My Dog Ate Starburst Candy! Is It Ok?

I have honestly lost count of the number of times I have compared dogs to children. In all honesty, it is a fair comparison to make. Anyone who has been around both would understand. Both of them find ways to create mischief when you are least expecting it, have an insatiable curiosity, way too much energy, and would put pretty much anything in their mouths. But they’re both also irresistibly cute and manage to get away with most of their shenanigans. Also, both seem to have this love for eating candy. So what if, one fine day, your dog spots a starburst candy within its reach, and gulps it down before you get the chance to get it out of its reach? Should you be panicking now?

Not necessarily. It all depends on exactly how much candy your dog managed to eat and whether it also gulped the wrappers down with the candy. This is not to say that you should completely ignore it. If your dog has eaten larger quantities, or if you notice missing wrappers, it may be potentially dangerous, and you will have to make an untimely trip to the vet.

What exactly is it about Starburst that makes it unsuitable for consumption by dogs? Some of you may not be familiar with Starburst candy but may have something very similar lying around the house within your dog’s reach. Today, I’ll run you through what it is, and what you should do in case your dog accidentally does end up eating some candy.

What is Starburst candy and what does it contain?

Starburst candy is a soft, colorful, chewy taffy candy marketed by Wrigleys. It comes in a variety of fruit flavors, including strawberry, lemon, orange, apple, banana, blueberry, blackberry, etc. So what exactly is taffy? Taffy is a soft candy made by repeatedly stretching boiled sugar, butter or oil along with added flavors and colors. Sugar is a laxative, even for humans. Don’t believe me? Stuff yourself with a big box of candy, and enjoy! Anyhow, coming to the point, the high sugar content of the taffy is what makes it bad for your dog. Secondly, the candies are individually wrapped in butter paper, and the wrappings can be a choking hazard or even cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed.

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Homemade Starburst Candy (Video)

How much of Starburst will be dangerous for my dog?

I really can’t give you a value here, unfortunately. If you have a small dog, even eating just a few pieces might make it very sick. Bigger dogs may be able to tolerate more. If the wrappers are swallowed or entered the respiratory passages, even a single candy can prove to be very, very dangerous. It is even possible that your dog may eat a lot of candy and still show no symptoms at all. But that shouldn’t be your green signal to start feeding it Starburst on a routine basis. Why? I will soon share the consequences of eating candy in dogs. Keep on reading!

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

First and foremost, see if your dog appears in any visible distress. It might be choking and be in need of immediate attention. If, however, it seems ok, be on the lookout for vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and distress that may be due to stomach aches. Over the next couple of days, also make sure your dog doesn’t get constipation or appear slow and sick, which might be a potential sign of intestinal obstruction. In any case, the best thing to do would be to take your dog to the vet immediately if you are sure, or even suspect, that it has eaten candy.

What should I do if my dog is choking?

This is a medical emergency! All parents and pet owners should definitely be aware of basic life-saving measures because just a few simple maneuvers can mean the difference between life and death. Signs of choking include:

  • coughing
  • struggling to breathe
  • pawing at its mouth
  • worst-case scenario, you may find your dog unresponsive

If you notice any of these warning signs, approach your dog carefully, inspect its mouth and throat if it will allow you, and proceed to perform the Heimlich maneuver, by holding it up from its back paws, positioning your hands over its stomach just below the ribs, and applying forward forced thrusts five times. Again, inspect the mouth and remove any foreign bodies. If your dog is really big, you can do this without picking it up. Once it is stable, take it immediately to the vet.

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I have been giving Starburst candy to my dog for a while, would he be ok now?

You shouldn’t be doing that. Sugar is just as bad for dogs as it is for humans. If it hasn’t caused any stomach upset and bloating, it can still cause a plethora of other problems, including obesity, diabetes, and dental problems. There are many other things that you can give your dog as treats, such as dog treats, maybe?? Secondly, if you get into the habit of sharing your candy with your dog, you may someday end up giving it one with a potentially toxic ingredient, such as chocolate or xylitol.

I do understand that all pet owners like to spoil their fur babies, and what better way to do it than to give it treats off and on? There are so many sweet treats that you can safely give your pooch without worrying about it getting sick. These include apples with the seeds removed, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and even oranges. However, even some fruits may not be suitable for dogs, such as grapes and avocados. So, before giving your baby anything. Be sure to research on its safety.

Take home message

No, it is not ok that your dog has eaten Starburst candy. Do keep the following things in mind:

  • Sugar is as unhealthy for dogs as it is for humans
  • Acutely, it can cause an upset stomach and painful bloating
  • Candy wrappers can choke your dog and be potentially fatal
  • Over the long run, your dog may become overweight or diabetic
  • Some candies contain ingredients toxic to dogs
  • Whether your dog just accidentally ate some Starburst candy, or you have been habitually feeding it to him for a while, it is time for a trip to the vet to make sure your dog is in good health

As an end note, even you shouldn’t be eating so much candy that your dog starts finding it conveniently lying around. It is processed sugar, after all!

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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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