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Can Dogs Have Grape Jelly?

All dog owners know their puppy’s tricks and the way they’ll look at you when you have food in your hand. The phrase “puppy dog eyes” is not an understatement — it’s hard to say “no” when your little friend is begging for your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Dogs cannot have grape jelly and should not consume treats that contain sugar. Dogs are not able to process sugar in the same way as humans. Since grape jelly is full of processed sugar, it can be highly toxic for dogs, and it can lead to dehydration, diabetes, or even death.

We have to be very careful about the food we give to our furry pets. It’s easy to give them small snacks from the dinner table, but you have to know what is safe for them to consume. To find out more about keeping your dog safe from unhealthy foods, read on.

Dogs, Sugar, and Grapes

Treats are often used in training sessions, but the right type of treat ensures that your dog learns while staying healthy. 

There are a range of healthy dog treats available on the market, but not everyone can afford the more expensive prices. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you should feed your dog food from your kitchen table.

There are many food items that dogs should not eat. While sugar is not the worst thing that they can consume, dogs can only have certain types of sugar. Dogs can have natural fructose from fruit — everything except grapes — but they cannot have processed sugar or xylitol (source).

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar, but it differs from fructose. It is extracted from birch and corncobs and is often used as a sweetener in various types of candies and even toothpaste. However, if dogs eat xylitol, especially in higher quantities, they can suffer from liver failure.

Dogs should also avoid processed sugar in any form, whether it has been baked, cooked, or is all-natural. While a minuscule amount of sugar should not make dogs very sick, small amounts will have a similar effect on dogs as on humans.

Humans are prone to cavities, weight gain, and diabetes when too much sugar is consumed. In the same way, dogs also suffer from these negative effects, and these issues can worsen and become far bigger problems over time. 

Weight gain can cause arthritis in dogs, and cavities can cause other oral issues, which can be very painful for your pets. Dogs are also far more likely to become diabetic, and managing diabetes is a long-term responsibility.

Additionally, while most fruits are a good source of natural sugar, grapes have a toxic substance that can cause kidney failure in dogs (source). 

Scientists have not been able to identify the exact substance, but it is also contained within raisins. Any type of natural grape jelly also carries the risk of being toxic to your furry friend.

Organic grape jelly generally has three basic ingredients: grapes, sugar, and pectin. Pectin is extracted from the cell walls of fruits and vegetables. This starch allows jellies to gel without the use of gelatin. This also makes jelly vegan. 

However, not all producers use pectin, and some may substitute it for gelatin, another common gelling agent in food production. And while gelatin is actually good for your dog, jelly is off-limits.

Other sugary foods can also be harmful to your dogs. To understand the toxic effects of baked goods on dogs, read “Can Dogs have Donuts?

Image by Chris Benson via Unsplash

Dogs and Gelatin

Most jellies are made with gelatin. This substance gives jelly its texture, shape, and wobble. Gelatin can come from a variety of sources, but most sources come from animals, including cows (bovine), pigs (porcine), and fish. 

Gelatin is very healthy for dogs, especially older ones suffering from arthritis. Since joints start to wear thin as dogs grow older, gelatin supplements are ideal for slowing down the effects of arthritis and assisting in a host of health issues.

Wild animals get gelatin from their natural diet when they eat bones, skin, and cartilage. Most pet owners do not feed their animals these food items, so dogs are more likely to lack gelatin in their diet.

Gelatin can improve your dog’s health in several ways. Doctors have found that glycine, an amino acid contained in gelatin, has anti-inflammatory properties and can assist in protecting the brain tissue.

Since many dogs are allergic or do not react well to gluten, gelatin also allows dogs to process grains like barley and oats. Gelatin can also help with stomach function, including irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea (source).

Since gelatin is so helpful and healthy for dogs, why can’t they have the gelatin in grape jelly?

Unfortunately, the sugar contained in grape jelly, along with the potentially toxic flavoring, makes grape jelly a harmful treat for your dogs. That does not mean that they cannot have gelatine in other forms, though.

