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Can Dogs Eat Sugar?

Humans tend to have a sweet tooth, but what about our furry friends? Well, many dogs also enjoy the taste of sugar, because according Bond Vet, sweetness is something readily tasted by their taste buds. And also like people, too much sugar for dogs can be very unhealthy.

In this blog post, we’ll answer the question “is sugar bad for dogs”, explore the effects of sugar on their health, and shed light on the dos and don’ts of feeding them sweet treats.

Dogs and sugar: The effects

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that provides quick energy but lacks essential nutrients. It’s commonly found in various forms, such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose, but what does it do to a dog’s body?


Dogs have a different metabolism compared to humans. While we can efficiently break down and process sugars, dogs have a more limited ability. Their bodies are designed to derive energy from proteins and fats rather than carbohydrates. When dogs begin consuming excessive amounts of sugar, it can lead to various health problems, like vomiting and digestive upset.

Weight gain

Similarly to humans, one of the primary concerns with giving dogs sugar is the risk of obesity and weight gain. In fact, more than 50% of household dogs are considered overweight, and sugar is one of the primary reasons. 

Sugar for dogs is a source of empty calories and lacks essential nutrients, leading to excess calorie intake without adequate nutritional value. This can contribute to obesity, which, in turn, increases the risk of various health issues like diabetes, joint problems, and heart disease. Dogs ultimately have no need for foods or treats that contain added sugar, so instead try to opt for protein-based products. Dogs will crave the meaty taste and their bodies will thank them!

Picture of dogs teeth

Dental health

We all want to keep our pearly whites clean and pristine, right? Sugary foods can wreak havoc on a dog’s dental health, just as they can for humans. When dogs consume sugary treats, the bacteria in their mouths convert the sugar into acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. It’s important to note that certain dog breeds may be more prone to dental problems, making sugar consumption an even greater concern. So not only is sugar bad for dogs, it’s bad for their teeth as well.

Diabetes in dogs

Similar to humans, dogs can develop diabetes. While the causes of diabetes in dogs are multifactorial, excessive sugar intake can contribute to its development. Dogs with diabetes require strict dietary management, and a diet high in sugar can worsen their condition or increase the risk of developing the disease.

Sugary foods your dog should avoid

At the end of the day, sugar for dogs is usually something to be avoided. Remember to always read the label of foods you’re feeding your dog to avoid unnecessary ingredients and carbohydrates. Here are a few foods your dog should always steer clear of.

dog getting treat


Everyone loves a good piece of chocolate every now and then, but this is one treat meant for humans only. On top of the sugar content, chocolate also contains theobromine and caffeine, each of which is toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Even small amounts can cause symptoms like vomiting, digestive upset, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures or death.

Chewing gum and candy

These often contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs. The FDA says that xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels. Symptoms include vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure.

Baked goods

Taking a trip to your local bakery? Although you may be tempted to share, keep your snacks to yourself. Baked goods such as pastries, cakes, and cookies are usually high in sugar and can be harmful to your furry friends. The high sugar content can lead to obesity, dental problems, and, in some cases, pancreatitis.

Ice cream

While a small taste of plain vanilla ice cream occasionally may not cause harm, many ice creams and frozen treats contain artificial sweeteners, chocolate, or other ingredients that can be harmful to dogs. The high sugar content is a large contributor to obesity and other health concerns.

Sweetened beverages

Sodas, fruit juices, and other sweetened beverages are for your tastebuds only and are not suitable for dogs. The high sugar content can lead to health problems for your pup.

Puppy enjoying raw food meal.

What are dog-friendly alternatives to feed?

It’s essential to prioritize our dogs’ health and well-being when it comes to their diet. Fortunately, since dogs and sugar aren’t a great combo, there are plenty of safe and healthy alternatives that your furry friend will love.

Natural Fruits

Many fruits are safe and enjoyable for dogs, offering natural sweetness and vital nutrients. Apples, bananas, strawberries, and watermelon (without seeds) are excellent choices. However, remember to remove seeds and cores, as they can be harmful.


Green beans and sweet potatoes make fantastic low-calorie dog treats. These options provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals while satisfying your dog’s need for chewing. Carrots are an especially “sweet” tasting treat rich in vitamin A (great for eye health) and B vitamins (helping with nutrient uptake of foods).

Peanut butter

This is a great treat to feed your dog! Do ensure you read the label of the product though, as you’ll want to ensure it is free of added sugars, salt, artificial sweeteners, and xylitol.

Homemade sugar free dog treats

If you enjoy cooking, countless recipes for sugar free dog treats are available online that use natural, dog-safe ingredients. This way, you have full control over what goes into your dog’s treats, ensuring they are free from harmful substances.

Raw food

A raw food diet for dogs involves feeding your pet a sugar-free and low-glycemic meal consisting of uncooked and unprocessed ingredients. The idea behind this type of diet is that it mimics the natural diet of wild dogs, which typically eat prey animals and plants. Proponents of raw food diets believe that this type of diet is more natural and healthier for dogs than traditional kibble or canned dog food.

We recommend trying Bold by Nature, one of the best raw dog food brands in Canada. These recipes include a variety of different ingredients, including raw meat (such as beef, chicken, or turkey), bones, organs (such as liver or kidney), and vegetables (such as carrots or collard greens). 

Lab with Bold by Nature products

Consulting with a veterinarian

Every dog is unique, and their dietary needs may vary depending on factors such as age, breed, and health condition. Consulting with your holistic veterinarian is crucial for tailored advice regarding your dog’s diet. They can provide guidance on appropriate portion sizes, identify any dietary restrictions, and recommend suitable alternatives if your dog has specific health concerns.

golden retriever eating raw food diet

Where to buy sugar free dog food or raw food?

Having too much sugar in your dog’s diet can pose a problem, so let’s get you started on your raw journey. Bold by Nature products like natural pet food or chicken bones for dogs can be purchased either online or at a local retailer. If you’re unsure of which stores carry our products, you can use our location finder to explore retailers.

A sweet summary

Now you’ve got your answer for “can dogs eat sugar”, you know exactly how to treat your pup! While dogs may beg for a taste of our sweet treats, it’s important to resist the temptation and prioritize their health. Excessive consumption of sugar for dogs can lead to obesity, dental problems, and even diabetes. Instead, opt for dog-friendly alternatives, such as natural fruits, vegetables, and sugar free dog food, like Bold by Nature Mega Duck, and dogs are sure to be happy and content. Remember, when it comes to your beloved canine companion, a balanced and nutritious diet is the key to a long, happy, and healthy life.