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Can Dogs Eat Gushers? Vet-Reviewed Health Concerns

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

gummy bears

Vet approved

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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We all have our favorite candy; for some, it’s a gummy treat with a surprising gush of juice. If Gushers are your go-to sweet, you might wonder if sharing them with your dog is okay. Sadly, the answer is no; dogs should not eat Gushers. They are unhealthy for our canine friends, and some versions of the candy may even be toxic.

Stealing the occasional Gusher probably won’t hurt most dogs, but adverse reactions may occur from overindulging. We’ll review those issues in this article and suggest some alternative snacks to help satisfy your dog’s sweet tooth.

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The Trouble with Gushers

The trouble with Gushers is the same issue that plagues all candies: too much sugar. You probably know that consuming excessive sugar isn’t healthy for humans, and the same is true for your dog. Healthy dogs may be able to handle eating a Gusher now and then, but eating too many can cause numerous health problems.

In the short term, eating too much sugar could upset your dog’s stomach, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and pain. Potential long-term consequences of overconsumption include pancreatitis and obesity, which can increase their risk of developing diabetes. Dogs already overweight or suffering from chronic health conditions should be especially careful to avoid eating Gushers and other candies.

Gummy fruit candies, fruit snacks
Image Credit: Alexandra Lande, Shutterstock

Sugar Is Bad, but Sugar-Free Could Be Toxic

Yes, eating too much sugar is bad for your dog, but don’t try to solve the problem by sneaking them sugar-free candies instead. Xylitol, a commonly used alternative sweetener, is highly toxic to dogs. It sometimes appears on ingredients lists as birch sugar, wood sugar, or E967.

Currently, there are no varieties of Gushers that contain xylitol, but it is something that should always be on your mind if your dog manages to sneak some of your candy. If you purchase sugar-free candy for yourself, check the ingredients to see if they contain xylitol. If so, never feed them to your dog, and be extra careful to store them out of your pet’s reach.

Ingesting gum or candy that contains xylitol can cause a life-threatening drop in your dog’s blood sugar levels in as little as 10 minutes. Xylitol ingestion can also cause liver failure.If your dog has eaten anything containing xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately; by the time they start to show signs of illness, it may already be too late.

Safe Sweet Treats for Dogs

Dogs may not have as many sweet taste receptors as humans, but they do enjoy sweet flavors. Instead of feeding your dog Gushers or other foods with processed sugar, why not satisfy their sweet tooth with safe fruit treats instead?

Keep in mind that eating too much natural sugar can still cause health issues, so feed fruit in moderation only. Compared to Gushers, which are almost 50% sugar, most fruits tend to contain between 6-14% sugar; not ideal, but much healthier than candy!

Even so, treats should only make up about 10% of your dog’s total daily calories. Here are some safe fruits you can offer your dog:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Berries
  • Melon
  • Oranges

Never feed your dog grapes or raisins as they are toxic to dogs. Also, avoid feeding avocado or unripe tomato to your dog. While these fruits don’t pose a high risk of toxicity, they can still cause some nasty gastrointestinal effects.

Labrador retriever dog eats with an appetite watermelon from hands
Image Credit: invisible invisible, Shutterstock

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Unless they contain xylitol, Gushers aren’t toxic to dogs, so don’t panic if your canine friend manages to steal one or two. However, you shouldn’t deliberately feed them to your pet. Sugary foods like Gushers are unhealthy for your dog. They’re technically not healthy for us either, but we can choose what we eat; our dogs rely on us to make healthy choices for them. If your dog eats a nutritionally balanced diet, they shouldn’t need to eat anything extra to stay healthy. However, most dogs enjoy treats, so consider offering one or more of the safe fruits we listed as a snack instead of Gushers.

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Featured Image Credit: Pikist

Elizabeth Gray

Authored by

Elizabeth Gray is a lifelong lover of all creatures great and small. She got her first cat at 5 years old and at 14, she started working for her local veterinarian. Elizabeth spent more than 20 years working as a veterinary nurse before stepping away to become a stay-at-home parent to her daughter. Now, she is excited to share her hard-earned knowledge (literally–she has scars) with our readers. Elizabeth lives in Iowa ...Read more

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