Skip to Content

Can Dogs Eat Vanilla? It Depends!

Vanilla is a common baking ingredient, but if your dog gets into the extract it can be dangerous! In this in depth guide, we will cover everything you need to know about dogs and vanilla.

Dog in front of many vanilla pods.

Dogs are not always picky eaters, and in some cases, they might even try a type of food that they don’t even like out of curiosity. So, if you are cooking with some vanilla extract, can your dog lick some? Can dogs eat vanilla?

Eating a vanilla pod won’t probably cause a lot of harm to your dog. It might suffer from an upset stomach, but nothing will happen if your pooch munches on some pure vanilla. However, things can be different if your dog eats vanilla extract because it’s toxic, especially to puppies. Keep on reading to learn more about this.

Can Dogs Eat Vanilla?

To answer this question, we need to differentiate between two types of vanilla; vanilla pods and vanilla extract.

Vanilla Pods

If you’re walking your dog and he or she accidentally eats a vanilla pod, or you’re at home and your pooch decides to eat one or two, nothing serious will happen. Your dog might suffer from an upset stomach, gas, or vomiting if it eats too many vanilla pods, but it won’t be in serious danger.

Vanilla Extract

However, vanilla extract is a different story. Vanilla extract contains water and ethyl alcohol, and dogs can’t consume alcohol. Even small amounts of alcohol can make your dog very sick and might even kill a puppy. Imitation vanilla is just as bad because it still contains alcohol.

This means that if you’re cooking a treat and using vanilla extract, it will be a terrible idea to give some to your dog. The same applies to vanilla ice cream.

The only case where you can feed vanilla to your pup is if you’re using alcohol-free vanilla extract. There are some versions of alcohol-free vanilla that use glycerin instead of alcohol. Since vegetable-based glycerin is a common ingredient in different types of good food, you can give your dog some of the food you prepared if it contains alcohol-free vanilla extract.

Vanilla pods tied up with a string on an isolated white background.

How Dangerous Is Vanilla Extract?

Determining how dangerous it is if your dog eats vanilla extract, vanilla ice cream, or any other type of food prepared using vanilla extract depends on two factors, the weight of the dog and the amount of food it consumed.

For a toy breed or a young puppy, even the slightest amount of alcohol in the vanilla extract can be toxic. The oral lethal dose is between 5.5 and 7.9 grams/kilogram of the dog’s weight. One millimeter of ethanol alcohol is 0.789 grams, and this means that a few tiny drops can be lethal to a small dog.

Vanilla extract in a bottle next to vanilla bean pods.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Vanilla Extract?

If your dog, even a small one, has a lick of vanilla extract, you probably don’t have to do much but keep an eye on him or her to see if they’re suffering from the following symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Weakness and collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Incoordination
  • Shallow breaths and low body temperature

If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, then it’s best to rush them to the vet as soon as possible.

Vanilla extract next to vanilla pods.


Pure vanilla isn’t toxic to dogs, but vanilla extract is because it contains alcohol. Dogs shouldn’t consume even the tiniest amounts of alcohol as it can make them very sick or even kill them. So keep an eye on your dog, and if you notice any serious symptoms, then you need to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

This post may contain affiliate links.