Can Dogs Eat A Little Sugar?

Can Dogs Eat A Little Sugar?

As An Amazon Associate We Earn From Qualifying Purchases At No Extra Cost To You


Sugar is just about one of the sweetest things on the planet. It is naturally occurring in some fruits, plants, vegetables and animal products such as dairy and honey. Sugar is the substance responsible for the sweetness in foods. Although its main use all over the world is that of a sweetener, it has other uses such as a bulking agent, preservative and it is used in fermentation. It is also used to soothe mouth burns from hot and spicy foods, soothe bug bites, sore throat and heal wounds. When mixed with other things, it is used to drive away pests such as wasps, nematodes and bugs. Human consumption of sugar in moderate amounts pose no health threats, let us find out if it is so for our canine friends.


Sugar should be kept away from our dogs. This is because their consumption of sugar can lead to serious health worries like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Our furry friends can consume food with naturally occurring sugars such as fruits and vegetables but added sugar should be kept away from them. Added sugar increase the chances of obesity, and chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, skin problems (dermatitis), cancer and many more. Granulated sugar (whether cube, candy, sweet or cookie) should be kept away from dogs.


Sugar is carbohydrate. When it gets into the body, it is broken down into glucose and used as fuel to provide the body with energy it needs.

  • Sugar is needed by the brain for proper functioning. The brain is the organ that consumes sugar the most in the body. It is the most energy consuming organ in the body. Sugar is the main fuel for the brain, it cannot function without it. Sugar (glucose) is needed by the brain to carry out its function such as memory, cognitive function, attention, thinking and learning. When there is glucose deficiency in the brain, there will be difficulty in concentration, poor attention and cognitive function. Loss of consciousness can also result from glucose deficiency in the brain.
  • Sugar provides energy for the muscles.
  • Sugar improves the mood. When sugar is taken, the pleasure center in the brain is activated and a hormone called dopamine is released. This hormone gives a sense of pleasure, thus improving the mood.


Added sugar (whether cube, candy, sweet or cookie) is not safe for canine consumption because it contains empty calories. They are empty calories because they do not contain any nutrient. These empty calories can lead to obesity (weight gain). Tooth decay, upset stomach, can also result if dogs take sugar.

  • OBESITY: Obesity can result if your dog takes sugar. The calories in added sugar are empty. They contain no nutrients and lead to obesity.
  • CHRONIC HEART DISEASE: Obesity can then lead to some chronic heart conditions like high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases.
  •  DENTAL PROBLEMS: When the bacteria in the mouth come in contact with sugar, they will produce acids. This can lead to cavities and if not identified and treated will lead to tooth decay.
  • DIABETES: When the insulin produced by the pancreas does not a match the volume sugar in the blood, or, the body cells have become non responsive to insulin, diabetes will result.
  • DIGESTIVE ISSUES: Consumption of granulated sugar can lead to digestive issues in your dog. Digestive worries such as diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomach can result. The diarrhea may sometimes be explosive. Abdominal pain and discomfort as well as gases can also result. 


When you find out that your dog has consumed sugar (be it candy, sweet or cookie), give your vet a call. Let your vet know what was consumed and the quantity consumed. If possible, take the label or wrapper of the item that was consumed to your vet so as to give a proper idea on how to deal with the situation.


Sugar is sweet to the taste and widely consumed by humans. It is should, however, be kept away from our canine friends as a number of health concerns can result if they consume sugar.

Dr Joshua Samuel, DVM

Samuel Joshua Oluwapelumi is a veterinary medical student in his third year of training at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is passionate about animals and animal care. He has developed a lot of interest in creating contents that help people understand their pets and how to care for them.

Back to blog

Leave a comment