Can Dogs Eat Swedish Fish? The Not-So-Sweet Truth

Swedish Fish package
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If you have a dog, you may wonder what types of food it can eat beyond traditional dog food. As a candy lover, you may have also wondered, “Can dogs eat Swedish Fish?”

Well, today you’re in luck, because we’re going to answer that centuries-old question.

It’s important always to be careful with any food that is not specially formulated for dogs, and the adorable fish-shaped gummy candies are no exception.

Long answer short: You should not give your dog Swedish Fish.

Shocking, I know.

While the candy does not contain any specific ingredient that is toxic to dogs, it does contain sugar which is not healthy for your pet.

Dogs can occasionally ingest small amounts of sugar and be fine, but it can be dangerous for dogs to eat large amounts at once or over time.

How Sugar Affects Dogs

Can dogs eat Swedish Fish candy?
Delicious and deceptively dangerous.

According to Wikipedia, Swedish Fish contains sugar, invert sugar, and corn syrup among other ingredients. That all adds up to a whole lot of sweetness.

When dogs eat sugar, the sugar molecules can draw the water from the dog’s cells, leading to a buildup of water.

This buildup may keep a dog from drinking enough, which can cause an electrolyte imbalance, especially with sodium. Too much sugar can be toxic.

Sugar can also cause problems like vomiting and diarrhea due to messing up the microorganism balance in the gut. While these are not fatal, a little candy is not worth your dog being miserable. That’s not counting the cleanup you will have to do as well.

Sugar can also cause teeth cavities and weight gain- both huge (no pun intended) problems for canines.

The sugar in candies is used by bacteria in the mouth to produce acids. These acids then eat away at the enamel and coating of the teeth, leading to decay.

Prolonged weight gain will eventually lead to problems like metabolic changes, obesity and diabetes- issues that could negatively affect your dog for the rest of its life.

If you give your dog one or two Swedish Fish, it’s not a big deal. Your dog should be fine. However, if your dog got into an entire bag of Swedish Fish, you will want to call the veterinarian, as this much sugar can be toxic.

Typically, when pondering to yourself, “Can dogs eat Swedish Fish?”, it’s best to err on the side of caution. A couple of sweet treats here and there probably won’t hurt, but it’s best to stick to safe dog treats.

Can dogs eat Swedish Fish? Infographic

Types of Candies Dogs Shouldn’t Eat

Assorted gummy candies including Swedish Fish, gummy bears and gummy worms
Attribution: ChildofMidnight at English Wikipedia

While dogs really shouldn’t eat most types of candies, two kinds of candy are particularly poisonous:

● Chocolate

● Candy containing xylitol

Here’s a closer look at each:

Chocolate

Even small amounts of powdered chocolate can be harmful and even fatal to dogs.

Chocolate contains a molecule called Theobromine, which is very difficult for dogs to process.

You should never give your dog chocolate and always keep it locked away in an upper cabinet so that your dog cannot get to it.

While chocolate isn’t always deadly, it can cause seizures and other problems. Dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate, and smaller dogs seem to be more affected than larger dogs.

If your dog ingests any amount of chocolate, it’s time to call the vet.

Some symptoms your dog may exhibit include nausea (as evidenced by excess drooling), vomiting, diarrhea, drinking lots of water, and a rapid heart rate.

Candy with Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener that can be found in sugar-free foods like gum, mints, and other candies.

It can also be found in some types of peanut butter, sugar-free desserts, medicines, toothpaste, and mouthwash.

When a dog ingests xylitol, it causes it to produce an increased amount of insulin. This increase can lead to hypoglycemia, which can become fatal very quickly.

It is crucial to make sure your dog does not consume anything with xylitol. Always keep any of these items and other harmful foods in a place where your dog cannot access it.

If you are eating candy, you may be tempted to share with your dog, especially if he’s sitting at your feet begging. But just remember that it could be harmful to him in one way or another. Just as with humans, too much sugar can lead to problems with obesity, cavities, and diabetes.

Other Foods Dogs Shouldn’t Eat

Food that dogs can't eat infographic

Many other human foods can be harmful to dogs. Here’s a rundown of common types of foods dogs should avoid:

● Coffee or anything with caffeine has a similar effect to chocolate.

● Onions, garlic, and chives can lead to stomach problems and more serious issues.

● Raw meat is dangerous because of the bacteria, just as it is dangerous to humans.

● Grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure. Avoid food that contain them like raisin breads.

● The salt in chips or crackers can cause health problems.

Generally, you want to stick mainly to foods specifically made for dogs to eat. Click here to read more about the nine potential feeding mistakes that you can make with your dog.

Food and Candies Dogs Can Eat

While you should avoid letting your dog eat candy and other foods with sugar, there are some human foods that are safe for dogs. Just remember that dogs should eat most human foods in moderation.

Some treats your dog may enjoy include cooked eggs, meats, fish, plain popcorn, apple slices and peanut butter (as long as it does not contain xylitol).

Just remember, if you still catch yourself wondering whether dogs can eat Swedish Fish: while a few are not toxic, it is best to avoid excess amounts of sugar.

How to Train a Dog Not to Eat Forbidden Foods

If you want to train your dog not to eat forbidden foods, the first step is not to give it any human foods.

Dogs cannot discern which foods are safe and unsafe, so the only way you can prevent your dog from eating something dangerous is only to allow your dog to eat foods from a specific bowl. Use positive reinforcement to make the behavior a habit.

You may also train your dog to receive treats in a particular manner. For example, your dog may have to sit in a certain spot and wait for you to give a treat. This process reinforces the idea that foods should only be eaten in certain contexts.

You must remember that your dog is still an animal, and if something is left out, it may be too tempting to resist. Your safest route is to keep all foods, especially dangerous ones, in an area your dog cannot reach.

What to Do if a Dog Eats Something Unsafe

In the event your dog eats something unsafe, your first step is to call the veterinarian. A veterinarian can give you the best advice about what to do to help your dog.

If the dog ate something out of a package, be sure to keep the package so that you can check the ingredients and get an idea of how much your dog ate.

Activated charcoal can be beneficial as a first-response option when dogs have eaten toxic substances. It can ensure that the poison isn’t absorbed by the body and is instead safely passed through excretion.

You will likely need to monitor your dog for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, excess drooling, and other abnormal behaviors. If you see any of these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately.

In Summary

One of life’s biggest mysteries has always been, “Can dogs eat Swedish Fish?” Today, here at Joy Pet Products, it’s finally been solved.

While dogs technically can eat Swedish Fish, the sugar content contained inside the candy definitely isn’t ideal for them. Dogs really don’t need sugar in their diets, and too much of it will cause an electrolyte imbalance and result in problems like vomiting and diarrhea.

If your dog is hankering for a treat, there are much safer options that you can give them such as apple slices and peanut butter.

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