorn?
Caramel popcorns are very popular and are available in many flavors. Dogs can eat caramel popcorn in small amounts, but all these flavors are not safe for dogs.
Plain Caramel Popcorn
You can feed your dog caramel popcorn but only in a moderate quantity. Popcorn is safe for dogs, and caramel popcorn can be served as a sweet treat once in a while.
Macadamia Caramel Popcorn
Macadamia nuts are toxic for dogs. According to vets, two nuts per pound of the dog’s body weight are more than enough to cause macadamia poisoning in them. So if you love dogs and don’t want to harm them, it’s best to avoid these nuts in any of the dog foods.
If your dog has eaten macadamia caramel popcorn, keep an eye on him. With the appearance of symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or weakness in the back legs, take him to a veterinarian immediately.
Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn
Peanut butter is safe for your dog. In fact, it is beneficial for the dog’s health. You can let him have some if he is craving something sweet. But do remember it still has caramel in it, which makes it unhealthy if treated in high quantities.
Almond Caramel Popcorn
Like many other nuts, almonds are not safe for dogs either. Dogs cannot digest almonds resulting in gastrointestinal upset. Almonds can also become the cause of obesity, pancreatitis, and many other health issues. Almonds are exactly what makes this treat unhealthy for dogs.
Chocolate Caramel Popcorn
Don’t let dogs eat caramel popcorn with chocolate in it. It is because chocolate is not good for dogs, just as described earlier. Chocolate is a big no for dogs, whether eaten alone or as a component of any other food.
For a small dog, 2-3 popcorns are enough, while for other larger dogs, you can feed 4-5 popcorns. If this limit is crossed, your dog’s well-being is at risk.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Ice Cream?
Caramel ice cream has too much sugar content in it, which is bad for your dog. Because xylitol is hazardous to dogs’ bodies, even “sugar-free” ice cream is unsafe. In fact, any artificial sweetener in caramel ice cream is generally a NO-NO for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Rice Cakes?
Rice cakes are good crunchy treats for dogs. But don’t let your dog eat caramel rice cakes as they are not healthy. They have zero nutritional value and are just empty calories that can make your dog obese.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Syrup?
Caramel syrup has sugar, water, and vanilla extract in it. Too much amount can lead to sugar overdose in your dog. Moreover, vanilla extract is also bad for dogs. Don’t add caramel syrup to dog food as it can negatively affect his health.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Sauce?
Caramel sauce contains sugar, butter, and cream as the main ingredients. Both butter and cream add too many calories to a dog’s diet. It might also have a small amount of salt in it. Although a small amount is safe for him, too much salt can be harmful. Moreover, more sugar content can add a dental disease to other health issues making it completely unsafe for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Candies?
These candies are prepared by heating sugar. It is burnt till it gives deep brown colored syrup. This syrup is then cooled in the shape of different candies. This much quantity can cause sugar overdose in your dog and put him at risk of many health problems.
If you are fond of these candies, it’s highly possible that you might catch your dog eating caramel candies that you forget to pick from the kitchen counter. You need to be extra careful in such cases.
Can Dogs Eat Caramel Apples?
If a dog eats apples, it’s acceptable, but it’s not acceptable if a dog eats caramel apples. Again, it’s the sugar content of caramel that makes it unhealthy for dogs.
Possible Health Risks
Ingredients of caramel are not safe for your canine companion and can pose many health problems.
If your dog eats and seems to enjoy any of these sugary treats. It might turn your sweet dog into a sugar addict, and it might be very difficult to keep sweets away from him.
Despite the fact that carbohydrates or sugar is an essential component of their diet plans, too much sugar, particularly ones found in desserts, can be harmful to dogs, just as they are to humans. They provide fewer benefits and more harm. Some of these side effects are listed below:
Due to the large intake of sugars, hyperactivity in dogs is also called sugar rush. Sugar raises your dog’s blood glucose levels, disturbs the hormonal balance, and decreases serotonin uptake. The overall effect can negatively impact your dog’s mood and behavior. For example, he feels difficulty concentrating, restlessness. If you notice any hyperactive behavior after your dog ate caramel, it’s time to switch his diet towards the one with low sugar content.
High blood sugar level
High blood sugar levels may result from obesity, diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, or hormonal imbalance. All these conditions lead to the accumulation of sugar in blood vessels resulting in the blockage of blood vessels. As a result, the liver may be enlarged, wounds are healed slowly, and the coordination of the body is lost.
The bacteria and other microbes in the guts of the dogs assist them in digesting the food they eat. A higher quantity of sugar than our pets are adapted to can upset the microorganisms’ balance, resulting in diarrhea and vomiting. Consequently, it can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
If you give your dog too many sweets on a regular basis, they may gain weight. Obesity is the leading cause of many other health problems, including strain on joints, breathing problems, heart ailments, and lethargy. Studies show, every dog out of four is obese, and this is due to improper diet.
Your dog may acquire diabetes if he continues to gain weight due to the overconsumption of sugars in his diet. In this situation, either their pancreases are unable to make insulin, or the pancreatic insulin can’t be taken up by the cells where it is required for metabolism (Insulin is a pancreatic hormone that controls the quantity of glucose in the blood). Diabetic dogs aren’t capable of metabolizing sugars.
Other disadvantages of excessive sugar consumption are cavities and dental caries in dogs. They may need root canals in case of severe caries. The sweets they eat are used by bacteria in the mouth, which creates acids. More sugar creates more acid and hence leads to mineral loss in the enamel of the dog’s teeth. Several other dental issues also arise.
After your dog finishes eating caramel, the best you can do is to brush his teeth. It is also important that your veterinarian examines your dog’s teeth at least once a year, and you should agree to professional cleanings as indicated by your veterinarian.
Other Harmful Ingredients of Caramel
Vanilla extract is found in caramel treats and is toxic for dogs because of its alcohol content. Caramel also has dairy content such as condensed milk that saves caramel from turning into a hard candy. However, dairy products are unsafe for the dogs’ digestive system. Caramel also contains sodium salt in it.
Are There Any Benefits of Caramel?
Caramels are found to be a rich source of antioxidants. Doesn’t this word sound familiar? Yes, these are the substances important for neutralizing free radicals that are the byproducts of metabolism and can harm the body cells. Antioxidants save your dog from these damages and reduce the risk of many other diseases.
Seeing at its table of contents, caramel cannot be fed to the dogs for one benefit only. Harms are way more than benefits. For antioxidant supply, you can use many other foods that are antioxidant-rich and safe at the same time.
Can Caramel Kill Dogs?
If you feed your dog caramel regularly or more than he is allowed to have, caramel can kill your dog but slowly as compared to xylitol and chocolate. If your dog is given food that contains both caramel and either xylitol or chocolate, its toxicity will be even greater than feeding him chocolate or xylitol alone.
Alternative Healthy Sweet Treats
There are many dog-friendly desserts that include peanut butter treats, sweet potatoes, banana pudding, pumpkin cakes, fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and watermelon. In addition, vegetables such as carrots can prove to be natural sweet for them.
Caramel is nontoxic to dogs but not healthy either. High sugar levels in the body result in several health problems. Therefore, sugary treats like caramel should be avoided as much as possible.