Can Dogs Eat Brown Sugar?

Dogs can consume brown sugar. However, pet owners are advised not to give it to their furry friends as the overall long-term effects can be fatal. The high glucose content in sugar can cause stomach upset in dogs when consumed in large amounts. To keep your canine healthy, avoid introducing it to their diet.

What is Brown Sugar?

It is a mix of molasses and granulated sugar. It is a common sweetener in most baked goods, for example, cookies and cakes. Brown sugar has a distinctive brown color, and it is either partially refined or unrefined.

Should Dogs Eat Brown Sugar?

Humans have around 9000 taste buds compared to dogs’ 1700. Therefore, your pup’s sense of taste is strong and it can feel the sweetness of brown sugar as you do.

As a result, brown sugar can quickly become your furry friend’s favorite treat. However, it is not advisable to make it part of a dog’s diet or treats.

Though not toxic, sugar has been associated with diabetes and obesity for ages. If your dog has a habit of consuming brown sugar, it will be converted and stored as fat, causing obesity.

For its energy needs, your dog can instead have natural sugar from dog-safe fruits. Though brown sugar seems like a natural sugar as it is not processed, it contains high amounts of sucrose and is not safe in large amounts.

What Happens if my Dog Eats Brown Sugar?


A dog who consumes brown sugar can develop severe stomach upset. A dog’s liver does not easily break down fructose and sucrose in sugar. The toxicity buildup of sugar can lead to your canine’s death.

If your dog accidentally consumes large quantities of brown sugar, rush to the vet for immediate treatment.

Below are the effects of brown sugar on dogs:

Sugar Rush

If you are used to giving your dog treats such as cookies made with brown sugar, you will notice them becoming hyperactive. Sugar rush causes hyperactivity and can lead to your dog destroying household items.

The solution to hyperactivity is handing your dog a bowl of water. This will significantly reduce the sugar rush.


Canine obesity occurs when dogs consume too much sugar, which ends up not being used by their bodies. The excessive sugars in their bodies get stored as fat, leading to their weight increase. Obesity is also known to cause heart-related diseases. Moreover, obesity makes it difficult for a dog to breathe due to excess fats in the upper abdominal area.

Uncontrolled weight gain also leads to increased pressure on a dog’s joints, making them get arthritis.

If your dog has a life-threatening disease, it will be best for it not to pack extra weight as its quality of life will be affected.

Related: Best Weight Loss Dog Food 2022


It is common for dogs to be affected by cavities, just like humans. Dogs produce bacteria that set off the digestion of sugar in their mouths.

During digestion, the bacteria produce acid that can erode teeth when not properly cleaned.

Over-consumption of brown sugar can lead to dogs developing cavities as their teeth are rarely cleaned. Cavities are painful as the acid bores deep into a tooth’s root.

Stomach Upset

Small amounts of brown sugar when making treats for your dog isn’t toxic. Regularly feeding your dog sugary treats will overwhelm the balance of microorganisms responsible for the digestion process making your dog vomit or have diarrhea.

What Would Happen if a Diabetic Dog Consumes Brown Sugar?

Consumption of brown sugar by diabetic dogs will cause a rise in blood sugar levels. When this happens, your dog must get medical as soon as possible. A diabetic dog will experience the following symptoms after consuming brown sugar:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cataracts
  • Dehydration

Healthy Alternatives

If you want your dog to have a sweet treat for them to enjoy occasionally, you might opt for the following healthier alternatives to brown sugar:


Dogs will consume mostly anything they see their pet owner regularly eating. If you have fruits in your house, such as bananas and apples, you can serve your Fido a few pieces for it to enjoy.


Most pet stores have sweet sugar-free pet treats with lots of nutritional value. A safe snack for your dog depends on the ingredients used to prepare it. If you consider making homemade treats for your dog, you can always substitute brown sugar with safer and healthier alternatives.


A bit of brown sugar occasionally isn’t harmful when you decide to spoil your dog. But if you keep giving your dog sugary treats, you will be putting them at serious health risk and affecting their general quality of life. If your dog has a sweet tooth, consider natural sources of sugar such as fruits.

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