Sour Patch Kids make a tempting treat for dogs who like to share your snacks. Your dog may beg and plead for one, but can they eat them safely? The answer is technically yes; dogs can eat Sour Patch Kids, as they are not toxic, but they’re certainly not good for them. Sour Patch Kids aren’t unsafe for dogs (unlike some sweets containing xylitol), but they can still cause problems if too many are eaten.
What are Sour Patch Kids?
Sour Patch Kids are gummy candies made primarily from sugar. The insides of the candy are soft and chewy with a sweet flavor, and the outside is coated in a sour crystal coating. These sweets are shaped to resemble little dolls, giving them their names.
Sour Patch Kids come in different flavors ranging from fruity to extremely sour, and pack sizes range from a single bag to multiple-pound mixes. There are also other versions of the candy, with some having different shapes or ingredients.
What Are Sour Patch Kids Made From?
Sour Patch Kids contain several ingredients, depending on the flavor and type. However, the most common ingredients are mostly the same and are made from corn syrup, sugar, glucose, artificial colors, and stabilizing ingredients such as citric acid.
Are Sour Patch Kids Healthy for Dogs?
Sour Patch Kids are not healthy for dogs in any way. While they might be tasty and unlikely to harm dogs if eaten in small amounts, they don’t contain any nutritious ingredients and can be harmful if more than a few are eaten. Breaking down the ingredients found in Sour Patch Kids, we can see how each affects your dog:
Main Ingredients in Sour Patch Kids
The effects of too much sugar are well-known in dogs. Excess sugar can lead to obesity, which can have far-reaching effects on the body.
Obesity reduces a dog’s quality of life dramatically. Obese dogs suffer from reduced mobility and often have pain associated with increased pressure on joints, swelling, and even damage to the joints causing arthritis. Obesity can make self-grooming difficult and can stop them from performing natural behaviors such as running and digging. Obesity has also been shown in studies to reduce dogs’ lifespans directly, sometimes dramatically.
Corn syrup is made from cornstarch and glucose. While it’s not toxic to dogs, it’s a sugar that can also result in excess calories leading to obesity. In addition, too much corn syrup can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
Citric acid is okay for dogs in small amounts, and it’s often used in pet food to preserve the ingredients and increase shelf life. However, large amounts of citric acid can be toxic to dogs. In large doses, citric acid can have adverse effects on a dog’s gastrointestinal and nervous system:
- Gastrointestinal problems caused by excess citric acid include vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal cramps.
- Nervous system signs include central nervous system (CNS) depression, which can make dogs lethargic and sleepy, impaired gait, incoordination, and collapse.
The artificial colors and flavors in Sour Patch Kids have yet to be as thoroughly tested on dogs as on humans, so it’s best to avoid them entirely as we don’t know the potential effects.
Do Sour Patch Kids Contain Xylitol?
Most Sour Patch Kids candies don’t contain xylitol, making them safe (but not healthy) for dogs to eat. However, one type of Sour Patch Kids chewing gum does contain xylitol, as do many sugar-free chewing gums. Xylitol is incredibly toxic to dogs, and even a tiny amount can cause severe illness or death depending on the size of your dog. Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Ataxia (wobbling gait)
Never give your dog any sweet containing xylitol, including the Sour Patch Kids sugar-free chewing gum.
What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Sour Patch Kids?
If you come in to find your dog has eaten a few Sour Patch Kids, it’s unlikely to cause any problems. Keeping a close eye on them and watching for any signs of illness is the best course of action, as well as keeping them out of reach in the future.
However, if your dog manages to eat quite a lot including the packets, it’s best to contact your vet to explain and get their advice, as adverse effects are more likely. Explain the ingredients if you can and tell the vet how many your dog has eaten, as they might need veterinary treatment if they begin to show signs of illness. Observe your dog and watch for adverse effects, including:
- Stomach Cramps
Your vet can advise you on your next steps and possible treatment.
Are Sour Patch Kids OK for Dogs With Diabetes?
If a dog is diabetic, any amount of sugar can be very dangerous. Dogs with diabetes cannot control the amount of sugar circulating in their blood; if a diabetic dog eats even a small amount of Sour Patch Kids, contact your vet immediately. Don’t allow your dog any Sour Patch Kids at all if they are diabetic, as the excessive sugar content they contain can cause hyperglycemia in any dog but could be dangerous to dogs with diabetes. If a diabetic dog eats to much sugar, it can cause:
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst
What Can I Give My Dog Instead of Sour Patch Kids?
If you want to give your dog a sweet treat, there are some much healthier and more nutritious options than Sour Patch Kids available that are still tasty:
- Carrots are a sweet and healthy treat for dogs, as they are rich in vitamin A, which is great for supporting a healthy immune system, skin, coat, and eyes. They can be chopped and given fresh or frozen for a healthy, edible chew toy!
- Berries like blueberries and raspberries are sweet and tasty, providing a healthy source of antioxidants and fiber. These juicy berries also provide your dog with vitamins C and K to help support its immune system.
- Melons, such as cantaloupe, is another sweet alternative to Sour Patch Kids. It is tasty and contains a large amount of water which can provide great rehydration. Melon also contains antioxidants, fiber, and selenium.
Sour Patch Kids are a tangy candy that people commonly enjoy, but we know they aren’t healthy for us. The same is true for our dogs; one or two Sour Patch Kids won’t cause harm to our pups but won’t give them any nutritional benefit, either. Too many Sour Patch Kids can cause harm, however.
They shouldn’t ever be given to dogs that are diabetic, as excessive sugar can be very dangerous for them. Instead, try carrots or berries if you want to give your dog a candy-sweet treat that’s healthier for them; these can satisfy that sweet craving while providing health benefits too!