Gummy bears are a tasty treat for us, but what about your dog? Perhaps your dog snuck into your snack stash and ate a bag of gummy worms. You walk into the room to find a guilty-looking pup and an empty bag, Or perhaps you are enjoying some gummy bears, and want to know if you can share with your pooch. Before you share this sweet with your dog, you should know about the potential health risks.
Can dogs eat gummy bears or worms?
Some human foods are safe, or even healthy for your dog. Others aren’t good for your dog, and some can even be toxic. You can feel free to share fish or apples with your dog, but chocolate can be dangerous. Where to gummy bears and worms fall on the spectrum?
Depending on the ingredients and the quantity eaten, they range from not healthy too potentially dangerous.
The most common issue from your dog eating gummy candies is stomach upset, particularly if they eat a large amount for their size. This is essentially the same thing as overindulgence in humans.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. As long as your pooch stays hydrated, the stomach upset should pass within a few hours.
High Sugar Risks
Most of the issues with your dog eating gummy worms are related to their sugar content. A high amount of sugar is unhealthy for your dog. If they consume too much sugar on a regular basis, they can experience several negative health effects.
Just like people, dogs can get cavities. It’s also difficult to get them to brush twice a day, so the sugar is likely to remain on their teeth. One gummy bear won’t cause cavities. However, if your dog frequently eats sugary treats, cavities can become a problem.
Obesity is another health concern. A high sugar diet contributes to obesity in dogs. Obesity is linked to many negative health effects, including an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
Another similarity between humans and dogs is their risk of diabetes. Interestingly, having a dog with diabetes increases your risk of developing diabetes as well.
There are several risk factors for diabetes, but a poor diet high in sugar is a major risk factor.
Pancreatitis is another disorder that is linked to a poor diet. The cause isn’t completely understood, but it is known that a high fat or sugar intake increases the risk of developing the disease.
Essentially, the pancreas becomes inflamed. This can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach swelling, fever, and weakness. Pancreatitis is a serious condition that requires veterinary treatment.
Sugar alcohols are sugar substitutes. They are used because they don’t raise blood sugar in humans, making them ideal for those limiting their sugar intake.
The most concerning sugar alcohol for your dog is Xylitol. It is present in some sugar-free candies. It’s safe for humans, but it is highly toxic to your dog.
Insulin regulates the sugar in the bloodstream in humans and dogs. When sugar levels rise, insulin is released to bring it back down. When sugar levels drop too low, this is known as hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
The biggest danger from xylitol is that it stimulates the release of insulin in your dog, just like sugar does. However, xylitol is not sugar, and does not raise your sugar. When it triggers insulin release, sugar levels quickly drop dangerously low.
Other sugar-free gummies can also be bad for your pooch. They are known to cause diarrhea in high amounts, because they pull water from the intestines. The water mixes with poop, causing diarrhea. It is also likely to cause diarrhea in your dog if they consume it.
THC gummies also pose some risk to your dog. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that provides the “high”. Your dog will also get high if they eat it.
Symptoms include loss of coordination, hyperactivity, drooling, vomiting, and loss of bladder control. It can also lower your dog’s heart rate and body temperature.
High doses of THC can be dangerous for your pooch, causing tremors, seizures, and even coma.
Risk of Bowel Blockage (particularly if the wrapper is eaten)
Most of the concern about gummy worms is the candy itself. However, the packaging is another worry. Dogs will happily eat a wrapper to get to the candy inside. Even a plastic bottle containing vitamins or gummies can be chewed through by a determined canine.
The issue with these packages is that your dog can’t digest them. There is a risk of choking. However, the biggest risk is when the dog tries to pass the packaging.
Most dogs will pass it with no issues, but some will experience a bowel blockage. The bowels are not designed to pass nonfood items, so it’s possible for it to get stuck in the intestines. This causes a blockage, which can cause pain and make your dog sick.
Are gummy worms poisonous to dogs?
Gummy worms themselves aren’t poisonous to dogs, although they aren’t healthy either. However, some potential ingredients in gummy worms can be toxic to your dog.
Signs of xylitol poisoning include vomiting and symptoms of low blood sugar. Fatigue or decreased activity, weakness, loss of coordination, collapse,coma, and seizures.
It can also cause liver failure, but how it affects the liver isn’t well understood.
What are signs of poisoning in dogs?
