Can Dogs Eat Jelly Beans?

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can dogs eat jelly beans

Munching on a handful of jelly beans is my favorite pastime. If you’re like me, you know that all that sugar is bad for you. Yet there they are, as you watch the movie with your furry friend by your side.

Should you share one jelly bean with your dog? Can dogs eat jelly beans?

If they are bad for humans, what might they do to your furry companion? Let’s find out.

Can Dogs Eat Jelly Beans?

No, dogs should never eat jelly beans. Jelly beans are packed with harmful ingredients for your dogs.

You should especially watch out for xylitol and caffeine that are often found in jelly beans. Both are extremely toxic to dogs. If a dog eats jelly beans with these ingredients, they can even lead to death.

Why Are Jelly Beans Bad for Dogs?

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t give jelly beans to your dog. Sugar-free jelly beans, in particular, have dangerous ingredients. They often contain an artificial sweetener, usually xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.

Let’s look at common ingredients in jelly beans and what they mean for your dog’s health.


Many sugar-free candies contain xylitol which is an artificial sweetener. It is also one of the toxic ingredients and extremely poisonous to your dog.

Xylitol is often found in jelly beans and any sugar-free candy, gum, and peanut butter. If you feed your canine companion peanut butter now and then, check the ingredients. Xylitol is also found in toothpaste.

Xylitol is so dangerous because it causes a fast drop in blood sugar, i.e. hypoglycemia. The symptoms can occur between 30 minutes and 18 hours after dogs ate food with xylitol. The time depends on the size of the dog and the amount the dog ate, but don’t wait for symptoms to occur to call a vet.

The symptoms of xylitol poisoning include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness and wobbly posture
  • Lethargy
  • Liver failure
  • Coma

If you don’t react fast and take your dog to a vet clinic, xylitol poisoning often leads to the pet’s death.


Caffeine is a toxic ingredient for dogs because it contains theobromine. Even small amounts of caffeine can be fatal for the dog.

Caffeine is usually found in chocolate, energy drinks, black and green tea, and even medicine. In jelly beans, caffeine acts as a stimulant.

Caffeine is absorbed around 45 minutes after ingestion, while the symptoms of caffeine toxicity take about 2 hours to develop.

Typical symptoms of caffeine toxicity are:

  • Restlessness
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shaking
  • Seizures

Besides xylitol poisoning, caffeine toxicity is another occasion when you must immediately take your dog to a vet clinic.


Most candies contain added sugar, and jelly beans are no different.

Too much sugar can cause many issues for your pooch. Short-term effects are stomach upset, vomit, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.

If a dog eats jelly beans regularly, long-term effects are bad teeth, increased blood sugar, diabetes, weight gain and obesity, heart disease. It can even indirectly contribute to arthritis.

Unfortunately, sugar seems to be just as addictive to dogs as it is to humans. Talk to your vet about healthier alternatives to processed sugar.

Pectin and Starch

Most jelly beans contain pectin. Pectin is a starch and a binding agent often found in candies.

Pectin can also be found in some vet products against diarrhea.

Pectin and starch themselves aren’t toxic to dogs. However, if a dog ate jellybeans in large quantities and regularly, it can lead to constipation and digestive issues.


Various jelly beans contain artificial flavors and artificial colors. Artificial additives tend to upset a dog’s stomach and cause digestive issues. Some dogs are allergic to artificial flavorings.

Furthermore, jelly beans can contain traces of toxic ingredients like cocoa or grape. Both are extremely toxic to dogs.

But because they are in trace amounts, it is hard to say which quantity dogs need to consume for it to become toxic. If you notice unusual behavior in a dog, make sure to call a vet.

jelly beans

Different Types of Jelly Beans

Similar to gummy bears, jelly beans can pose a choking hazard to smaller dogs. For the most part, one jelly bean is unlikely to hurt your dog if it contains no xylitol or caffeine.

