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Can Dogs Eat Jelly Beans? Watch Out For These Ingredients

Most dogs like sugary stuff and pet parents generally have a soft spot when it comes to a puppy’s pleading eyes. So, can dogs eat jelly beans?

A tan dog with a black nose in front of many multi-colored jelly beans.

It’s hard to imagine that these colorful soft sugary candies could be harmful, yet, they are. And it’s not just in the “don’t eat too much sugar” kind of unhealthy. Jelly beans could be life-threatening to a dog.

In the next sections, we’ll explain why jelly beans are high-risk foods. And what to do if a dog accidentally ingests a few. 

What Is So Threatening About Jelly Beans?

Plenty of ingredients go into the making of jelly beans. However, two of them are considered highly dangerous to dogs. These are xylitol and caffeine, which could cause serious health issues within a few hours.

In addition, jelly beans often contain pectin, starch, sugars, artificial sweeteners, colors, plus a bunch of other substances. These are all unhealthy for dogs, and their effects could be digestive problems, obesity, allergies, and dental problems.  

Multi-colored jelly beans on a white background.

How Are Dogs Affected by Them?


Xylitol tops the list of harmful substances for dogs. It’s an artificial sweetener with a low glycaemic index that is actually considered healthy for humans. It’s a refined sugar, but it’s also found in various plants, so some choose to consider it a natural alternative to sugar.

This sweetener is used in most candies, jelly beans, mints, chewing gum, various dental care products, and even foods that are safe for diabetic people. It’s highly toxic to dogs though.  

A tiny amount of xylitol, as much as 0.1 grams, could make a dog hyperglycaemic. Some of the signs are drowsiness, vomiting, loss of consciousness, all the way to going into a coma. If a Chihuahua ingests only 0.3 grams, it could get seriously sick. A higher amount could cause liver failure.


Caffeine also has detrimental effects on a dog’s health, and could potentially end its life. Even small amounts could cause serious damage to the dog’s heart and start a series of arrhythmias.

The chemicals that makeup caffeine can reach the dog’s bloodstream within minutes, thus quick action is needed. If a dog shows signs like anxiety, fast heart rate, or shivering, then it must go to the ER right away.

Pectin, Starch, Sugars, and Other Additives

Pectin and starch are hardly compatible with a carnivore’s diet, and they often wreak havoc in a dog’s digestive system. As for the sugars and other substances, they could increase the dog’s appetite for high-calorie treats, which would make it gain weight.

Dogs get allergies and eczema primarily from the synthetic substances that go into their food. That’s why it’s never a good idea to give it colored sweets or candies including Twizzlers and Skittles.  

A bowl of jelly beans on a white table.

What to Do if a Dog Accidentally Eats One?

If a dog finds a few jelly beans and nibbles on them, then it should be carried to the vet’s clinic right away. If the unfortunate pet has already started showing signs of distress, then the ER is a better option.

In all cases, it’s important to take the wrapper of the jelly beans along, or any remaining candies. That way, the doctors can identify the actual ingredients that the dog ingested. And they’d be better able to assess the degree of toxicity.

Jelly beans spewing out of a metal bucket onto a white table.

In Conclusion

When pet owners first find out that chocolate, grapes, and candies are bad for their dogs, they seem really surprised. But then they get used to the idea that what’s good for humans might be completely harmful to a pet.

Jelly beans are definitely among the big no-nos for dogs.

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