Can Dogs Eat Starburst? (Answered)

As you’re reading this article, you might be wondering if Starburst is safe for your dog. If that’s the case, someone probably fed it to your pet or you left a bag of candy within reach, and you’re panicking right now. Fortunately, this article will keep you informed. So, can dogs eat Starburst?

While Starburst may seem harmless due to its softness, small size, and sweet taste, it can incur various effects on dogs. In detail, a dog can get pains, discomfort, and an upset stomach from eating Starburst. If your dog ate a lot, a vet consultation would be safe and beneficial; however, if your dog only consumed a little, you can do remedies to medicate your pet at home. Read further for more details.

What is Starburst?

Manufactured by a well-known company, Starburst is a popular candy among children. Due to the candy’s soft texture, chewiness, bite-sized shape, and sweet taste, it became a delicacy for many. Hence, it has become an indispensable reward at parties, trick-or-treats, and other activities.

Since the production of Starburst in 1960, the ingredients haven’t had a significant change. It is also important to note that some variations in the ingredients may exist depending on the nation being distributed to. Namely, the US and other countries, which use non-vegan components, whereas the UK utilizes a natural gelatin mix. However, the typical ingredients exist in both, including fruit juices, sugar, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, and many more.

What Makes Starburst Harmful For Dogs?

Unlike other commercial or home-made candies, Starburst has ingredients that can interfere with a dog’s metabolism and trigger bodily reactions. In detail, while other candies use fruits for flavoring, Starburst mixes artificial flavorings, citric acid, and a hefty dose of sugar. Moreover, absorbing the sticky compound might be detrimental to a dog’s system; thus, resulting in further complications.

Considering these facts, the high amount of sugar combined with other sweeteners can cause bowel irregularities in dogs. Furthermore, your furry friend might suffer higher blood sugar. Although younger dogs can overcome this, older dogs will have a tougher time. This is due to the fact that their organs and overall health are not as resilient as they used to be.

How Much Starburst Is Dangerous For Your Dog

Starburst Is Dangerous For Your Dog

Many candies shouldn’t, at all costs, be ingested by dogs due to the adverse effects that they can inflict on your pet. However, the effects of Starburst depend on the amount ingested by your dog. Hence, if your furry friend consumed a whole pack, it would be safer to visit the vet as soon as possible. Although, if only a small amount was consumed, then there’s no need for a rushed doctor’s appointment.

Apart from the candy itself, the wrapper can be a cause for concern. In this case, even if your dog only ate a few, it would be safer to visit your veterinarian for treatment and advice.

Possible side effects of dogs eating starburst

After your dog consumes a handful of Starburst, you might notice the following changes and side effects:


Depending on the amount of Starburst consumed, your dog might feel mild to intense pain. Small amounts will result in silent whining, growling, and other subtle actions. You will also notice your dog being lethargic and eating less. 

On the other hand, if your dog ate a large amount, the cries you might hear are louder. Moreover, your pet might be hostile; touching your pet might incur an angry response from them. Aside from that, your dog might show signs of shallow breathing, palpitation, and refusal to move. If all these signs show up, visit the vet and make sure your dog is comfortable during transport.


Besides the obvious pain, your dog might show signs of uneasiness after consuming Starburst. This is due to higher blood pressure from the high amounts of acid and sweetener in the candy. Hence, your dog might start moving around a lot.

However, the uneasiness is not the only cause of frequent movement. Sometimes, your pet might be feeling foreign sensations on their body, so they move around to make the necessary adjustments to achieve relief.

Loss of Appetite

Since sweets typically affect the appetite, a dog consuming Starburst can lead to less interest in food. Besides that, your dog might be hurting already, so it doesn’t eat to prevent aggravating the pain in its stomach.

Going back to how sweets affect the appetite, owners should be responsible for ensuring that their pets avoid ingesting sweet food with adverse effects. Aside from the appetite, sweets can interfere with a dog’s normal stomach function. Moreover, feeding your dog sweets increases the risk of your dog ingesting chocolate, raisins, or anything with xylitol, which are deadly to dogs.

