Can Dogs Eat Brown Sugar?

We like to show our dogs that we love them every chance we get. Unfortunately, sometimes we show that love by feeding them things that are not good for them.

And while it’s true that dogs can eat some pretty disgusting things of their own accord, they usually know how to balance things out. Sometimes they eat grass to settle their digestive upset.

Feeding our dogs a top-quality dog food is a step along the right path to keeping our dogs healthy and happy.But we often veer off that path by feeding them table scraps.

Why should eating leftovers be a big deal, you ask? Because many human foods can be dangerous for dogs. So, if you’re handing out table scraps to your dog, you could end up making them sick!

But none of the foods that we consume is as dangerous for dogs as sugar can be. Brown or not, by letting them have sugar, you’re setting up your dog for obesity and all the problems associated with it.

Before we dive into brown sugar-related details, here’s more about the real damage table scraps can cause for pets:

Table Scraps? More Like Health Traps!

Annually, vets have to field about 17,000 emergencies related to pets consuming human food. Not only are these emergencies hard on our pets, but they’re also hard on our wallets. Typically, they can cost $250-5,000 — with the treatment becoming more expensive with increasing severity of a pet emergency.

Even if the food we normally have doesn’t become toxic to your pet, it can still cause other issues. Those include:

  1. Bloat
  2. Intestinal obstructions
  3. Obesity
  4. Diabetes

Dog parents — and their poor fur baby — pay dearly for the treatment of all such issues! But that isn’t even the highest cost you can end up paying. Many frantic calls/visits to the vet because of human food-related emergencies end in tragedy. Do you think leftover food is worth the life of your pet?

What Makes Brown Sugar So Bad for your Pooch

Whether brown or not, the main component in sugar is sucrose. The only difference between the two is that white sugar is refined. Brown sugar, on the other hand, is unrefined and made with molasses. You’ll often see the latter tagged as “natural sugar.” Even though it may sound as if brown sugar would be better for your dog, it isn’t. In either state, sugar is simply sugar.

And what’s so bad about sugar? In the long run, sugar can hurt dogs. Just like we love sugary things that aren’t good for us, so do canines. Say, you give your dog a sugary treat, and they gobble it up. In such small quantities, brown sugar won’t make them immediately sick. However, they can learn to love those treats. If you keep feeding them to your dog, they can become addicted to sugar.

Additionally, anytime someone has sugary treats on hand, your dog may try to steal them. So, why expose your pet to this dangerous food in the first place? Instead, get them hooked on natural sugar from fruits. That’s because their digestive systems are capable of handling this kind of sugar. Most fruits contain fructose, and many of them aren’t harmful to your dog. Below, we list the ones safe for dogs.

What Sugar Does to Dogs

Keep reading for the harmful effect that sugar — brown and white — can have on your puppy:

Upsetting for Canine Stomachs

Consuming sugary contents in large quantities can lead to an upset stomach in dogs. Even though this is reaction lasts for a short time, it can have disastrous results. An upset stomach usually ends in vomiting and diarrhea. Both these side effects will leave a mess for you to clean. But more importantly, they can bring about dehydration. If you don’t get them to a vet, dehydration can even be fatal for dogs.

Another source of sugar-based damage would be the microorganisms in the dog’s GI tract. Your dog’s digestive system only works properly when if the said microorganism population remains balanced. Increasing sugar intake can upset that balance. Consequently, your pet will begin pooping and throwing up.

Moreover, the vet prescribes medicines to settle canine upset stomachs. The pills can harm the already suffering microbial population in their guts.

Damaging Canine Cavities

Just as when we eat a lot of sugar, the bacterial activity in our mouth increases. The main job of these microbes is to produce acids for the first stage of digestion. Your dog’s digestive system works on the same principle. Increases acid production can erode their teeth. The outcome of this affair would be dental problems.

If you must treat your dog, do it with dog foods low in sugar content and other carbs. Here are examples of the best dog foods.

Also, brush their teeth regularly. Brushing will remove any particles stuck in between their teeth.

The Overweight Canine Problem

One of the worst things that brown sugar can do to dogs is to cause them to gain weight. All sugars come with high-calorie content, which can easily lead your dog to obesity.

Being overweight comes with its own set of problems. For one, the weight can wreak havoc on canine joints — just as it does for humans. Therefore, you can expect your pooch to develop joint issues. Another reason that makes sugar bad for dogs is that the excess weight can make them lethargic. Some breeds, like the Husky and Labrador Retrievers, need considerable exercise to stay in shape. Therefore, if you keep feeding them sugar-laden food, you’d be compromising their good health.

Obesity is also closely linked with the development or increased risk of heart diseases. The canine body may also store excess fat along the chest wall. Thus, your overweight dog may even begin to have trouble breathing.

Introducing your Canine to Diabetes

Too much consumption of sugar can also cause diabetes. If your dog develops Type II diabetes, for instance, their pancreas may stop producing insulin — or make it in insignificant amounts. Opening the door to diabetes can reduce the quality of life for your pup even more! 