The signs of poisoning in dogs vary based on the poisoning ingested. If your dog ingests something toxic, expect them to have some, but not all, of these symptoms of poisoning.
Drooling or Foaming
Drooling or foaming at the mouth can occur for a few reasons. If your dog eats something that irritates their mouth or tastes bad, they will drool. If they drool excessively and pant, this can create foam. Some toxic chemicals can also create foam when mixed with your dog’s saliva.
Of course, stomach upset is a common sign of poisoning. This includes vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and bloating.
Lethargy or Weakness
Lethargy or weakness are common symptoms of poisoning. This can occur due to organ malfunction, blood loss due to internal bleeding, or the body trying to remove the toxin.
Many toxins can cause organ failure. Kidneys and the liver are most commonly affected by poisoning.
Heart problems are also common. Symptoms of heart problems due to poisoning include a heart rate that is too fast or slow, or an unsteady heartbeat.
Poisoning can cause your dog’s temperature to become higher or lower than normal, depending on the substance they were exposed to.
Difficulty breathing is another sign of poisoning. This includes wheezing, shortness of breath, labored breathing, and pale gums due to lack of oxygen.
Behavioral changes can also occur. Your dog may have hyperactivity, followed by a period of fatigue, listlessness, or depression.
Loss of Consciousness
Severe poisoning can cause loss of consciousness, coma, and death. This can arise from internal bleeding, low oxygen, or organ failure.
What happens if a dog eats gummy worms?
What happens if a dog eats gummy worms depends on the ingredients.
Traditional Gummy Worms
If they eat traditional gummy worms, they may have stomach upset, or they may feel fine afterwards. Stomach upset should subside without any serious consequences.
Problems arise if you continue to feed your dog gummy worms on a consistent basis.
Sugar Free Gummy Worms
Sugar free gummy worms, particularly those containing xylitol, are another matter. They can be dangerous, or even deadly to your dog.
Smaller amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, which can make your pet feel weak, tired, irritable, and disoriented. Severe hypoglycemia can cause coma and death. High doses of xylitol can cause liver failure.
What to do if my dog eats gummy worms?
Your dog just ate a bag of gummy worms. You are concerned about their health, and wondering what you should do. Do you need to rush them to the vet? Will they be ok?
Remove Gummy Candies
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your dog can’t get into anymore candy. Put all candy, including gummites, out of reach of your pooch.
If you have gummy vitamins or edibles, be sure these are out of reach as well. Remember some dogs can chew through a plastic bottle or bag to eat the gummy candies inside. You can’t depend on packaging to keep your dog out of the gummies.
Check the Ingredients
Next, you’ll want to check the ingredients. If they contain xylitol, call your vet or bring your dog in immediately. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs.
If it contains another form of artificial sweetner or sugar alcohols, your dog may experience stomach upset, but they are at low risk of serious side effects.
If they are traditional gummy candies, your dog should be fine. Just avoid giviing them gummies in the future.
If they contain CBD, your pooch should be ok. The main concern is the sugar that is present in traditional gummies.
If the gummies contained vitamins or fish oil, give your vet a call. Be prepared with the ingredients in the vitamin and approximately how much your dog has eaten. Vitamin D, iron, and calcium can be toxic to your dog in high amounts.
Fish oil itself isn’t typically harmful, but it often contains added vitamin D. Multivitamins typically contain vitamin D, iron, and calcium. They may also contain xylitol or other artificial sweetner.
THC gummies are also dangerous to your pooch. CBD and hemp are usually not harmful to your dog. However, a high amount of THC can cause serious health effects. If your dog has eaten thc gummies, you’ll need to call your vet.
Monitor Your Dog
Assuming there’s no ingredients that warrant a medical emergency, you’ll simply need to monitor your pooch. Give them plenty of water, and watch for any signs of illness or poisoning.
Your dog may have vomitting or diarrhea caused by the high amount of sugar. This is similar to a chid, or even an adult, who has overindulged in sweets and made themselves sick.
Keep them hydrated, and wait it out. It should pass within a few hours. You can also give your dog pepto bismal for stomach upset. The dosage is 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. If you are concerned about hydration, you can give them a pedialyte solution to drink.
If you notice any signs other than stomach upset, call your vet.
What Not to Do
Don’t try to induce vomitting unless directed to do so by your vet. If your dog shows symptoms of poisoning or illness beyond minor stomach upset, don’t wait. Bring them in for treatment as soon as possible.