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Can Dogs Eat Licorice? | Is Licorice Bad for Dogs?

is licorice bad for dogs

More than 400,000 miles of licorice is produced each year—that’s enough to wrap around the Earth over 16 times!  Licorice is a popular snack for humans, and like with most snacks we enjoy, we think about sharing it with our furry companion.  First we must ask ourselves some important questions like, can dogs eat licorice?  Or is licorice bad for dogs? 

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Can Dogs Eat Licorice? (The Short Answer)

No, dogs can not eat licorice.  There are really no benefits to licorice that would justify you giving them any.  On the other hand, the risks associated with licorice can be serious.  All licorice has a large amount of sugar which can cause problems for your dog, from tooth decay, to obesity, to diabetes.  There are also a decent amount of calories and carbohydrates which can be detrimental to your dog’s health.  Black licorice especially can cause serious elevation in your dog’s blood pressure that could require veterinary attention.  There are many other snack options that are safer and healthier for your dog. 

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Licorice Good For Dogs?

No, licorice is not good for dogs!  It is essentially empty calories as there are no nutritional benefits to to this food.  In 14 grams of black licorice, or 10 bite sized pieces, there are 52 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of sugar.  In addition, there is zero protein, and zero fiber.  There is also negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals. 

Licorice is essentially candy, which isn’t good for humans to eat.  Feeding it to dogs is just as bad and potentially a lot worse!  There are so many other healthier options of tasty snacks that we can safely give our pups, so it’s best that we stick to those instead of licorice.

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Is Licorice Bad for Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat licorice?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is licorice bad for dogs?

Yes, licorice is bad for dogs!  There are a lot of dangers associated with pups eating licorice.  Black and red licorice both have different risks but neither of them are safe for dogs. 

With both types of licorice, there is a high sugar content which is unhealthy for pups.  There are around 20 grams of sugar per serving of licorice, which is a significant amount considering dogs are supposed to have very little sugar in their diets at all.  Too much sugar in a dog’s diet can lead to tooth decay, diabetes, and obesity.  All of these can contribute to more health complications over time. 

A risk associated specifically with black licorice is that it contains glycyrrhizin.  Glycyrrhizin is known for being a home remedy for upset stomachs, and in small amounts can help dogs.  However, there is a fine line between the amount that is helpful and the amount that is harmful.  Too much of this ingredient can cause dangerously high increases in blood pressure that requires immediate veterinary attention.  For this reason, we suggest never giving your dog black licorice because you wouldn’t want to accidentally give them too much and cause potentially harmful side effects to occur. 

If your dog has any of the following symptoms after eating licorice you should contact a veterinarian promptly: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, difficulty passing stool, increased blood pressure, or muscle weakness. 

Another associated risk is the possible ingestion of candy wrappers.  While we all know to take wrappers off before eating, dogs don’t necessarily comply.  Wrappers can be especially dangerous and cause bowel obstructions.  These can be painful, and costly to fix.  Just another reason to invest in pet insurance just in case!

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Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Black Licorice Candy?

No, dogs cannot eat black licorice candy.  Just like red licorice, black licorice is high in calories, carbs, and sugar making it an unhealthy option.  If that wasn’t enough, black licorice, in larger amounts, can cause serious health problems.  The compound glycyrrhizin is in black licorice and it can cause severe hypertension.  This means it will cause your dog’s blood pressure to increase dramatically.  A rapid spike in blood pressure can be a very serious problem and requires veterinary attention immediately.  Signs of high blood pressure in dogs can include muscle weakness and vomiting.  It’s sometimes hard to detect in dogs, but if your dog recently ate a significant amount of black licorice, it’s better to be safe than sorry and get professional help. 

Can Dogs Eat Red Licorice Candy?

No, dogs cannot eat red licorice candy.  Red licorice has a very high sugar content of around 20 grams per serving.  Dogs should be on a very low-sugar diet, and eating licorice could add an unsafe level of sugar to their diet. 

Are Black Licorice Jelly Beans Safe For Your Pup?

No, dogs can not eat black licorice jelly beans, or any jelly beans for that matter.  Jelly beans are high in sugar which we’ve already established is unhealthy for dogs.  Most jelly beans also contain pectin, which is a fiber product that is used to treat diarrhea.  This being said, if too much is consumed, severe constipation can occur, and potentially a bowel obstruction.  Many jelly beans also contain potentially toxic ingredients to dogs.  Some jelly beans contain caffeine which can be fatal for dogs.  Additionally, a lot of jelly bean manufacturers use the sugar substitute xylitol to sweeten their product.  Xylitol is toxic for dogs and should always be avoided.  For all of these reasons, all flavors of jelly beans should be avoided. 

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Licorice?

No, dogs should never have licorice.  In addition to high caloric and sugar contents, some varieties of licorice can cause serious health problems.  There is no way to justify giving your dog any licorice, because no aspects of licorice are beneficial to your dogs health and there is the potentially to cause your dog serious harm.  For better, healthier treat options, check out the rest of our Read Before You Feed series of articles, which detail a ton of foods that are safe and healthy for your dog! 

Want to Learn More?

Check out these related articles from our “Read Before You Feed” series for more advice on safe foods for dogs!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.