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Can Dogs Eat Brown Sugar? Is Brown Sugar Safe for Dogs?

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove


Dogs can eat brown sugar, but – much like humans – they really shouldn’t. There isn’t anything toxic in brown sugar for dogs, but sugary diets are even worse for our four-legged friends than they are for us humans. Diets high in sugar lead to obesity, diabetes, and a vastly reduced lifespan in dogs, just like it does in humans. The bottom line is you should avoid giving your dog sugary treats if you want them to live a long, healthy life. Let’s talk about some of the specifics and go over some healthy snacks you can give your dog as alternatives to sugary treats.Divider 8

Should Dogs Eat Sugar?

brown sugar-pixabay
Image Credit: feelphotoz, Pixabay

We don’t want to get too much into the biological weeds, but the simplest answer is high sugar content foods lead to obesity, which stresses a body’s systems in numerous harmful ways. Sugar provides energy, and foods can be healthy even if they contain sugar. Most fruit has a large amount of sugar in it, yet fruits are often recommended as part of a well-balanced, healthy diet. What’s going on here?

When you or your pup eat foods with a lot of sugar content, that sugar will be converted to fat if you don’t use it. Modern foods have so much sugar in them that it’s easier than ever to have a significant fraction of your calories in a day come from sugar without even realizing it.

This problem is exacerbated for your dog simply because of their reduced body weight. A single sugar cookie would exceed the amount your dog should have many times over. Over time, excessive sugar intake will lead to weight gain and obesity if unchecked. Overweight dogs suffer from the same maladies that affect overweight people: diabetes, heart conditions, and joint pain.

Brown sugar might seem like an unprocessed, more natural form of sugar, but it isn’t. Both brown and white sugar is sucrose. Simply put, sugar is sugar.Divider 5

Healthy Alternatives

There are many healthy alternative snacks you can give your four-legged friend that will make them healthier while simultaneously putting a wag in their tail.

Dog Treats

Dog in Kitchen
Image Credit: Pikrepo

Walk into any pet store, and you will find an aisle dedicated solely to dog treats. Dog-specific treats can be a mixed bag since the nutritional value and safety of a snack depends on what ingredients are in it. Your vet is a great resource for finding the best, healthiest treats for your buddy. They can steer you in the right direction and make sure you aren’t buying something detrimental to your dog’s health.


pomeranian eating a sliced mango
Image Credit: PMETphotography, Shutterstock

Dogs love, well, pretty much anything you’ll give them, but fruit especially. Bananas, blueberries, and apples all make sweet snacks your pooch will go crazy for, but they also have many nutritional benefits. In moderation, fruit can be a healthy component of your dog’s diet that isn’t so bad for them.

Naturally occurring sugar is still sugar, though, so be careful not to overdo it. Small snacks go a long way to making your canine friend feel like they’re getting something without having a negative impact on their waistline.


a jack russell terrier dog eating broccoli
Image Credit: Ellina Balioz, Shutterstock

Many vegetables also make excellent snacks for dogs, and usually, they have less sugar content than fruit. Sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and parsnips are all vitamin-rich options for healthy canine snacking. They’re low calorie and crunchy, which helps with maintaining canine dental health. Other vegetables, like broccoli and leafy greens, can also be good choices but should be given sparingly to avoid stomach issues.Divider 7


Sugar is just as bad for dogs as it is for people, and it’s best simply to avoid giving any sugary treats to your dog. Obesity, diabetes, and other weight-related diseases plague overweight dogs, and it is our responsibility as pet owners to make decisions that keep them healthy.

Resisting their cutest begging attempts can pull at the heartstrings, but it is essential to stand firm if you want your pup to live a happy and healthy life. There are plenty of yummy snacks you can feed your dog instead of unhealthy sugar-laden ones. As always, seek veterinary advice before you alter your dog’s diet.

Featured image credit: GabiSanda, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is the proud mom of Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway, and Baby, a Burmese cat. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals and has experience caring for all types of dogs, from Yorkies to Great Danes. Nicole even worked as a dog sitter during her travels through South America and cared for stray pups — something she ...Read more

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