Skip to Content

Can Dogs Eat Red Velvet Cake?

Does your dog look at you with soulful, starving eyes while you enjoy your slice of red velvet cake? You know the look, right? And sometimes, try as we might not to (because we know lots of human food isn’t good for dogs), we do give in and feed our furry four-legged friends a bite or two of human food. 

If you’ve fed your dog a bite of your red velvet cake, should you worry? What if your dog devoured the whole red velvet cake you just baked and assembled while you turned your back for a few minutes? Should you worry then? 

So if you’ve ever wondered if dogs can safely eat red velvet cake, we’ve got the answer for you. 

Can Dogs Eat Red Velvet Cake?

Dogs shouldn’t eat red velvet cake because many of the ingredients in the famous red cake are unhealthy and even dangerous for them. Red velvet cake ingredients like sugar, cocoa powder, butter, cake flour, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, food coloring, and the cream cheese frosting can cause digestive discomfort, obesity, bloat, vomiting, diarrhea, and other adverse symptoms for your dog.  

Red Velvet Cake Ingredients That Are Harmful to Your Dog 

If you want to treat your dog, you can make them a dog-friendly red velvet cake. For now, however, let’s look at the ingredients in a red velvet cake for humans and how these are unhealthy for your pooch. 

  • Red Food Coloring 

The red food coloring you use in your red velvet cake to give it its distinctive crimson color may be safe for your dog, but it may also not be. 

Food coloring made from natural ingredients like beets or raspberries is safe for your dog, as is FDA-approved colors. 

But artificial food dyes or coloring can cause an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, or seizures. Plus, if your doggo is allergic to food dyes, they may have a severe allergic reaction. It’s rare for a dog to be allergic to food coloring, but you never know.   

  • Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is highly toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine. In 1 gram of cacao powder, there’s as much as 26 milligrams of theobromine. And for a small dog that weighs 22 pounds, even a few grams of cocoa powder could result in seizures.  

Cocoa powder also contains caffeine, and both caffeine and theobromine can speed up your dog’s heart rate. This places your pooch at a risk for a heart attack and seizures, which could be fatal.   

  • Vegetable Oil 

Vegetable oil isn’t toxic, and in small doses, it can actually be good for dogs. However, oil is high in fat and calories, which isn’t good for your dog. 

If your recipe calls for 1 cup of canola oil, that’s 1,927 calories. Even if you slice the red velvet cake into 8 pieces and your doggo eats a whole slice, that’s still 240 calories. 

  • Cake Flour 

It’s not recommended that dogs eat cake flour because it can cause a dangerous increase and subsequent decrease in blood sugar. 

Some dogs are also allergic to wheat, grains, and gluten, so if your dog is allergic to cake flour and has some, they can have an allergic reaction. Your pooch can start itching, break out in hives, and experience gastrointestinal issues. 

  • Sugar 

Sugar isn’t toxic to dogs, but it can cause an upset tummy with explosive or bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Too much sugar also leads to bad dental health, weight gain and obesity, metabolic changes, and diabetes.  

Should your recipe for red velvet cake be of the low carb kind, then you probably add sweetener to sweeten the cake and frosting instead of sugar. A sweetener like xylitol is extremely toxic to your pooch, with even a small ingested amount resulting in seizures, hypoglycemia, rapid liver failure, or death.  

  • Butter 

Butter isn’t healthy for dogs even though it isn’t a toxic ingredient. If your pooch is lactose intolerant, they’ll have some issues when ingesting butter. 

However, butter is high in fat, which can lead to pancreatitis if consumed a lot. A little bit of butter will cause an upset stomach.  

  • Vanilla Extract 

At a minimum, pure vanilla extract has 35% ethanol or alcohol in it, which is the same proof as a bottle of Captain Morgan rum. 

Your dog’s digestive system wasn’t made to break down alcohol, so if your dog consumes red velvet cake that has vanilla extract in the batter, the result is alcohol poisoning. 

Alcohol poisoning in dogs can lead to respiratory failure, seizures, and a decrease in body temperature, blood sugar, and blood pressure. 

  • Cream Cheese Frosting or Other Cake Icing   

Cream cheese frosting, ermine frosting, or buttercream frosting are all big no-nos for your dog. 

Frosting has a lot of sugar, which is definitely not healthy for your dog. Plus, most frosting recipes call for vanilla extract, which isn’t safe for dogs because of the alcohol content. 

If your pooch is diabetic or has digestive problems or high blood pressure, it’s recommended to not feed them cream cheese frosting. Plus, your dog may be allergic to the diary content or lactose intolerant. So should your dog eat cream cheese frosting or icing, they may vomit, or they may get diarrhea or an upset stomach. 

What Happens If Dogs Eat Red Velvet Cake?

If your dog eats a small piece of red velvet cake, they may be fine and show no adverse symptoms or they may have an upset tummy. If your dog consumes a lot of red velvet cake, they may start vomiting and breathing rapidly. Your dog may also vomit, have seizures, or bloat.   

What happens to your dog when they eat red velvet cake depends on a few factors: 

  • The size of your dog 
  • How much red velvet cake they ingest 
  • The ingredients used in the red velvet cake 
  • If your dog has any allergies or a sensitive stomach 
  • How often they eat red velvet cake 

If your tiny breed dog or small lapdog eats a few small bites of red velvet cake, chances are they will be quite sick from the cake. They may either start vomiting, have diarrhea, or exhibit other bad symptoms. 

Imagine if your tiny or small-sized dog ate a whole slice of red velvet cake. That definitely won’t be good for them, and you may need to call your vet or take your doggie for an emergency appointment and treatment. 

If a large or giant dog ate a bite of red velvet cake, they probably won’t have side effects. But if they gobble up half of a big cake or a whole red velvet cake, they’ll show adverse symptoms.   

A lactose-intolerant dog may experience more serious problems when they eat some red velvet cake. They can suffer from bloat, which is potentially life-threatening. 

A lot of sugar isn’t good for people, nor is it good for dogs. If your dog eats a lot of sugar over a period of time, they’ll put on weight and may become obese. Your pooch can also get diabetes, heart disease, and other health complications.

A diabetic dog should definitely stay away from red velvet cake as the high sugar content only spells disaster. 

A dog that is allergic to eggs or dairy, some core ingredients of any cake, shouldn’t eat cake. Should your doggo eat red velvet cake, they can have a severe allergic reaction. Some symptoms to watch out for are itchiness, rapid breathing, and red gums. 

What to Do If My Dog Eats Red Velvet Cake?

What you do when your dog has eaten red velvet cake depends on how much they ate and what symptoms they have. If your dog ate a small amount of red velvet cake, you shouldn’t be too worried. Simply let the diarrhea or vomiting pass. If your dog ate a lot of red velvet cake and has persistent symptoms, call your vet and make an emergency appointment.

Your dog may also suffer from alcohol poisoning because of the vanilla extract that’s used in the cake and cream cheese frosting. If your dog has ingested alcohol, reach out to your local vet ASAP.