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Can Dogs Eat Cupcakes? How Bad Are They?

Keri-Beth Clur

By Keri-Beth Clur

Can Dogs Eat Cupcakes

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Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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When birthdays or the festive season fast approaches us there is always much excitement in the air—as well as gift giving and plenty of food for the whole family to enjoy. Of course, your dog is also a valued part of the family and should feel just as included. However, as the treats and cupcakes roll out, you may wonder what is safe for your dog to eat and what isn’t. Dogs can eat cupcakes that don’t contain chocolate, but they shouldn’t.

As much as cupcakes won’t send your dog to the emergency room, they aren’t healthy for them and are better avoided. In this article, we’ll address why dogs shouldn’t be given cupcakes and what alternatives are available to make them feel a part of the celebrations.

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Unhealthy Ingredients in Cupcakes

When a human indulges in too many cupcakes too frequently, they can put on weight due to the high saturated fat content and sugar content. It can raise their cholesterol level and can even cause heart-related problems. If cupcakes are bad for humans, they’re even worse for dogs who have different nutritional needs from humans.

Cupcakes are so unhealthy for dogs because they contain a lot of sugar. They’re not toxic or life-threatening, but they can definitely have an effect on a dog’s health in the long run.

Below are a few outcomes sugar can have on your pooch:

  • An upset stomach: Too much sugar upsets the balance inside of your dog’s gut and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and pain. Your dog may even experience diarrhea or vomiting. However, it should resolve on its own.
  • Weight gain: Too much sugar can cause weight gain, regardless of the species. The serious problem with being overweight is the stress that the weight puts on the joints of an animal or person. It can also cause metabolic changes in your dog’s body, which puts them at risk for diabetes. This disease affects your dog’s whole body and will need to be managed closely.
  • Bad dental health: Including sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to dental issues. The combination of salvia, bacteria, and leftover sugar particles leads to plaque which leads to cavities.

Can Certain Cupcakes Be Toxic to Dogs?

As bad as the sugar inside of a cupcake can be for your dog, it isn’t immediately toxic. However, this isn’t the case with all cupcakes, which is another reason you should avoid giving your dog this treat entirely.

As delicious as chocolate cupcakes are to humans, they are toxic to dogs because chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. These two components can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Unfortunately, it can cause even worse symptoms, such as cardiac arrhythmias, loss of muscle control, tremors, seizures, and heart failure.

However, a dangerous cupcake for your dog may not always look as suspecting as a chocolate one does. Some cupcakes are made with the use of an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which is also toxic to dogs. Xylitol can cause vomiting in your dog and a drop in blood sugar levels which can result in seizures.

If your dog got hold of a cupcake containing chocolate or xylitol, you should take them to the vet with urgency. Not showing any symptoms right away isn’t an indication that all is fine because sometimes, these serious symptoms take several hours to outwardly affect your dog.


Can Dogs Taste Sweet Things?

Although cats can’t taste the sweetness of treats, dogs can because they have 1,700 taste buds that tell them when something is sweet, sour, salty, or bitter. Dogs aren’t the biggest fans of bitter or sour-tasting foods, but they do tend to enjoy sweet things.

Remember that man-made treats aren’t the only things that are sweet—fruits and vegetables are too. Your dog will enjoy a dog-safe fruit or vegetable the same way they’ll enjoy a cupcake, except that the fruit or vegetable will be safer and healthier for them when given in moderation.

You can get creative with certain fruits and vegetables by chopping them up into bite-sized treats and keeping them in the freezer, which makes an excellent refreshing treat on a hot day.

german shepherd dog licking his nose
Photo Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

What Are Pupcakes?

If you don’t want your pup to miss out on any of the fun and want to give them a cupcake to eat, you could consider a dog-friendly alternative called a pupcake. Pupcakes are cupcakes that are made with dog-safe ingredients such as banana and peanut butter.

Pupcakes are pretty easy to make because they use only a few ingredients. They can also be made into smaller sizes which is better for portion control, or you can cut larger ones in half. They usually don’t contain dairy and can stay fresh for days if kept in the refrigerator.

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Cupcakes aren’t toxic to dogs, but they also aren’t a healthy treat because of the high sugar content found in them. Too much sugar in your dog’s diet can cause weight gain, an upset stomach, and bad dental health. Better treat alternatives are pupcakes, fruits, or vegetables. Some types of cupcakes, such as ones with chocolate or the artificial sweetener xylitol, are toxic to dogs and should be avoided entirely. If your dog has eaten a cupcake containing these ingredients, urgently take your dog to the vet.

Featured Photo Credit: LAWJR, Pixabay

Keri-Beth Clur

Authored by

Keri-Beth is from South Africa and is a freelance writer who specializes in the pet niche. She has grown up with a range of pets, volunteered at countless pet shelters, and is highly passionate about pet care. Currently, Keri-Beth is raising two dogs - Benji, the Golden Cocker Spaniel, and Gracie, the Boerboel. With so much information out there, Keri-Beth has made it her mission to make pet care as easy and straightforwa...Read more

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