Every time my family goes to a fair, the first stop is the cotton candy stand. The kids adore this sugary treat, and they always beg me to give some to our dog as well:
— But, Mom, see how Piper’s looking at it! Why are you so cruel?
Pepper is an old gal, and she definitely doesn’t need all that sugar. But can dogs eat cotton candy, maybe just a small bite?
Let’s find out why this is not a good idea.
Can Dogs Have Cotton Candy?
No, dogs should not eat cotton candy. Cotton candy is made mainly of sugar and food coloring. High amounts of sugar lead to many health issues in dogs.
Furthermore, an average cotton candy often contains artificial sweeteners, which can be downright toxic and fatal to our canines.
Is Cotton Candy Bad for Dogs?
Yes, cotton candy can be very bad for dogs. Let’s look at the three most common (and harmful) ingredients in cotton candy and why they are not suitable for our four-legged friends.
The biggest issue with cotton candy is that it often contains artificial sweeteners. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener present in many products, including candy and gum, has been shown to cause life-threatening low blood sugar levels in dogs.
Xylitol toxicity occurs at about 0.0017 oz per 1 pound of dog’s weight. For example, a 50-pound dog would need only 0.085 oz of xylitol to reach toxicity levels. To put this in perspective, chewing gum can be fatal for a 20-pound dog.
Unfortunately, there is still no antidote for xylitol poisoning. If you suspect your dog ingested food with xylitol, take them to a vet immediately.
Cotton candy is basically just refined sugar. While sugary foods are not toxic to dogs, they will cause many problems down the line.
Long-term sugar intake leads to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and contributes to pancreatitis. All of these are potentially life-threatening conditions that will seriously affect the quality of a dog’s life. If you notice these health problems in your furry friends, it’s best to seek professional veterinary advice.
The food coloring used in cotton candy is often not natural or organic. They can hurt a dog’s health and cause digestive issues if ingested.
Moreover, if dogs eat cotton candy, they can develop allergic reactions. For dogs allergic to specific artificial dyes, this can be fatal.
Dogs can be allergic to many things — learn about common dog allergies.
When Should You Not Give Cotton Candy to Your Dog?
If the cotton candy contains xylitol, the answer is — never, under any circumstances. Even in small amounts, xylitol can be extremely toxic to dogs.
However, suppose the candy in question does not contain xylitol. This means it has sugar as the main ingredient. So, should you give your dog cotton candy?
If dogs eat cotton candy and sugar regularly, they become detrimental to their health. Too much cotton candy leads to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes at the very least.
It also causes hyperglycemia, i.e. a spike in blood sugar. That is why giving cotton candy to dogs with pre-existing conditions is especially harmful. If your dog is overweight, diabetic, or old, do not give them cotton candy. In some cases, the sugar can be fatal — especially for diabetic dogs.
Additionally, high sugar intake contributes to dental problems and tooth decay. If your furry friend has gum problems and cavities, it’s best to avoid cotton candy and added sugar.
Can Dogs Eat Cotton Candy Ice Cream?
No, dogs should never eat cotton candy ice cream. It might even be a more dangerous option.
Candy and ice cream are not a good mix for dogs. Not only does it contain xylitol, but cotton candy ice cream also has chocolate. Both of these substances are extremely toxic to dogs.
Xylitol leads to low blood sugar, liver failure, seizures, coma, and death of the pet. Chocolate contains theobromine, another substance that dogs should never eat. Chocolate toxicity symptoms include excessive thirst, increased heart rate, muscle spasms, tremors, heart failure, seizures, and coma.
Both xylitol and chocolate in small amounts can be fatal for dogs. Combined, they are a recipe for disaster and severe medical problems.
If your dog ate cotton candy ice cream, take them to a vet clinic immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Cotton Candy Grapes?
Cotton candy grapes are a type of grape that has been specifically bred to taste like cotton candy. They are available at specialty stores and some supermarkets.
Dogs should never eat grapes because they are toxic to them. Ingestion of just a small amount can trigger kidney failure and be fatal. Furthermore, they also pose a choking hazard.
If you know your dog has eaten grapes, call the Pet Poison Hotline and take them to a vet clinic immediately. Signs of grape poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Ate Cotton Candy?
Cotton candy is dangerous to your dog even without all the added ingredients. Since it is mostly sugar, cotton candy is not recommended for diabetic and overweight dogs.
