No, dogs cannot eat gummy bears. This is due to the highly toxic artificial sweetener, Xylitol, that is commonly used in gummies.
It can cause your dog to have several adverse reactions, which can easily be fatal.
The first thing it does is make your dog’s insulin surge to deadly levels. This can happen very fast, in a matter of minutes. The surge in insulin leads to a massive drop in blood sugar, all in the span of as little as 15 minutes. If this happens when nobody is around, your pup will not be able to get the much-needed help (1).
Once the blood sugar drops, you’ll notice several signs. Your pup will become very weak and lethargic. They won’t be able to move like they normally can and their coordination will be very off. They could suddenly collapse and start having seizures as well. Chances are you’ll notice the sudden drop in energy and coordination before they have a seizure. These symptoms will be noticeable in less than 30 minutes, making each minute after your dog consumes Xylitol extremely important.
Ultimately, the massive drop in blood sugar will lead to irreversible, fatal brain damage. In mammals, glucose is the main source of energy for the brain (2). Without enough glucose, our brain will not be able to get the energy it needs to survive and basically starve to death.
Low blood sugar is very dangerous. It only take a couple sticks of Xlitol heavy gum or a few gummy bears to have a fatal affect on a small dog. A larger dog could have a fatal dose of Xlitol with a whole pack of gummies or as little as 8 pieces of gum. In larger quantities, this can also lead to severe liver damage.
When I first read about this in an article, I was disgusted. The article said that there was a study published on eight dogs who had consumed Xylitol (3). It went on to say that five of them passed away due to hepatic failure (loss of liver function). While this is true that Xylitol causes hepatic failure, I misread the article. I thought a study was conducted on five dogs and the dogs were given Xylitol. I was livid!
As I went on to do further research on the study to see what these bastards did to the dogs, I found that they did not give the dogs Xylitol. The dogs had gotten into various sweets themselves and the study just reported the results. The vet made every attempt to rescue the dogs, and three of them lived. It’s believed that the three that lived died later due to damage that Xylitol caused.
The bottom line is that Xylitol was not previously known to cause liver damage before this analysis was concluded. Now we know that it can cause severe liver damage in high enough doses. There is a five-page peer-reviewed article in Veterinary Medicine detailing the effects of Xylitol in dogs.
Gummies Without Xylitol
Even if your gummies do not have Xylitol, they’re still not good for your pup. Without Xylitol they might not be fatal, but they’re still far from good for dogs. Gummies can easily get stuck in your dogs teeth, causing tooth decay and cavities. A cavity would be very painful since most dogs are fed crunchy dry food. That would make the pain even worse.
The bottom line is even though gummy candy smells delicious to your dog, the wrong type can be deadly. Protect your fur-baby and just don’t let them eat any gummy candy or sweets.