Can Dogs Eat Starburst?

Can Dogs Eat Starburst?

Starburst is a fruity, delicious candy that can be found at virtually every supermarket checkout, and in most trick-or-treating bags. These classic candies are featured in colorful wrappers, which will likely attract your dog’s attention from a mile away. If you’re wondering whether dogs can eat Starburst, it’s a good idea to learn about the potential dangers and health complications. Learn more about what to do if your dog eats Starburst:  

No, dogs can’t eat Starburst candies. The ingredients of Starburst candies are not compatible with a dog’s diet, and the high sugar content can lead to bloating, diarrhea, and other signs of gastrointestinal distress. Also, because Starburst candies are often individually wrapped and/or packaged in plastic, there is an increased risk of your dog eating these materials and suffering from additional complications. 

While Starburst candies are considered dangerous, your dog may be fine if he eats a small piece without any packaging. It all depends on your dog’s size, stomach tolerance, and the ingredients in the particular Starburst variety he ate. While a small Starburst snack doesn’t necessarily mean your dog will experience a medical emergency, it’s never a good idea to take the risk. 

Are Starburst Candies Good for Dogs?

Overall, Starburst candies are not good for dogs due to the concentration of sugar. Classic Starburst candies are a soft, taffy-like consistency featuring sugar, flavoring, and other ingredients. Other Starburst varieties, including gum, jelly beans, and seasonal treats, are also comprised of mostly sugar. Your dog’s digestive system is not designed to process this level of sugar, which can lead to serious health issues, and in severe cases, death. 

A healthy dog diet consists of protein, whole grains, vegetables, and other nutrition-rich foods – ideally derived from natural ingredients. Unfortunately, Starburst candies contain zero to very minimal amounts of essential vitamins and nutrients, meaning they do not add any value to your dog’s diet. Aside from the risk of stomach issues, Starburst candies can also lead to obesity and poor dental health if consumed long-term. 

What Are the Dangers of Starburst Candies for Dogs?

While your dog sneaking a piece of Starburst candy may seem like an innocent act, it can open the door to many potential health risks and a trip to the emergency veterinarian. There are several risks associated with dogs eating Starburst candies, including: 

Digestive Distress

As mentioned earlier, sugar can cause severe damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. In mild cases, your dog may develop a stomachache with mild symptoms of distress. However, these sweet candies can easily cause a more serious digestion emergency. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, and a change in appetite. If your dog’s system becomes distressed, he will likely need medical care to resolve it. 

Choking or Obstruction

Classic Starburst candies are individually wrapped. While humans know to unwrap the coated paper from the candy, your dog will likely gobble the candy whole – packaging and all 

This can cause the potential for an incredibly dangerous situation, as packaging materials are choking hazards for dogs. Choking is an urgent emergency that can cause life-threatening harm when not resolved immediately. Also, Starburst packaging materials are not meant to be digested, which can lead to an obstruction in your dog’s system. This often requires surgical care to resolve.  

Keep in mind other forms of Starburst candies may be packaged in plastic bags, cardboard, or other inedible materials. They are designed to keep the candy inside, and it is inevitable your dog will end up ingesting packaging material when he attempts to eat the candy. 

Can Dogs Eat Starburst?

Habit of Eating Candy

Even though Starburst candies are not safe for your dog, he may love the taste. If you teach your dog that Starburst candies are a treat, he may try to sneak into your candy stash with other sugary dangers.  

Other candies have ingredients that are toxic to dogs, like chocolate and xylitol (an ingredient used in many sugar-free candies.) When it comes to candy, it is best to keep your dog away from the entire food category and make sure all your sweets are completely out of reach from your dog. 

What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Starburst Candies?

If you accidentally feed your dog a bite of Starburst candies or he sneaks into your candy supply, it is important to monitor for signs of health complications. Keep a close eye on your dog, and seek immediate veterinary help if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Pale gums 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Seizures 
  • Agitation 

While keeping an eye on him, it is important to call your veterinarian to explain the situation. Your veterinarian may ask questions to assess the potential danger, so be prepared with answers about how much he ate and whether he consumed the packaging. It is likely your veterinarian will want you to bring him in for a physical assessment, and in extreme cases, you may be advised to rush to an emergency veterinary facility.  

Depending on the severity of your dog’s particular case, a veterinarian would likely perform diagnostic tests to determine the best method of care. Treatment options can range greatly; your dog may need simple IV fluids or life-saving surgery.

Lastly, remember to dog-proof your home to make sure he has no access to candy-like Starburst. It’s a good idea to keep candy in a sealed, dog-proof container, and store it up high or behind a closed door. Prevention is the best way to protect your dog from a candy-related accident, and you should be particularly mindful around holidays or candy-themed events like Halloween. 

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Starburst?

It may be safe for you to indulge with Starburst candies on occasion, but it is best to keep your dog away from these sweet, colorful treats. Due to their high sugar content, packaging materials, and affiliation with other sweets, Starburst candies can pose a huge danger for dogs. Stick to healthy dog biscuits for your dog’s daily treats, and keep Starburst – and any candy – clear from his reach to prevent a possible emergency.

Alaaddin Sarac

I've been an avid dog enthusiast since childhood. I started this blog in hopes of helping owners find answers to questions I had after owning my first dog. This website was created as a way to share our love for all things canine with the world. From choosing the best food for your older dog to get the best beds for your tail-wagger, I aim to give you the information you need to give your dog the best care throughout his entire life.