Upset Stomach

Unlike similar sweets, Starbust can have a stronger effect on your dog’s stomach. As such, your pet might feel irregularities on the tummy that can cause slow digestion and slow bowel movement. While constipation can happen due to loss of appetite, there are cases where dogs experience diarrhea from too much sugar intake. With this in mind, if your dog ate too many Starburst, you need to expect your pal to experience frequent toilet trips.

Since most of the ingredients of Starburst are artificial, combined with large concentrations of different acids and juices, it can be unsuitable for a dog’s stomach. While children can digest it without problems, a dog’s more sensitive stomach might encounter difficulties.

Life at Stake

Although the most common effect of Starburst on dogs is only uneasiness, it should never be the reason to feed them the candy. While it’s not as dangerous as chocolates, it can still cause fatality in the worst cases.

However, if you think your dog accidentally ate this candy outside of your supervision, then it would be highly advisable to stay calm. First, verify if it really is Starburst, then check the amount, and, if everything is confirmed, visit the vet if necessary.

What to Do When a Dog Ingests Starburst

dog ingested starburst

If your dog ate Starburst, the following are things you can do:

Understand and Decide

After your dog eats Starburst, it’s best to remain calm. Understanding the situation before anything else will be more effective than rushing to seek home remedies.

If you think your pet ate the candy, the best thing to focus on is the circumstances that lead to that happening. Ask yourself: When did it happen? How much was consumed? Were wrappers ingested as well? Additionally, it is advisable to consider your dog’s present status. Check if your dog is feeling pain, lethargic, has intense bowel irregularities, and other signs and symptoms.

Consult a Vet

As aforementioned, if anything concerning happens to your dog from eating Starburst, then it’s time to visit the vet. While time might tempt you to delay things, if you feel like your pet needs medical attention, driving to the nearest vet would be the best option.

If you’re sure that your dog is fine or doesn’t show any symptoms, then it’s up to you if you want to wait it out. Also, if it’s been many hours since your pet consumed Starburst and nothing has happened, your pet might have only eaten a small amount and has already excreted it. However, if you want to be safe, consulting a vet would be advantageous.

Keep the Starburst Away

Since you already know the consequences of feeding Starburst to dogs, it would be best to keep the candy away from them. By doing so, not only will you save yourself from expensive vet fees, but also you’ll ensure the safety of your beloved pal.

If your dog is smart, you can keep the Starburst in elevated places, cabinets, or inside other rooms. By doing this, your pet won’t have to suffer from the mentioned side effects since the candy is out of reach.

What to Feed Your Dog Instead

After learning the answer to the question, “can dogs eat Starburst?”, you’re likely wondering what treats to feed your pet instead. Below, you’ll learn about some excellent and healthier alternatives:

  • Bananas. Bananas are an ideal alternative as a sweet treat for your dog. Moreover, its softness and seedlessness make feeding it to your dog a breeze. 
  • Strawberries. If you’re looking for bite-sized treats as an alternative to candies, then strawberries are the closest thing you can get. Not only are these little fruits delicious, but also they’re rich in Vitamin C.
  • Cheese. Giving tiny bits of cheese to your dog can open up their appetite for the main food. However, it would help if you stay away from unripe and soft cheese as these variants can cause diarrhea.
  • Watermelons. A watermelon is an excellent option since, aside from being a yummy treat, it’s also filled with water. Additionally, the same fruit contains Vitamins A, B-6, C, and Potassium.
  • Home-Made Biscuits. If your dog likes crunchy food, you can bake healthy biscuits in your kitchen. By doing so, you’ll save more, provide your dog with treats, and ensure the meals are safe and nutritious.


Can dogs eat Starburst? No, they can’t. Although it can vary in severity, the candy still incurs negative effects on your dog’s health, more so when large quantities are ingested. Hence, it would be better to settle for safer and healthier alternatives.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!