Can dogs have sugar-free pudding?

We are our dogs’ caretakers, and we want to not only take care of them but make them happy. That means we want to treat them sometimes. We indulge in pudding, so we think our dogs will like it, too, but we need to stop and remember that dogs are different from us.

Dogs cannot eat everything that we can. Many of the simple things we eat and take for granted are poisonous for our dogs. Can we feed our dogs pudding? What about sugar-free pudding? Let’s take a look at the facts.

Can dogs have sugar-free pudding?

No one can stop you from giving your dog sugar-free pudding, but you should be aware that it contains xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is poisonous to dogs. Maybe a bite or two isn’t enough to make your dog terribly sick, but if your dog eats enough sugar-free pudding, it could end up with him getting extremely ill or even dying.

Should dogs have sugar-free pudding?

Your dog absolutely should not have sugar-free pudding. Pudding with xylitol is very unhealthy for your dog, and further, it’s poisonous. Here is what can happen if your dog eats sugar-free pudding.

Xylitol causes low blood sugar in dogs.

Unlike in humans, xylitol causes a dog’s pancreas to release a lot of insulin at once which causes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and it can happen within an hour. 

The brain always requires glucose. It cannot store it, but it requires a steady supply. For this reason, it is paramount that hypoglycemia is treated immediately. It is a dangerous condition that can become a mortal one.

If your dog is suffering from low blood sugar, you may see such symptoms as increased hunger or loss of appetite, even anorexia, blurred vision or other vision issues, disorientation, lethargy, weakness, anxiety, restlessness, tremors, shivering, heart palpitations, loss of consciousness, and rarely, seizures.

These symptoms are not exclusive to hypoglycemia but can also be signs of other medical issues you are not yet aware of. The only way to diagnose for certain whether your dog has hypoglycemia is to measure the level of glucose in your dog’s blood sugar.

Xylitol causes acute liver failure in dogs.

Xylitol also causes liver failure in dogs. This condition doesn’t usually present when a dog has only ingested a small dose of the artificial sweetener, but when a dog eats a large dose for his size, it is very likely to happen. Diabetes can affect the pancreas, kidneys, and liver.

Acute hepatic (liver) failure is the medical term for the condition characterized by 70% or more loss of a dog’s liver function due to sudden, massive hepatic necrosis (death of the liver tissue).

Hepatobiliary disorders (liver, gallbladder, bile, or bile duct disorders), both primary and secondary, generally have to do with variable hepatic necrosis, but this phenomenon is uncommon. Acute liver failure, in this condition, first presents as vomiting.

Is sugar-free pudding bad for dogs?

Sugar-free pudding is extremely bad for dogs. It contains an artificial sweetener that poisons dogs when they ingest it. We’ve discussed what can happen if your dog ingests sugar-free pudding, so now, let’s examine the answers to some other important related questions.

What are some obvious signs of xylitol poisoning?

The signs of xylitol poisoning include weakness, vomiting, lethargy, unsteadiness, tremors, and in the worst cases, seizures and coma. The onset of some of these symptoms can occur within 60 minutes of ingestion, and most of them are symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The latter symptoms occur most often in severe cases and are usually signs of liver failure.

How is xylitol diagnosed and treated by my veterinarian?

If you suspect your dog has ingested more than a minuscule amount of xylitol for his size, you need to consult your vet immediately. Tell him all the facts about what you believe your dog ate.

He will make a presumptive diagnosis and treat your dog for xylitol poisoning because the condition calls for urgency, as dogs that present with liver failure may not show any signs of low blood sugar first. 

What is a dog’s prognosis of recovering from xylitol poisoning?

While there is no antidote for xylitol poisoning, dogs have a good chance of recovering from xylitol poisoning if they are treated early on. In dogs that get hypoglycemia in which the cases are not compounded by other issues, the condition is easily remedied, but once liver failure presents, a dog’s fate can go either way. He may recover rather quickly or may require treatment until he dies.

What do I do if my dog eats sugar-free pudding?

Sugar-free pudding is not good for your dog, but what should you do if he has already eaten it. Is it a true emergency? Here is what to do if your dog ingests sugar-free pudding.

How do I assess whether my dog may have xylitol poisoning?

If your dog eats sugar-free pudding, first, you must assess how much he could have eaten. How much did he have access to, and how much is gone? Now, consider your dog’s size. If you have no idea what your dog might weigh, do an internet search for “average weight of (your dog’s breed)”. The smaller your dog, the less xylitol he can ingest before suffering xylitol poisoning.

What should I do if my dog ingests xylitol?

You will need to know the information above before calling the Pet Poison Helpline at 1(800)213-6680. The Pet Poison Helpline is an animal poison control center that’s on-call all day, every day of the year. Take no action at all until you talk to them. Inducing vomiting can actually make matters worse in the case of xylitol poisoning.

Pet Poison Helpline is an independent entity that exists just to keep pets safe. They do charge $65 per incident, but that does include follow-up consultations throughout each poisoning case. For more information about the Pet Poison Helpline, go to www.petpoisonhelpline.com. There is also an Animal Poison Control Center run by the ASPCA. They charge $75. Their phone number is 1(888)426-4435.

How can I prevent my dog from ingesting xylitol?

There are important steps you can take to prevent your dog from getting xylitol poisoning. One is to never subject him to xylitol. It’s hard, considering that xylitol is hidden in more than just sugar-free pudding. You can find it hidden in baked treats, candy, pancake syrups, ketchup, barbecue sauces, chewable vitamins, gum, and more, so be extremely careful when giving your dog people foods. You may think you’re being spoiling him when you’re actually hurting him.

The second is to keep these things out of reach. Dogs are like small children. If they can get into it, they are going to, so make sure they can’t. Keep baked goods in the cupboard, sauces in the fridge, chewable vitamins in the medicine cabinet, and gum, well, somewhere safe where it won’t fall out where he can get to it.

Another thing you should do is make others aware of what you want your dog fed. If you have a dog-walker or dog-sitter, or if you just have to leave your dog with your brother overnight, make it clear to them what you do and do not want your dog fed while in their care. This way, there will be no question in their minds whether they can feed these types of snacks.