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Can Dogs Eat Cake? Vet Approved Health Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Dog Eat cake

Vet approved

Dr. Maja Platisa Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maja Platisa

In-House Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We have all seen those adorable videos taken on a dog’s birthday when they are wearing a birthday hat and have a cake in front of them to enjoy. However, we doubt that many people have thought about what is in that cake and whether it is a good thing for a dog to be eating.

Cake is a dessert that is part of many holidays and celebrations. There are many different kinds of cake, including chocolate, vanilla, coffee, fruit cake, and sponge cake. Should your dog be enjoying these tasty treats with you? Nope! Cake is not safe for dogs.

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Should Dogs Eat Cake?

The short answer is NO. Your dog should not eat cake. It is very unhealthy for your pup to eat any kind of human cake. Some cakes can even be dangerous for your dog to indulge in. For example, any sort of chocolate is toxic for your pup.

Image credit: Pixabay

Even if the cake isn’t chocolate, most of the ingredients are harmful to your dog to ingest and can quickly lead to either acute poisoning or sometimes longer lasting health issues. Crumbs from leftover cake that end up on the floor might be okay every once in a while, but serving up a whole slice for your pup is dangerous.
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Negative Aspects of Feeding Your Dog Birthday Cake

There are quite a few ingredients in a cake that make it unhealthy for your dog to eat. Overall, there is no benefit that cake brings to your dog’s diet. Even if there are fruity additions that might independently be better for your pup, those aren’t enough to negate all the negatives. Plus some fruits are actually quite toxic for dogs, even in very small amounts, such as grapes.

Sugar Content

The sugar content alone in the cake should be enough to stop you from serving it to your pup. In the short term, the amount of sugar in a cake can quickly overload your dog’s digestive system and make them feel sickly and nauseated. They might even show signs of a stomach upset, with vomiting or diarrhea. There are also often a lot of fat content and calories in cakes, which may lead to weight gain.

spanish water dog sitting on wooded floor licking its mouth
Image Credit: eva_blanco, Shutterstock

In the long term, a cake with high sugar content can have profoundly adverse effects. These will be even more prominent if you consistently give your dog cake or sweet things as their treats. Recognized health issues in humans due to unhealthy weight gain to the point of obesity, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease cannot be directly extrapolated to dogs. Their metabolism is different from ours, and at the moment, there isn’t sufficient research that confirms the link between excess dietary sugar in dogs and mentioned health disorders. There seems to be a connection between obesity and reduced sensitivity to insulin, but the significance of this actually leading to diabetes in dogs remains unknown. Still, obese dogs will have a lower quality of life and may struggle more with mobility.

Some also link excess sugar to dental cavities in dogs, but there are many other factors involved and this is not as common as in people. Dogs’ dietary intake of sugar is much lower than ours. However, by overeating too much sugar long term, a dog can also possibly experience negative impacts on their dental health.


Most cake is made with flour as the base for fluffiness and substance. However, typical flour sources come from wheat, which contains a fairly high amount of gluten. Some dogs may be allergic to wheat, although more common food allergens include dairy, beef, and eggs. Eating it in such a large portion can have lasting and painful effects on their digestive system. Border Terriers are particularly sensitive to gluten, developing a condition called paroxysmal dyskinesia.

The majority of dogs can eat gluten just fine, and this is a common ingredient in some dog foods. Eggs are also a common ingredient in cakes, which may cause stomach upset in dogs allergic to eggs.

sad dog on floor
Image credit: Fran__, Pixabay

Potential Toxic Ingredients

Beyond the two primary ingredients of sugar and flour in a cake, there are other additions that can make cake a toxic addition to your pup’s diet.

Chocolate is always toxic to your pup and if eaten in large enough quantities, is enough to cause serious adverse effects to their heart, nervous system, and kidneys. It may even be life-threatening. Many people love a good chocolate cake, but they shouldn’t share it with their dogs. If your dog has eaten any amount of any type of chocolate, contact your vet immediately, who can advise you if this amount is toxic for your pooch and whether they need prompt treatment.

Other ingredients that are commonly added to cake and will put your dog in danger include:
  • Coffee
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla extract
  • Candy

All of these ingredients are harmful for dogs. Even if you want to indulge those sad puppy eyes from your dog, know that you are protecting them by not letting them have any cake at all.

“Free From” Is Not Necessarily a Good Solution

There are now gluten-free and sugar-free ingredients, but even if they have been proven safe for humans, dogs are still at risk.

One of the most common replacements for sugar is xylitol. This is a natural sugar substitute that is low-calorie and favored by many humans trying to eat healthier. However, it is incredibly toxic for your pup and can cause them to experience weakness, coma, and even seizures, leading to death.

rottweiler dog eating empty food bowl
Image credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

Types of Cake That You Can Make for Your Dog

If you still want to give your dog a cake for their birthday, then consider giving them a cake made especially for pups instead.

You can make your own dog cake if you want to keep track of what your dog is eating. You can also purchase boxes of ready-mix to make that special dog cake.

It is still a good idea to look through the ingredients of what such a cake contains, of course, but you will have a better chance of finding a healthier substitute that won’t put your dog in danger.

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Final Thoughts

It is important to avoid giving your dog any kind of cake. If the cake has chocolate, coffee, or a sweetener in it, keep it away from where they might sneak a bite. If you really want your dog to enjoy a treat, buy them a dog cake mix or make your own that only contains ingredients that are good for them.

See Also:

Featured image credit: yadetzy0, Pixabay

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