Children love these chewy and sweet snacks. Twizzlers have been their snack of choice for years. Do you know what else goes with children? Dogs. Which leads to the question, Can dogs eat twizzlers?
Chances are if you have a child, you also have a dog or two running around the house. As man’s best friend, these fur babies are often the designated playmates of children in numerous households. If you let your children eat Twizzlers, they probably feed it to your dogs as well. If they don’t, the pieces of the candy that fall to the ground are bound to be eaten by their canine playmates.
Can Dogs Eat Twizzlers?
The straight and simple answer is yes. Dogs can and have eaten Twizzlers before. However, this does not mean you should them to your pup. Excess amounts of sugar from Twizzlers, or any other candy, can cause health related problem for your furry friend. So while dogs can eat Twizzlers, it is not recommended.
Is Twizzlers Safe for Dogs?
There has not yet been any documented case of a dog suffering immediate harm from ingesting Twizzlers. However, although the candies are not toxic or poisonous, their high sugar content will eventually take a toll on a dog’s dental and overall health.
Sugar is not inherently harmful to dogs, but giving them too much may lead to obesity or even diabetes. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), dogs may get diabetes anywhere from four to fourteen years of age, and that female dogs are twice as often to be diagnosed with it than males.
Identifying the Type of Twizzler, its Ingredients, and Effects
There are two varieties of the candy; the strawberry Twizzlers and the licorice Twizzlers. According to their label, both strawberry and licorice Twizzlers contain corn, wheat, and dyes — known and common allergens for canines.
Twizzlers are also very heavy calorie-wise. The average 50-pound dog needs to consume approximately 700 to 900 calories daily. According to the Pet Nutrition Alliance (PNA), a dog’s treats should not exceed 10% of their daily caloric intake. Three pieces of Twizzlers already add up to 120 calories; more than 10% of the daily recommended intake.
One more ingredient to look out for is citric acid. The product label does not specify the amount, but just that it is there. Even if we assume that the acid’s presence is minimal, it is already a known irritant for dogs. Thus, it may cause vomiting and distress if the dog eats too much.
The licorice Twizzler has ingredients similar to the strawberry variant. However, it contains two ingredients that are not found in the aforementioned — artificial color Blue 1 and licorice extract. While both of these are irritants, the latter is much more dangerous.
Licorice extract contains the chemical glycyrrhizin, and although the chemical is commonly found in nature, there is no guarantee of safety for both dogs and humans. Moreover, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already issued a warning on its website about it.
Furthermore, eating too much of the licorice Twizzler is known to cause some imbalance in a body’s level of potassium. This imbalance will then cause congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat, as well as liver damage.
Checking Your Canine For Diabetes
Since most dogs are diagnosed years after they get the disease, it is imperative to understand the early signs of diabetes. If you have been feeding your dog Twizzlers or other candies, check for these signs;
- Increased urination and abnormally high water intake
- A sudden decrease in weight despite an increased appetite
- A sudden decrease in appetite
- Cloudy or smudged eyes
- Recurring infections (particularly skin and urinary infections)
Diagnosing a dog for diabetes can be done through a test for glucose in the blood and urine. Keep in mind that middle-aged and senior dogs are at the highest risk for the disease. A dog with diabetes is prone to a multitude of complications such as infections, hyperadrenocorticism, hyperthyroidism, renal and liver insufficiency, cardiac insufficiency, pancreatitis, and hyperlipidemia among others.
Treating diabetes in canines is similar to that in humans. However, it is strongly recommended to seek advice from your veterinarian. This is because different insulin products vary in their onset, duration, and peak.
Can Twizzlers Kill Dogs?
Twizzlers will not kill your dog. As previously stated, there is no record of canine deaths ever being caused by sugary snacks. If you ever find yourself in a situation where your dog has ransacked your child’s food supply and ate a bag of Twizzlers, you need not worry about the candy killing your canine.
However, since dogs are not naturally accustomed to ingesting large amounts of candy such as Twizzlers, expect your dog to experience vomiting, diarrhea, or mild gastrointestinal distress. If your dog has a specific history concerning its diet, you may want to contact your veterinarian for advice.
