Also known as crème, caramel is delicious, sweet, and creamy custard baked with caramel until soft. It is widely popular, and everybody loves it. But what about dogs?
Can dogs eat flan? Sadly, the answer is no – dogs cannot eat flan. Although there is nothing directly toxic in this sweet delicacy, it is too sugary for dogs. Not to mention that most dogs are lactose intolerant, and flan is a milk-rich food.
In this article, we will talk about flan and dogs. We will review the different ingredients and see why they are not considered dog-friendly. Plus, we will give tips on what to do in case your dog steals flan.
WHAT IS FLAN?
Flan, also known as crème caramel or caramel custard, is a delicious and creamy dessert made of eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. The delicacy is topped with savory caramel sauce (a melted mix of sugar, butter, and cream) and a finishing layer of hard caramel.
WHY IS FLAN NOT SAFE FOR DOGS?
The reason flan is not safe for your dog is its specific combination of fatty and sugary ingredients, topped with the potential of food intolerances. If this sounds complicated, take a look at the different flan ingredients and what makes them potentially troublesome for dogs.
Ingredients number 1: MILK
There is a popular misconception that pets need milk. This is not true. Milk is not healthy and can even be dangerous. As proof of this statement – most adult dogs are lactose intolerant.
Milk contains specific sugars, and lactose is the most important type of milk sugar. Under normal circumstances, once ingested, the lactose is broken down by an enzyme called lactase.
However, dogs often lack the lactase enzyme meaning they are not capable of fully processing the milk sugar. As a result, the consumption of milk leads to serious tummy issues – diarrhea, gassiness, abdominal pain, and cramping.
Sadly, flan contains two types of milk – sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. In other words, it is a double risk when it comes to digestive upsets.
Ingredient number 2: EGGS
The truth is, eggs are the only dog-friendly ingredient in flan. Both egg parts – the white and the yolk are safe and beneficial for dogs.
The egg white is one of the best protein sources, and proteins are the building blocks for every living cell. The egg yolk is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.
The only scenario in which the eggs are dangerous for dogs is if they were served raw. However, that is not the case with flan.
Ingredient number 3: SUGAR
Sugar and dogs are not a good combination. Just like people, most dogs love eating sugary foods. However, sugars are not part of the canine’s natural diet and, as such, can cause serious damage to the dogs’ overall health.
For easier understanding, let’s review the different consequences of overeating sugar (either too much or too often):
- Tooth decay – dogs, especially small breeds, are prone to teeth issues and premature teeth loss. Eating sugar only contributes to the problem and increases the chances of tooth decay and annual scaling at the vet’s office.
- Weight gain and obesity – the number on the scale increases fast when eating sugar and sugary foods. Obesity is not a disease on its own, but it is just as dangerous as it is a risk factor for many conditions.
- Diabetes – the most common issue stemming from irresponsible sugar consumption is diabetes. Although manageable, diabetes is a serious problem and requires medications and diet changes.
- Arthritis – almost every dog will develop arthritis at a certain point in its life. Sugar poses a dual danger – it supports weight gain, thus increasing the pressure on the joints, and it has pro-inflammatory features.
Ingredient number 4: CARAMEL
Caramel is made by mixing and melting together sugar and butter. We already covered the dangers of sugar, so let’s review butter. Butter is loaded with fats (and sadly with the bad type of fats).
Too much butter consumed at once can trigger a severe pancreatitis bout, while if consumed regularly but in small amounts, it will contribute to weight gain.
Ingredient number 5: VANILLA EXTRACT
Vanilla extract contains alcohol which, as every responsible pet parent knows, is toxic to dogs. The amount of vanilla extract in flan is not nearly enough to cause alcohol poisoning in a dog. However, it is worth knowing the hidden danger behind this seemingly innocent ingredient.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY DOG EATS FLAN?
What happens after a dog eats depends on various factors, including:
- The amount of consumed flan – small amounts of flan are unlikely to cause issues, especially if your dog is not lactose intolerant. However, eating a more significant amount is risky.
- The dog’s size – obviously, a larger dog would have to eat a much bigger slice or the entire flan to develop signs of trouble, while a smaller dog may become ill after eating a tablespoon of flan.
- The dog’s age – young puppies with sensitive tummies are more likely to develop digestive upsets than adult dogs (of the same size).
- The dog’s overall health – a healthy dog- can overcome the effects of the consumed flan more quickly, while a dog with a pre-existing condition, like diabetes, will be in severe distress.
Depending on these factors, your dog may develop a more or less severe case of tummy upset. Here is a shortlist of the clinical signs and symptoms you should watch for:
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased water intake
- Trouble concentrating.
Do not expect these signs to occur immediately after the flan-related incident. Usually, it takes a couple of hours before they become apparent.
CAN DOGS EAT CARAMEL FLAN?
No, dogs should not eat caramel flan for the same reasons they cannot eat regular flan. Namely, despite the fact that flan does not contain toxic ingredients, it is a wrong choice for dogs – it is rich in sugars, fats, and most importantly, includes milk.
There are many variations to the original recipe – some include fruity additions other different types of milk. However, not flan recipe is safe for dogs.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY DOG EATS FLAN?
If your dog ate flan, we recommend calling the veterinarian and asking for further instructions. Stay as calm as possible and explain to the vet exactly how much your dog ate.
Based on the information you provide, the veterinarian will decide whether you need to wait and see how the situation develops or rush your dog to the clinic for a more detailed evaluation.
SUMMING UP: CAN DOGS EAT FLAN?
No, dogs cannot eat flan. Luckily, if your dog manages to steal a bite or two of the flan you made, there is no need to rush to the vet’s office. However, if your dog decides to eat the entire pan, it is emergency time.
With that being said, it is more than evident that you must never give your dog flan on purpose. Even if served in small and safe amounts, the flan is nothing but an empty calorie for your dog.
If your dog has a sweet tooth (which we must admit almost all dogs have), there are other, dog-friendlier foods you can give to satisfy its cravings for sweets.