Can dogs eat jelly beans? Everything You Need to Know

No, dogs cannot eat jellybeans. Jelly beans may contain extremely harmful ingredients that are lethal to your dogs. Some varieties of jelly beans are safer to consume than others. But a high amount of sugar and added artificial flavors make them entirely unsuitable for your pet’s consumption.

What are jelly beans?

Jelly beans are bean-shaped sugar-coated candies containing a thick interior gel within a soft candy shell. They are available in a wide variety of flavors for consumption and are manufactured by different brands. Jelly beans are made of sugar, tapioca or corn syrup, and pectin or starch. They may also include minor amounts of the emulsifying agent lecithin, anti-foaming agents, an edible wax such as carnauba wax or beeswax, salt, and confectioner’s glaze. Additionally, the inclusion of other ingredients varies depending on the flavor.

The origin of Jelly beans can be traced back to 1861 when Boston candy maker William Schraff urged people to send his jelly beans to Union soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Later, the consumption of jelly beans became a widespread American treat in the early 20th Century. Further, jelly beans were most popularly associated with Easter due to the egg shape of these candies. Following this, National Jelly Beans Day is celebrated every year on 22nd April in the United States.  

Are jelly beans Safe for Dogs? 

Jelly beans are not safe for your dogs to consume. They are usually made up of artificial dyes and synthetic compounds that may lead to allergic reactions or irritability in pets. Additionally, some varieties of jelly beans may contain xylitol which is highly toxic to your canine.               

Why are jelly beans bad for dogs? 

According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Food Database, 100g serving of jelly beans contains 


From the table above, it is clear that jelly beans are devoid of nutritional value and are a terrible choice of treat for your buddy. Further, the danger of consuming jelly beans depends on their ingredients. Although some of these ingredients pose only a minor threat, others might have a more severe impact. Some of the harmful components include:

  • xylitol 
  • caffeine 
  • pectin or starch 
  • sugar 
  • flavorings 

Xylitol: Also known as Sugar Alcohol, xylitol is an artificial sweetener used to substitute sugar. Sugar-free jelly beans contain xylitol which, when consumed by dogs, get rapidly absorbed into their bloodstream. As a result, your dog’s pancreas releases a lot of insulin, causing a sudden drop in the blood sugar level. This condition is referred to as hypoglycemia. 

The symptoms of hypoglycemia from xylitol toxicity are: 

  • vomiting 
  • excessive drooling 
  • seizures 
  • coma 
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Liver failure 
  • Drowsiness 
  • loss of consciousness or slow to respond

Since xylitol toxicity can also lead to death, it is considered a medical emergency. Hence, if you suspect your pet of consuming any food containing xylitol, it is best to reach out to your vet immediately. Additionally, in some cases, a dog may not exhibit any symptoms of xylitol toxicity until the consumed food is digested. 

Caffeine: Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, cacao plants, carbonated drinks, energy drinks, and medicines. Caffeine comes from theobromine which is a chemical toxin known to cause chocolate toxicity in dogs. A few jellybean brands add caffeine that incites the central nervous system, increasing the heart rate and causing hyperactivity. Moreover, it gets absorbed into your dog’s gut within 45 minutes and exhibits symptoms only after a couple of hours. Hence, it is recommended to seek your vet’s guidance when you know your canine has consumed caffeine.  

The symptoms of caffeine toxicity are: 

  • restlessness 
  • shaking 
  • seizures 
  • high body temperature (hyperthermia) 
  • fast heartbeat 
  • abnormal reaction to touch or movement around them

If consumed in larger doses, caffeine toxicity can result in death. 

Pectin or starch: 

Pectin is a type of starch often used in candies to give a jelly-like consistency. Pectin eases diarrhea in dogs when fed in smaller quantities. However, if consumed too much, it may cause constipation and stomach upset in dogs. 


One of the significant ingredients in candies is their sugar content. While sugar by itself is not toxic, prolonged over-consumption may cause severe diseases in your canine. The effect of sugar consumption in dogs may have short- or long-term implications; they include:

Short term effects of sugar consumption: 

The immediate aftermath of consuming sugar is that it disrupts a dog’s digestive health, which leads to restlessness, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Long-term effect of sugar consumption:

  •  Obesity
  • Stressed joints due to weight gain
  • Dental problems due to tooth decay
  • Arthritis 
  • Diabetes.