What Candy Can Dogs Eat Instead Of Twizzlers?
Identifying which treats or candies are harmful and which are not is key to keeping your dog healthy. Not all candies contain the same kinds of ingredients. Certain ingredients are toxic to your dog. The following are candies that are safe in small quantities — less than 10 grams.
- Candy corn
- Sour candy
- Blow Pops
- Jolly Ranchers
Some candies or treats are unsafe no matter how small the quantity is. Listed below are candies that are considered toxic for dogs.
- Dark chocolates (especially for smaller dog breeds)
- Bubble gums that contain Xylitol
- Other ‘sugar-free’ candies sweetened by Xylitol
Understanding Why Xylitol is Dangerous
It is used as an artificial sweetener in a lot of products nowadays. Those labeled ‘sugar-free’ or ‘low calorie’ are more likely to contain this ingredient than others. It is highly toxic to dogs and cats and may lead to liver failure, seizures, and/ or low blood sugar.
The Dangers of Chocolate, Milk Versus Dark
Chocolate contains Theobromine, a bitter alkaloid found within the cacao plant. The darkness of chocolate is directly proportional to the amount of theobromine it contains. Therefore, darker chocolates are much more toxic to dogs than their lighter-colored cousins.
Having said that, this does not mean that milk chocolates are fine treats for your dogs. They still contain theobromine, as well as a higher amount of sugar. Different dog breeds will react differently to chocolates but the general rule is to refrain from feeding chocolates to dogs.
Command symptoms of chocolate toxicity are:
- Elevated Heart Rate
Alternative Treats to Twizzlers Dogs May Consume
- Vegetables – the natural sugars contained within make them the superior choice of treat for canines. Examples of these are baby carrots, green beans, and potato slices.
- Fruits – Most fruits contain natural sugar that is also exponentially better than those found in candies. However, grapes are an exception because they contain substances that are toxic to canines.
- Peanut Butter and Yogurt – These treats contain Vitamins B and E, healthy fats, and protein. Yogurt will provide calcium for the bones and live good bacteria for the gut. Keep in mind that some yogurt products may contain artificial sweeteners. As such, read the label carefully before deciding to purchase one for your dog.
Controlling Your Dog’s Sweet Tooth
Dogs are known to love the same kinds of food that humans do. Despite having only a fifth of the number of taste buds humans have (1,500 to 2,000 compared to 10,000). This smaller amount of taste buds, according to animal nutritionist Lindsey Bullen, DVM, DACVN, also means that they have a weaker sensitivity to taste.
In spite of this, dogs tend to gravitate towards sweet and salty food. As such, if you spoil your dog with a specific type of food, it will keep craving for it. This goes for Twizzlers as well. If your dog has grown accustomed to being fed/ eating Twizzlers, your dog will refuse to eat anything but it.
If and when your dog develops an addiction to sweets such as Twizzlers, you will have to make him adjust by gradually changing his treats. You may opt to feed your dog strips of meat as a healthier alternative. According to the American Kennel Club, the palatability of food for dogs will increase when heated to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help your dog escape his sugary addiction.
You may also want to try switching your dog into a human-grade diet. This means feeding your dog what you eat on a regular basis. An example of this would be feeding them real meat for proteins, fruits for their sweet tooth, and peanut butter for the fat.
We have tackled everything from Twizzler flavors and their ingredients, why sugar and other food are bad for dogs, as well as the healthier alternatives. Taking into account the information provided thus far, we conclude that while Twizzlers are not lethal to dogs, it would be inadvisable to feed it to them due to the health complications that may arise from the candy’s ingredients.
Canines aside, you should probably limit the amount of Twizzlers your child or children are eating, too. This is because, despite its relatively safe nature for humans, moderation is always key.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
My Dog Ate a Twizzler. Will They Be Ok?
Your dog will be ok. Under extreme circumstances, your dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal issues for a short period. This is only likely if your dog has eaten a whole bag of Twizzlers. Just make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water and clean your pups vomit up quickly, so they do not try and reingest it; Causing further issues.