Some dogs will beg and plead for human treats, especially when they see you munching. Most pet owners like giving their hounds tidbits or table scraps of their human food, which can be dangerous to their health and well-being.
We understand that you adore your furry companion and want to share all the good things with your pup. But before you give your Fido that vanilla cookie, you should stop and find out if it’s safe. The last thing you want to do is rush your dog to the ER because you fed them a vanilla treat.
The good thing is your Fido can eat vanilla but only in its purest form.
Did You Know?
An elusive and delicious spice, vanilla adds that extra kick to our cookies, cakes, ice cream, yogurt, muffins, and cocktails. The spice is sourced from the fruit of the vanilla orchid. Did you know that only one bee in the entire world naturally pollinates the flower? That’s why it comes second to saffron which is the most expensive spice on earth.
There are four distinct vanillas Bourbon vanilla, Indonesian vanilla, Mexican vanilla, and Tahitian vanilla.
Vanilla can be used in a variety of ways, including:
Vanilla beans: Each vanilla pod has many tiny dark seeds. The pods are harvested while still unripe and drowned in hot water, and then laid out to dry for up to six months. The seeds are then scraped out to be used as a potent vanilla flavoring. The flavor in a single vanilla bean is similar to 2-3 teaspoons of pure extract.
Vanilla powder: This is vanilla beans ground into flour. It’s often mixed with sugar or maltodextrin, but rich varieties aren’t. You can use it in place of the extract for sprinkling or dusting baked treats.
Vanilla extract: This is the most used and most affordable type. Vanilla beans are steeped in a mixture of water and alcohol until the beans soften and become liquid. During baking, the alcohol evaporates, leaving behind a rich vanilla flavor.
Vanilla bean paste: This is an in-between product combining vanilla powder and extract. It is made by infusing the vanilla beans into a thick, sugary syrup for a strong flavor. It provides the benefits of beans’ rich smell and taste and the convenience of using an extract.
Vanilla flavoring: Like vanilla extract, the pods are soaked in propylene glycol, artificial colors, and flavors. You can add it to baked desserts where vanilla is not the main flavor.
Can My Dog Eat Vanilla?
As a dog parent, you should be concerned about what your dog eats and its consequences on their health. As we mentioned, vanilla is a popular spice used in a variety of foods. So, can pups eat vanilla? Yes, they can. However, you’ll have to be wary about feeding your hound some forms of vanilla since these can be toxic to them.
Vanilla beans, vanilla pods, and vanilla powder are not intrinsically toxic to your pup, but they are not nutritious. The extract, essence, and flavoring have a high alcohol content and can harm your dog. The severity of the effects will depend on your dog’s genetics, size, age, health condition, weight, and physical fitness.
While sweet treats like cakes, muffins, and cookies are unlikely to contain enough vanilla extract to cause a health problem (only a few drops are added when baking), feeding your Fido sweet deserts is discouraged. The high sugar content can cause bowel irritation, obesity, pancreatitis, and diabetes. Even worse is xylitol, an artificial sweetener common in desserts and sweet snacks but very toxic to dogs.
Will Vanilla Hurt Your Dog?
If your canine companion ingests a significant amount of sweet treats with vanilla extract or drowns an entire bottle, this can lead to severe health effects and, in extreme cases, be life-threatening. Vanilla extract has around 35% alcohol content.
Unlike humans, dogs’ livers cannot process alcohol, so a tiny amount can lead to alcohol toxicity. The effects start showing within 30 to 60 minutes and range from mild to severe. Signs of vanilla poisoning in your furry companion include:
- Slow heart rate
Many sweet and savory vanilla treats include sugar. Excess sugar, although not toxic, can be tough on your pooch, leading to obesity, diabetes, pancreatitis, and dental health issues. Most baked goods also include dairy, which can cause stomach upsets.
As mentioned above, a worse ingredient in baked foods is xylitol, an artificial sweetener. It is highly toxic to dogs, even in tiny amounts and can lead to seizures, dangerously low blood pressure, liver failure, ataxia, and even death in dogs.
We don’t recommend giving your dog vanilla extract or processed foods with vanilla and artificial sweeteners. Although some pet owners may argue that a small amount cannot harm your dog, this is not the case for every canine. Some dogs may have underlying health conditions that may be worsened by alcohol and xylitol.
What To Do If Your Fido Eats Vanilla?
If you know your furry best friend has ingested vanilla extract, you need to be aware of the steps to follow to safeguard the health and well-being of your fur baby.
Here’s a guide on what to do when your dog ingests vanilla extract or flavoring:
Identify The Food Ingested
Find out what your dog has eaten and if it is vanilla beans, pods, essence, powder, extract, or flavoring. Try to figure out how much vanilla was consumed. You should be more concerned if your dog ingested vanilla extract since it’s the most toxic.
The best way to induce vomiting is by using a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Use a tablespoon for every 10 pounds of canine weight. Your dog will vomit within 15 minutes. Do not overdo this process because too much hydrogen peroxide can cause ulcers in dogs.
We recommend you consult your vet before inducing vomiting at home. Once your dog vomits, let them rest for about 15 minutes before offering any food.
Visit The Vet Clinic
You should call the vet clinic as soon as possible when your dog ingests vanilla extract. Your vet will have you bring in your dog and monitor its vital organs for signs of digestive and respiratory problems.
If your dog is not yet showing symptoms of alcohol poisoning, your vet will induce vomiting. But for severe cases, the veterinarian will administer more advanced treatment, including anti-seizure medication and intubation.
How Can I Safely Feed My Dog Vanilla?
If you must feed your dog vanilla, we recommend feeding your furry friend with the purest form. You can whip up a pup-friendly homemade ice cream using peanut butter, natural yogurt, and pure vanilla (pods, beans, powder, or flavoring made with glycerin).
Make sure your peanut butter is 100% natural and does not contain xylitol. This will offer your Fido a refreshing sweet delight, especially during the scorching summer. You can make plenty of canine-friendly treats using organic vanilla, from cookies to yogurt.
What’s The Verdict? Is Vanilla Safe For My Dog?
In its pure form, vanilla is unlikely to cause any significant health issues to your dog. However, the exotic flavor offers no benefit to your pup.
You should avoid giving alcohol-based vanilla extracts to your dog and opt for an imitation vanilla extract made of vegetable glycerin.
Although not all forms of vanilla are toxic to your pup, it is best to totally avoid giving them to your dog to prevent any fatal consequences. So, next time you’re munching on your favorite brand of vanilla cookies, you are better off resisting those puppy eyes.