Artificial Colors or Flavors 

Jelly beans are available in various flavors and colors. These may be derived artificially or naturally. Although artificial colors give vibrant colors to jelly beans, these can cause an allergic reaction in dogs and may upset their tummies. In addition, some jelly beans may contain risky natural fruit or vegetable juice concentrates like grapes, which are toxic for dogs.

What if my dog ate jelly beans?

If your canine consumes one or two jelly beans without xylitol, it will not have any harmful effect on him. However, suppose your pet swallows a little more than that. In that case, he may develop a mild digestive disturbance due to the sugar content. Watch out for symptoms like:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea.  
  • A sudden withdrawal
  • Play bow stretch indicating pain in the stomach. 

If you notice any of the above symptoms, ensure to give him plenty of water to drink to avoid dehydration. You can help ease your canine’s stomach upset by holding him off of food for about 12 hours for his gut to settle down. Once this is done, you can feed him a bland diet such as boiled ground beef and rice or 75% cooked white rice and 25% boiled chicken for three days which will help alleviate his symptoms. If this does not work, you can finally offer a capsule of counter probiotics known as Culturelle after food from the regular pharmacy. If you notice any symptoms of toxicity in your dog, ensure to contact your vet immediately. 

How Many Jelly Beans to Feed Your Dog? 

It is always a good idea to keep your dog away from food products like jelly beans. However, as accidental consumption is bound to occur, buying a product with the least harmful ingredients is better. 

If you enjoy sharing your snack time with your pet, then have a dog-safe treat handy to share with your pup as you eat your jelly beans. Although your canine may refuse to eat the alternative treat, he may realize and may resort to your offer.

Alternative to Jelly Beans

Since jelly beans contain a high amount of sugar, it is better to feed your pet with treats containing a natural sugar source.  Some of the sugary alternatives that nutritionally benefit dogs include:

  • Honey— Contains antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
  • Blackstrap molasses — This natural sweetener contains manganese, vitamin B6, selenium, iron, calcium, and potassium.
  • Fruits: These contain fructose, a natural source of sugar. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some of the fruits you can feed your canine includes:
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Berries
  • Maple syrup — Derived from tree sap, this natural sweetener contains a higher concentration of minerals, such as zinc and manganese. This syrup reduces inflammation and boosts your buddy’s immune health. 

Homemade Recipe

You can also prepare a sugary, dog-friendly snack for your buddy who craves sugar. 

Maple dog treats

-Makes 24 treats


  • ½ cup plain rolled oats
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • Three tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • Three tablespoons low-sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
  • Two egg whites


  1. Mix the rolled oats and flour in a bowl.
  2. To this mixture, add all the liquid ingredients to get a thick batter.
  3. Drop the batter with a teaspoon on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Flatten the dropped batter with the back of a greased spoon.
  5. For about 15 minutes, bake the treats at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Cool the treats and offer them to your buddy.

Serve these sweet treats moderately by limiting them to a week or two and include many fresh veggies and lean meats instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Licorice Jelly Beans? 

Yes, dogs can have licorice jelly beans in moderation. However, when fed in more significant quantities, they increase your pet’s blood pressure levels. 

Can Dogs Eat Jelly Belly Jelly Beans? 

No, Dogs should not eat jelly belly jelly beans as they contain a high amount of sugar. 

Can Dogs Eat Jolly Rancher Jelly Bean?

No, Dogs should not eat rancher jelly beans as they contain artificial flavors and colors. 

Can Dogs Eat Starburst Jelly Bean?

No, dogs should not eat starburst jelly beans as they also contain artificial flavors and colors. 

Can Dogs Eat Grape Jelly and Tabasco Flavored Jelly Beans? 

No, dogs cannot eat grape jelly, and tabasco flavored jelly beans as they contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs. 


As jellybeans contain harmful ingredients, it is not a good idea to share one of them with your pet. However, if your sugar craving canine wishes to satisfy his palette, consider serving him the alternative natural sugary snacks to benefit his health.

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