Even in healthy dogs, prolonged consumption of too much sugar leads to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and even pancreatitis.
If your dog ate a tiny bit of cotton candy, it is unlikely they will experience severe health problems. They will probably have digestive issues like upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. Gastrointestinal problems should resolve in a day or two. If they don’t, you should call a vet.
Lethargy is a very common sign that the pet’s health is suffering, and you should call a vet.
The biggest concern with cotton candy is xylitol. Many types of candy have this ingredient which is extremely toxic to dogs.
Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener which is extremely toxic to dogs. If dogs eat cotton candy with xylitol, they could experience hypoglycemia or a rapid drop in blood sugar. Between 30 minutes and 18 hours after a dog consumes food containing xylitol, the signs appear.
The symptoms of xylitol poisoning include:
- Drowsiness and wobbly posture
- Liver failure
Act fast and take your dog to a vet clinic immediately. Otherwise, xylitol poisoning could lead to the pet’s death.
Bring a sample of the food and packaging with you so that the vet can determine the ingredients. Always mention it to your vet if you suspect your dog might have ingested xylitol.
What if Your Dog Ate Cotton Candy Wrappers?
However, xylitol and sugar are not the only things you should worry about. In some cases, it’s possible the dog also ate a piece of a cotton candy wrapper.
When dogs eat cotton candy wrappers, these can lead to digestive issues and intestinal obstruction in dogs.
Signs of intestinal blockage in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, and lethargy. If a dog is showing these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
In these cases, and especially if there is an intestinal blockage, the vet might need to perform surgery. Therefore, it’s very important to act quickly.
If a dog eats cotton candy with xylitol, the vet will try to determine the time and amount of the ingestion. In some cases, a vet will induce vomiting to try and remove the toxins.
If your dog ate cotton candy with xylitol or artificial flavors in copious amounts, they might require hospitalization. The vet will prescribe IV fluids and monitor your furry friend’s health. There is no antidote to xylitol toxicity, so the treatment consists of managing the symptoms. The veterinarian might also order dialysis.
If your dog ate packaging, bring them to the vet clinic. In case of gastrointestinal blockage, the dog may show symptoms such as abdominal pain, repeated vomiting, and lethargy. If this is the case, the dog might require surgery and hospitalization.
As with other foods that are toxic and harmful to dogs, the best prevention is keeping cotton candy out of the dog’s reach. Always consider that a dog is very likely to try the food you eat.
It’s best to put any food leftovers on high shelves where dogs can’t reach them. Always clean up the table and don’t leave any food leftovers out in the open.
Additionally, you might consider training your dog to refrain from foods that fall on the floor or foods they stumble upon.
The best time for training is when the dogs are young because they are more responsive. Once they adopt good habits early, these will last them a lifetime and potentially even save their life. However, even if you train your dog, they might still munch on available leftovers if you’re not home.
Alternatives to Cotton Candy
It’s easy for dogs to get addicted to sugary treats. However, it is well-known that roughly 10% of a dog’s diet should be treats — not more.
So, if you are already eager to treat your furry companion, why not choose a healthy option? Here are some great alternatives to cotton candy:
- Peanut butter (always check for xylitol)
There are many tasty human foods you can feed your canine companion. Check out this comprehensive list to learn about safe and healthy choices for your pooch.
Not That Sweet After All
Many dog owners know that too much sugar is bad for their dogs. Cotton candy is pure sugar, so most of us wouldn’t feed cotton candy regularly to our furry family members.
But can dogs have cotton candy every now and then? No, they really shouldn’t. The majority of commercial cotton candies will contain xylitol. Xylitol is lethal to dogs, even in small amounts.
So, that teeny bite of cotton sweetness can easily turn into a nightmare and a significant health risk for your dog. It’s best to leave cotton candy aside and choose safer alternatives.
Life will be infinitely sweeter that way, both for you and your furry companion.
Is blue cotton candy different from pink?
The only difference is in the dyes that were used. Depending on the dye, a dog may be allergic to one and not the other. However, they both contain sugar and probably xylitol, so dogs should not eat them.
Can cotton candy kill a dog?
Depends on the type of cotton candy. Regular cotton candy is refined sugar — it’s bad for your dog’s health, but not toxic, and won’t kill a dog. However, a sugar-free version often contains xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs and even a small amount can be fatal.
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