As long as the gelatin is unflavoured, it can be mixed into or sprinkled on top of the food they eat if it is wet food. For those of you who have some experience in the kitchen, you can even create your own easy gelatine treats for your dogs.

Keeping Your Dog Safe from Dangerous Foods

Since dogs don’t have the same logical processes that humans do, they cannot understand that certain foods are harmful to them, especially when they taste as good as candy.

The best way to keep your dog safe is prevention, especially at high-risk times of the year, such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Chocolate is just as toxic as xylitol and grapes, so keep those boxes away from your furry friend.

If you are giving out candy during Halloween, keep the bowl out of reach of your dog. Be a little more vigilant with candy wrappers as well, and do not allow your dogs to get into your trash.

If you have children in the house, especially younger ones, teach them about why dogs aren’t allowed to have candy. This might be an unexpected lesson, but while sharing their candy with sisters and brothers is good, sharing with the dog can be harmful.

Helping Your Dogs if They’ve Ingested Jelly

Since our dogs are naturally curious animals, and some are prone to eating whatever they can find, accidents are bound to happen. If you mistakenly left out a packet of jelly beans that your dog scarfed down, there are things you can do.

Signs of Accidental Ingestion

Unfortunately, we cannot watch our dogs all the time, and they may ingest something harmful to them. There are different signs you can watch for, depending on the substance.

Xylitol and Sugar

If you are certain that your dog ate an unhealthy substance like sugar or xylitol, watch for signs of distress. If your dog starts to show symptoms, you’ll need to take them to the vet immediately. In the case where a large amount of xylitol was ingested, get medical attention right away.

Several symptoms indicate that your dog may have eaten something harmful. Within half an hour, your dog will start vomiting. Xylitol also causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop rapidly, which will show in your dog’s balance and coordination.

In an untreated case of xylitol poisoning, dogs can collapse or develop seizures. In extreme cases, ingestion can even cause liver failure.

Ingesting sugar does not affect dogs as rapidly as xylitol does. Symptoms of high blood sugar include hyperactivity followed by lethargy and red eyes. If a lot of sugar is consumed in a small amount of time, vomiting and diarrhea are more common (source).

Long-term symptoms that indicate too much sugar consumption include weight gain and urinary tract infections. A consistent diet of sugary treats will also increase the chances of diabetes.

Grapes and Raisins

There is some overlap of symptoms with the ingestion of grapes and xylitol poisoning. 

As with xylitol poisoning, dogs will show lethargy and weakness, along with vomiting and diarrhea, though these will not happen as rapidly with grapes. This is where the similarities end.

After eating grapes or raisins, dogs will experience abdominal pain. They will usually whine or show discomfort when their stomachs are touched. 

Dehydration is also a common symptom and is most obvious on a dog’s face. Dogs will pant, and their noses and mouth will be dry. This means that they will either stop urinating or urinate far less than usual. 

In response to this, dogs will try to self-regulate by drinking extra water. If dogs are not given medical treatment, they will soon develop kidney failure, which can often be fatal (source).


Since xylitol and grapes are both highly toxic for dogs, finding medical attention is paramount for their health. There are a few methods that will help to counteract the effects of the toxins, but these are not a replacement for a doctor.

In the case of sugar or xylitol ingestion, if you notice that your dog is weak or showing coordination problems, give them a little natural honey or syrup to increase their blood sugar before you take them to the vet.

If you are certain that your dog has injected grapes or raisins, seek medical attention immediately. A vet will likely recommend that you induce vomiting in your dog, depending on how many symptoms he or she is exhibiting. Afterward, take your dog to the hospital.

Final Thoughts

Dogs are man’s best friend, but they cannot do everything we do, especially when it comes to eating grape jelly, grapes, or other sugars. It’s best to teach dogs self-control around food that is not theirs so that they are less likely to consume something toxic.

Be sure to have some healthy treats that are made specifically for dogs to placate them when the puppy dog eyes come out —  and eat that grape jelly as quickly as possible.


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