Caramel might seem like a relatively harmless treat. But can dogs eat caramel? Or should you keep this sugary food away from your pup? Keep reading to find out.
As caramel is made from almost pure sugar, it should never be given to a dog. Sugar consumption is linked with obesity, diabetes, dental problems, and various other canine health issues.
Let’s take a closer look at this sugary food and why it shouldn’t be fed to your canine companion.
Caramel shouldn’t be given to dogs, but it isn’t toxic in the same way that grapes or onions are. So, if your pup manages to lick a small amount of caramel while it’s cooling on the work surface, you probably don’t need to panic.
However, caramel is effectively pure sugar, making it extremely unhealthy for dogs. It also doesn’t provide any nutritional benefits, meaning there’s no reason to ever feed it to your pet.
Caramel is also often combined with other foods that are dangerous or toxic to dogs, such as chocolate.
Caramel is made by slowly heating white sugar, sometimes alongside water and cream or milk, until it liquefies. It can vary in consistency, from a saucy texture to a chewier variety.
While caramel is similar to toffee and butterscotch, these are both made with brown sugar and often cooked at a higher temperature to form a brittle texture.
We’ve established that dogs shouldn’t eat caramel. But what makes sugar such an unhealthy ingredient for your pup?
In small quantities, natural sugars obtained from dog-safe fruits and vegetables are fine for dogs to eat. These healthy food groups are typically packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutritional benefits. Even so, they should only be fed in small amounts, and keep in mind that many vegetables and fruits are toxic to dogs.
Some potential issues caused by the sugar in caramel include:
Note: Some dogs have a dairy intolerance or allergy. Caramel made with milk or cream could trigger this sensitivity, leading to an upset stomach or even an allergic reaction. If you notice stomach problems, respiratory issues, or other symptoms after your dog has eaten any food, contact your vet immediately.
Plain popcorn isn’t toxic for dogs, and it’s even sometimes sold as a low-calorie treat. However, sugary, caramel-covered popcorn should never be fed as a regular treat.
Steer clear of salty or buttered varieties too. Too much salt can lead to your dog becoming dehydrated, and it’s a particular issue if they have renal problems. The high-fat content in butter can also lead to weight gain and conditions like pancreatitis.
Although caramel isn’t toxic for dogs, it’s not something that you should deliberately feed your dog. It’s almost pure sugar, and, if it’s fed regularly, could lead to dental problems, weight gain, and associated health problems.
Gemma is a freelance writer and official dog nut. With 15 years of experience in the pet industry, she is a passionate animal welfare advocate. She has worked for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ran her own specialist dog shop for ten years, has volunteered for her local rescue shelter, and is studying towards completing an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour. Gemma is currently travelling around Europe with her wonderful rescue dog, Annie.