Are different jelly beans safe for your dog? Various types of jelly beans still carry different health risks. Let’s look at the popular brands and if your dog can eat them.

Can Dogs Eat Licorice Jelly Beans?

Licorice root is toxic to dogs if they eat it in large amounts. So, can dogs eat jelly beans with licorice extract?

No, dogs should not eat licorice jelly beans. The odds are that one jelly bean does not contain enough licorice to harm the dog, however.

Still, if your dog ate jelly beans with licorice and an entire bag of them, you should call the vet. Licorice can lead to increased blood pressure and other serious health issues.

Can Dogs Eat Jelly Belly Jelly Beans?

Dogs should stay away from Jelly Belly jelly beans.

These are filled with sugar. Sugar causes many health problems for dogs. It can lead to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and even arthritis.

If your dog ate a few jelly beans, they would probably be ok. Still, avoid them and other sugary treats at all costs.

Can Dogs Eat Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans?

No, dogs should not eat these either.

Jolly Rancher jelly beans are filled with artificial flavors and artificial colors. These are especially dangerous if a dog is allergic to them. It could cause a severe allergic reaction, and breathing difficulties, swelling, and a host of other symptoms.

If your dog is allergic to artificial flavors and ate these jelly beans, immediately take them to a vet clinic.

Can Dogs Eat Starburst Jelly Beans?

No, dogs should not eat Starburst jelly beans.

These are sweetened with apple juice and contain artificial flavors and colors. The combination of concentrated sugar and allergens can be very bad for your dog.

If the dog is allergic to these ingredients, call the vet immediately.

What to Do if Your Dog Ate Jelly Beans?

First off, if your dog ate one jelly bean, or two, they will probably be ok. Just make sure they don’t contain xylitol, caffeine, or other toxic ingredients.

In most cases, a jelly bean will cause an upset stomach and digestive issues. The digestive problems usually resolve within a day or two.

However, if jelly beans have xylitol or caffeine, you need to act quickly. Watch out for symptoms of toxicity: lethargy in case of xylitol poisoning and rapid heartbeat in case of caffeine poisoning, and tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling.

If you notice these, take the dog to a vet clinic immediately. It’s best to call the vet on your way there.

The Treatment if Your Dog Ate Too Many Jelly Beans

Before they are absorbed in the dog’s stomach, poisonous toxins may need to be eliminated by vomiting.

Unless instructed by a veterinarian, do not force your dog to vomit at home. While there are some simple methods for making your dog vomit at home, many of them are harmful.

The vet can accomplish this by administering an injection. If the candy was only recently consumed or there are no toxicity symptoms, this is usually how it’s handled.

If your dog ingests harmful ingredients, they might have to remain at the vet clinic for additional therapy or monitoring overnight. The sooner you get your dog to the clinic for treatment, the less harm the poisons will do.

In cases of poisoning, the treatment usually includes IV fluids. In some cases, a vet might order dialysis to flush out toxins.

Alternatives to Jelly Beans

Jelly beans’ appeal is understandable, but it is just not worth your pet’s health. Instead, your dog can enjoy a much healthier sweet snack.

Check out some of the alternatives you can offer your furry companion:

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Peanut butter (check for xylitol)

Did you know there are human foods our canine companions can safely enjoy? Check a full list of these healthy snacks here.

No Reason to Be Jelly

Can dogs eat jelly beans? That’s a hard no. Jelly beans contain many toxic ingredients, and eating jelly beans can be very harmful to dogs.

Choking hazard, too much sugar, xylitol, and caffeine poisoning — these are just a few ordeals you’ll be putting your pooch through if you give them jelly beans.

Luckily, there are many other foods to sweeten your furry family member’s life. Choose some of them and let your dog munch on healthier and much safer alternatives.

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As a dog breeder's daughter, I've always been surrounded by many dogs of many breeds. I've made it my job to learn about our furry best friends and share my findings with other conscious dog owners. My Bichon is called Piper by the way :)

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