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Can Dogs Eat Starburst? What The Science Says!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Dogs Eat Starburst

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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Whether it’s Halloween candy, candy from a birthday party, or simply your guilty pleasure, one thing is for sure: you don’t want to let your dog get into it. But what does it mean if your dog eats Starburst, and what should you do?

Although you should never feed your dog Starbursts, this candy is not very harmful to dogs, and only the sugar-free version is toxic. Still, just how much is too much and when should you reach out to the vet? We’ll answer all those questions and more for you here.

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Can Dogs Eat Starbursts?

While you certainly shouldn’t feed your dog Starbursts as an afternoon snack, if your dog does happen to eat one or even two you shouldn’t need to rush them to a vet straight away.

According to Veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter1 Starbursts are generally safe for dogs in quantities less than 10 grams. And since a single Starburst weighs about 5 grams, two Starbursts shouldn’t present a huge problem.

However, since any kind of candy can present potential health problems for your dog, we highly recommend monitoring their behavior and health if they happen to eat a few Starbursts, and you should never voluntarily give them any.

But keep in mind that if your dog ate Starbursts without you giving it to them, there’s a good chance they ate the wrapper too. The wrapper presents its own problems, as sometimes the wax paper won’t break down properly and several could create an intestinal blockage.

While this is a more common issue with smaller pets, it can happen to pets of any size.

Are Starbursts Healthy for Dogs?

Starburst candy
Photo Credits: WikimediaImages, Pixabay

No! Starbursts are high in tons of ingredients that aren’t healthy for dogs. The primary reason you shouldn’t feed your dog Starburst is because of the large quantities of sugar they contain.

But while there are some sugar-free varieties of Starburst, you absolutely should not feed them to a dog. That’s because these varieties contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.

Furthermore, whether you find a sugar-filled or sugar-free variety of Starburst there’s no good reason to feed them to your dog. That’s because not only are they full of harmful ingredients, but they provide no nutritional value.

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When to Seek Medical Treatment

If your dog does happen to get into any Starburst candies, we highly recommend keeping a close eye on them to ensure they pass everything smoothly and don’t develop any adverse conditions. Common conditions include vomiting and diarrhea, which should be self-limiting.

However, if you have any concerns about what your dog has ingested or any signs they are showing we recommend you contact your veterinarian.

Healthy Treat Options for Your Dog

Dog Eating Carrots
Photo Credit: Bhitakbongse Lee, Shutterstock

While you really shouldn’t feed your dog Starbursts, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any healthy treat options for them out there. Below, we’ve highlighted three great alternatives you can feed your dog as a snack.

Just keep in mind the 90/10 rule that states that no more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet should consist of treats—no matter how healthy they are!


Carrots are a common household item that’s perfectly safe for a dog to chow down on. While you can feed your dog either raw or cooked carrots, we recommend chopping up raw carrots to a size where your pup can’t choke on them when they’re chowing down.


Whether it’s cooked or raw, broccoli is a great snack choice for dogs. Cooked broccoli is easier for a dog to digest, but either way, it’s packed full of beneficial nutrients.


While bananas are high in sugar, they’re also high in tons of other helpful nutrients. Their sweet taste means most dogs will love them, but it also means you’ll need to keep them out of reach when you’re not trying to feed them to your dog!

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Final Thoughts

While you’ll want to keep the candy bags up high to keep your dog happy and healthy, if they eat a Starburst or two, you shouldn’t need to rush them off to the vet right away. But if you’re looking to give them a treat, there are plenty of other healthy alternatives out there that will provide at least some nutritional value for your dog.

In short, keep the Starbursts away but don’t freak out too much if your dog eats one or two!

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