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Can Dogs Eat Starburst? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Bynewsmagzines

May 18, 2023
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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Technically speaking, Starburst candies are not toxic to dogs, but dogs should not consume them because they are full of sugar, have no nutritional value, and can cause digestive issues. Dogs do not need sugar in their diet because it can lead to many health problems.

Certain sugar-free Starburst candy varieties can contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs and can be fatal. Also, the wrapping papers and candies present a choking hazard. Starburst candy wrappings can also cause intestinal obstructions because they are made of waxed paper and cannot be digested.

Read on to learn what ingredients Starburst candies contain, what the risks are if your dog consumes these candies, and what can happen if dogs consume too much sugar.

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What Are Starburst Candies Made Of?

Starburst are small, soft, chewy candies sold in a wide variety of fruity flavors. The ingredients are normally not toxic for dogs and include sugar, gelatin, fruit extract, corn syrup, preservatives, and enhancers. In the varieties without sugar, the sugar is replaced with sucrose or xylitol. Sucrose is not toxic to dogs, but xylitol is.

chewing fruit caramel candies close-up isolated on white background
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Can Dogs Have Starburst Candies?

Although dogs can technically have Starburst candies because they are not toxic, they shouldn’t. Here is what Starburst candies can do to your dog’s health.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Starburst consumption can lead to gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog eats them over a long period of time, they can lead to other health problems, such as obesity or diabetes.

Dog vomit in the living room
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Choking Risk & Intestinal Obstruction

Small dog breeds can choke on the candies or wrappers if they get these stuck in their throats. The candy wrapper also presents a risk of getting stuck in the intestine because it is made of waxed paper and cannot be digested.

Dental Problems

Being soft and chewy, Starburst candies can remain stuck on your dog’s teeth, eventually leading to cavities or other dental problems.

Dog dental
Image credit: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

Xylitol Poisoning

Ingesting Starburst candies that contain xylitol instead of sugar can cause xylitol poisoning. The initial sign of poisoning is usually low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and can occur within an hour of consumption. Dogs intoxicated with xylitol can show the following clinical signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination (ataxia)
  • Difficulty walking
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

In severe cases, liver failure may occur. Some dogs with liver failure caused by xylitol poisoning may or may not show hypoglycemia first (tremors, restlessness, incoordination, and seizures).

Xylitol poisoning in dogs is a medical emergency because if a vet does not intervene in time to increase your pet’s blood sugar, they can die. Therefore, it is always recommended to read the ingredients label before giving something to your dog.

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What If My Dog Accidentally Eats Starburst?

If your dog has eaten Starburst candies by mistake, the first thing to do is check the label. If the ingredients include xylitol, take your dog to the vet immediately. If the candies simply contain sugar, there isn’t much to be concerned about. Your dog might have digestive problems (vomiting or diarrhea), but if they haven’t eaten the candies in large quantities, you don’t have to worry. Also, if your dog ate the candy with the wrapping on, monitor them for the next 2 days. If your dog has not eliminated the wrapper after that, or begins to vomit or isn’t passing stool, go to the veterinarian because it may have gotten stuck in their intestine. Never make it a habit to give Starburst candies or any sweets to your dog.

vet checking up labrador dog
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

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4 Reasons Why Dogs Should Not Eat Sugar

Sugar in all forms (brown, powdered, processed, or cane sugar) is unhealthy for dogs. Here are four reasons that you should not give your dog candies or other products that contain sugar.

1. Stomach Problems

Stop giving your dog sweets if you want to avoid vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and/or flatulence episodes. Large amounts of sugar can destroy the microorganism balance in your dog’s digestive system, causing severe digestive issues.

woman touching dog's stomach on couch
Image Credit: DimaBerlin, Shutterstock

2. Dental Problems

As with humans, sugar can also cause dental problems in dogs. It causes an increase in acidity in the mouth, which causes the loss of minerals and tooth decay.


3. Weight Gain

If your dog is constantly getting high-calorie sweets, they will gain weight and develop many other health problems due to that, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Joint problems
  • Bladder stones
  • Heart problems
  • Respiratory problems

All these conditions will seriously decrease your dog’s quality of life.

fat chihuahua dog
Image Credit: taro911 Photographer, Shutterstock

4. Changes in Metabolism

Sugar causes an increase in insulin secretion, which the body needs to process blood sugar. Insulin has many effects on other hormones in the body that can alter muscle tone, fat deposits, the immune system, or energy levels.

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FAQ

Can Dogs Die From Eating Starburst Candies?

Dogs can die from eating Starburst candies if they contain xylitol. The clinical signs of xylitol poisoning include low blood sugar, tremors, convulsions, and death. The severity of the signs depends on how many candies with xylitol your dog ate. Your dog can also die if they choke on the wrapper or the candy gets stuck in their throat. However, classic Starburst candies do not present a fatal risk for dogs.

Are Starburst Jelly Beans Safe for Dogs?

Just like the regular Starburst candies, the jelly beans are safe for your dog as long as they do not contain xylitol. They are not healthier than the usual ones, though, and you should not make a habit of giving sweets to your dog.

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Conclusion

Starburst candies are safe for dogs as long as they do not contain xylitol. Although they are safe, it is recommended not to give Starburst candies to your dog because they can cause stomach upset. Feeding too much Starburst or any kind of sweets can lead to obesity, tooth decay, and metabolic changes in the long term. Obesity can lead to heart problems, diabetes, respiratory problems, and other issues. Your dog can also choke on the candy or its wrapper. So, it is best to keep the candies just for you and give healthy treats to your dog instead.


Featured Image Credit: Felix Mizioznikov, Shutterstock

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