Endangering Life through Xylitol Toxicity

Natural sources, like fruits, contain sugar in the form of sucrose, which isn’t toxic to canines and can be a part of your dog’s regular diet.

But there are also synthetic forms, such as Xylitol. Usually, “sugar-free” candies and sweets are full of these artificial sugar substitutes. What’s more, Xylitol is toxic enough to be life-threatening to dogs. Consuming it can bring about a drop in canine blood sugar. In addition to that, in excessive quantities, Xylitol can even cause a dog’s liver to fail!

Other harmful effects of Xylitol overdoses include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Occasional seizures
  • Restlessness

Your Dog Ate Some Brown Sugar — When to Start Panicking

Provided that your dog didn’t down a 10-pound bag of brown sugar, they’re going to be okay. The worst that usually happens is that they will get a stomach ache. But if the dog licked two cups of brown sugar or more of the stuff, your dog might end up vomiting. Should they throw up more than once, consider calling up their vet. If they stop and seem as if they could do with some nutrients, here’s how to get them to eat.

Diarrhea is another side effect of over-consuming sugar. One or two bouts of diarrhea are usually nothing to worry about. However, if they keep that going, dehydration can become a serious concern. Severe dehydration is something that you shouldn’t allow to go on. So, watch them for the next 48 hours. If they don’t improve, rush your dog to a vet.

Moreover, dogs who are extremely sensitive to sugar can end up with an inflamed pancreas. Its symptoms are lethargy and uncontrollable vomit.

Which Places to Go Looking for Brown Sugar

You might be inadvertently feeding sugar to your pooch. Because regular sugar consumption is a concern, we need to keep an eye on what we feed our dogs. Unfortunately, limiting sugar intake can be difficult.

Many dog treats and foods add sugar to their products to appeal to your dog’s sweet tooth. The use of sugar can also mask the bitter taste of some of their dog food components. Consequently, your pup can get hooked on a particular brand. Do they refuse to touch any other types of dog food? Then it’s time to pick up the packet and give the ingredients a once-over.

What good does that do? Dog food/treat companies can hide sugar in their products under other names.


Under what names will I find sugar on the list of ingredients for dog foods?

Certain terms are the names of sugar in disguise. Mostly, you won’t find it listed it as bluntly. So, learn to look for the following commonly used terms, as well:

  • Beet Pulp
  • Caramel
  • Fructose
  • Sorbitol
  • Honey
  • Corn Syrup
  • Molasses

Avoid buying dog food from brands that have these as part of the composition of their products.

Can you recommend healthier dog treat options?

Processed foods are always going to be less healthy for your dog than lightly processed ones. Instead of buying sugary doggy treats, opt for whole foods, such as fruits and veggies. Be aware that some can be harmful to your pooch. But many of them are full of delicious energy, antioxidants, and nutrients.

Some that are safe in moderation include:

  • Pumpkin
  • Carrots
  • Banana
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Most other melons, including watermelons

Peel these and remove the pits because both might contain toxins. Besides, by keeping the seeds in, you also increase the risk of creating obstructions.

What makes Blueberries a good alternative sweet treat for my fur baby?

Antioxidants keep illness and disease at bay. Blueberries are full of heart-healthy antioxidants and are a great treat for dogs. Aside from being rich sources of Vitamin C, these fruits are also full of fiber. So, they will keep your dog’s digestive system on track. Just remember to remove the seeds.

Are Apples good for dogs?

If you deseed them and remove the core, apples will be good for your dog’s digestive system. Apple skin is a constipation remedy. Other than that, apples also serve as rich sources of calcium and Vitamin C—more on these fruits here.

Can I give Pears to my dogs?

Pears make ideal sweet snacks for canines with diabetes. Since they’re also full of water, these low-calorie fruits are great for most dogs. They have high fiber and potassium contents.

What about Bananas?

Bananas are great in moderation. They, too, promote intestinal health in dogs.

Which fruits are toxic to dogs?

Don’t feed the following fruits to your pup, particularly with their skins on or leaving the pits in:

  • Grapes
  • Apricots
  • Plums
  • Peaches

Can I feed molasses to my dog then?

What is molasses? It’s the by-product of the process that lets us extract granulated sugar from sugarcane.

As mentioned before, molasses can be an ingredient in certain dog foods. Sure, it is a natural sweetener. And it contains half the amount of sucrose as granulated sugar does. But that doesn’t make it drastically different from white/brown types of sugars. In the end, all have the same parent product. More importantly, even half as much sugar is bad for your pooch. Consuming molasses will leave them in the same boat as the other types would!


Can dogs eat brown sugar? Yes, they can. But should you let them? No, because it isn’t any better than white sugar. If you keep feeding either to your pooch, you endanger them to upset stomachs. Consequently, they may start throwing up or experience diarrhea. In the long run, those treats will increase their weight. Overweight pooches are more prone to developing heart diseases, diabetes, joint problems/arthritis, and breathing difficulties.

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