My dog ate Skittles! Here is what you should know

Skittles are probably one of the most versatile candies out in the market. Irrespective of what your tastebuds are like, chances are there is a variety of Skittles that you enjoy eating. I was personally a huge fan of tangy skittles as a child, and I still am. Thankfully though, my parents were very strict when it came to candy consumption, so I never even had enough for myself, let alone for my dog. My dog was also much more fond of the outdoors and hardly ever came inside. But hey, everyone isn’t as lucky as I have been. Many of us have naughty pets that wouldn’t even take a second and put anything they lay their eyes on straight into their mouths. What if you left an unattended pack of skittles on your table, and to your absolute horror, came back to find your dog munching on them? Should you be running to the vet? Or should you instead be very, very mad at your dog for stealing your candy?

Pick up your car keys and your doggy, and take it to the vet, of course. You can always be mad at it later, but safety comes first. Strictly speaking, although skittles are not toxic for dogs per se, they are a sugary candy and can make your dog sick. Another thing when it comes to pets is that if you’re in doubt about their safety, it is always better to just take an expert’s opinion.

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What ingredients do skittles contain? Are any of them toxic to your dog? What exactly should you do both immediately, as well as over the long run if your dog has been eating skittles? Don’t have the answers to any of these questions? Don’t worry. That is exactly what I am here for. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be well prepared to tackle any Skittles related pooch emergencies and would also be more vigilant and careful in the future.

What are Skittles and what do they contain?

Seriously, if I have to answer the first part of the question for you, you have definitely been living under a rock. I have never met a person who does not even know what Skittles are. Ok, I will stop being mean and condescending. Skittles are a brand of small, colorful candy manufactured by Wrigleys. They come in small packets with many candies inside and are marketed in a variety of different flavors.

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Strictly speaking, Skittles do not contain any ingredient that may be toxic to dogs. They do, however, contain large quantities of processed sugars and food colors, which can be hazardous to both humans as well as dogs. Yes, neither you nor your dog should be eating them. Just send them all to my address.

How much of Skittles will be dangerous for my dog?

Any amount of Skittles is not good for your dog, obviously. However, exactly how much would make them sick or in immediate danger is hard to say. If you have a small dog, for instance, even eating a few pieces of Skittles might make it very sick. If you have a larger dog, it may eat quite a few before you realize what has happened. It may even tolerate the candy completely, and you may not find out what has happened until you get a Skittles craving yourself and find an empty packet.

What symptoms should I be on the lookout for if I think my dog ate Skittles?

Some of the immediate symptoms may be so obvious you won’t really have to look out for them. If your dog was fine just an hour ago, and is now puking a colorful puke, or has suddenly started having loose stools, you should check your candy stock to make sure it hasn’t eaten some.

I will be a lot more concerned about the candy wrapper than the candy itself. As long as I can find the packet, even if it is empty, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief. Skittles packets are small and can cause choking or intestinal obstruction in your dog. The candy itself can lead to stomach upset, bloating, and cramps, since sugar is a strong laxative.

My dog seems to be choking, and the wrapper is nowhere to be found

Immediately, put your hand carefully inside your dog’s mouth and see if you can fish the wrapper out. If you can’t, see if your dog is

  • coughing
  • struggling to breathe or choking
  • pawing at its mouth or head
  • becoming unresponsive

Any of the above may be a sign that your dog is choking, and is in an emergency. If the dog is small or medium sized, pick it up from its hind legs (the paws at the back). If the dog is larger and heavier, no need to pick it up. Proceed to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre. This would involve you positioning your hands over your dog’s stomach, just below its ribs, and applying five forward forced thrusts. Immediately afterward, put your hand in its mouth and sweep to remove any objects. This manoeuvre is generally very effective in dislodging foreign bodies from the respiratory passages. Once your dog appears to be out of immediate danger, rush it to the nearest vet immediately.

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My dog eats Skittles regularly, and he seems fine

Just because it looks fine doesn’t necessarily mean that it is fine. You should refrain from giving any candy or other processed sugars to your dog. Even if your dog does tolerate the small treats that you’re giving it off and on, it can cause many problems in the long run. Firstly, eating sugar can cause obesity and dental problems, just as in humans. Secondly, it can cause metabolic and hormonal disturbances, even leading to overt diabetes, which may initially show no symptoms at all. Sometimes, by the time you find out your dog has diabetes, it has already caused significant damage. So if your dog has been eating skittles, you need to schedule an appointment with its vet immediately.

What have we learned from this discussion?

Hopefully, that Skittles, and any other candy, for that matter, is not good for your dog. While even humans should be careful with their candy intake, it can be far more dangerous for pets. Some candies may even contain ingredients that are overtly toxic and may put your dog’s life in danger. For this reason, one really shouldn’t make it a habit to share candy and sugary treats with dogs. In case your dog has ended up having skittles though, you should

  • ensure it is not in any immediate danger like choking
  • if it is choking, perform a Heimlich manoeuvre
  • take your dog immediately to the vet once the life-threatening danger has been dealt with
  • keep an eye out for stomach upset, bloating and cramps
  • for future reference, keep all candy, small wrappers and other things that can choke your dog out of its reach

Your dog may be much happier receiving a bone or some canned fish as a doggy treat than it would with Skittles anyway. So, try to reserve Skittles for yourself, and always pet-proof your surroundings if you have a pet to avoid any accidents from happening.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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