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Can Dogs Eat Skittles? Are Skittles Safe for Dogs?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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For a lot of us, food is about flavor, not health. Though we generally tend to feed our dogs foods that we consider to be healthy, we also want them to enjoy life, and so we like to give our dogs tasty treats from time to time. While your first thought might be that Skittles are bad for your dog, it turns out that you’re actually safe feeding your dog Skittles in small amounts.

Naturally, our dogs are interested in any food they see us eating. So, if your dog sees you eating Skittles, they’re going to want some! But how many Skittles is it safe to feed your dog? And are there any potentially harmful effects to keep an eye out for? What about other candies that dogs can eat? Let’s dive into these questions and see if we can come up with some simple answers to keep your canine safe.

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Are Skittles Safe for Dogs?

Sugar gets a bad rap, and while it’s true that it can pose some health concerns, small quantities of sugar are nothing to worry about. Your dog can safely consume sugar without any issues.

Luckily, Skittles are made up almost entirely of sugar. There aren’t many other ingredients to concern ourselves with. Since dogs are safe to eat sugar, Skittles are safe for dogs in moderate amounts.

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Credit: Slavica Stajic, Shutterstock

How Many Skittles Can Dogs Eat?

So, the question is; what’s a moderate amount? How many Skittles can your dog safely eat for a treat?

As a general rule of thumb, 10 grams of any sugary candy is the maximum you should feed your dog. Any dog that doesn’t have pre-existing health conditions should be fine with this small amount of sugar.

For Skittles, 10 grams works out to about 10 Skittles, since they weigh about a gram each. As long as you don’t feed your dog more than 10 Skittles at a time, they should be fine.

Do Skittles Benefit Your Dog?

We’ve determined that it’s safe to feed your dog up to 10 Skittles. But is there any health benefit to doing so? There are plenty of foods that aren’t exactly healthy but still offer some notable health benefits as occasional snacks.

Unfortunately, Skittles aren’t one of these foods. They don’t provide any benefits for your dog; they just taste good.

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Down Sides of Feeding Your Dog Skittles

The downside to feeding your dog skittles is the sugar. There isn’t much else in a Skittle! But dogs aren’t built to process high amounts of sugar. This is why you’ll need to feed Skittles to your dog only in moderation.

So, what problems can the sugar in Skittles cause?

To start, it can cause many dogs to have an upset stomach since their bodies just aren’t great at processing sugar.

Next, as most of us are aware, high amounts of sugar can contribute to weight gain. With obesity becoming a common occurrence in dogs, it’s important to limit behaviors that can exacerbate the problem and lead to weight gain.

Sugar can also lead to cavities in dogs just like it can in humans. But dogs don’t get the same level of teeth maintenance that we do, so sugar can be even worse for their dental health.

Finally, in extreme cases, excessive sugar intake can even lead to diabetes.

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Other Candies Your Dog Can Eat

Since Skittles are safe for your dog to eat in small quantities, you might be wondering what other candies are also safe as occasional treats for your pooch.

Most candies that are made entirely of sugar are okay for dogs in a small amount. This includes candies such as candy corn, Starbursts, Jolly Ranchers, and Smarties.

Keep in mind, not all candies are easy for your dog to eat. Harder candies like Jolly Ranchers may be safe as far as their ingredients are concerned, but can still be difficult for your dog to eat.

Candies Your Dog Should Never Eat

Though there are plenty of candies that aren’t going to hurt your dog as an occasional treat, there are still plenty of candies to stay away from. In fact, most candies aren’t a great choice for your canine, so err on the side of caution.

Chocolate is one that’s best avoided. While it may not hurt dogs if consumed in very small amounts, it is toxic for dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and worse. This means that candies such as Reese’s, Snickers, Twix, Kit Kats, and Butterfingers are all poor choices for your dog and are better eaten by you.

No matter what, avoid giving your dog any type of candy that contains xylitol, dark chocolate, or raisins. These are highly toxic and can be fatal for your dog.

Xylitol, in particular, can kill your dog, even in tiny doses. It takes very little to cause seizures, liver failure, or death. Bubble gum often contains xylitol with some brands containing as much as one gram per piece. Such high levels can cause severe hypoglycemia in a 45-pound dog with just two pieces. 10 pieces would cause liver failure, likely killing your dog.

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You might find it somewhat surprising, but as it turns out, Skittles are actually safe to feed your four-legged friend in small amounts. Remember, keep the total intake to 10 pieces or less. Consuming too many Skittles will give your dog too much sugar, which can result in some adverse health effects like cavities, weight gain, and even diabetes in the worst case.

And while Skittles might not kill your dog, other candies definitely can. Stay away from any candy containing Xylitol such as bubble gum. These candies can kill your dog with just a few pieces.

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Featured Image Credit – Left: boitano, Shutterstock, Right: Pixabay

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