Licorice may be a popular treat for us humans, but what about man’s best friend. Can dogs eat licorice? Does it make a difference if it’s red or black, and what about other licorice treats?
Can Dogs Eat Licorice?
Licorice root is seen as a medicinal substance when used in small quantities and for specific reasons, but excessive use has been linked to cardiac problems in humans. In dogs it’s much the same story. A small amount is unlikely to cause harm and may even be an effective way to relieve stomach pain and cramps. However, a large amount could be toxic for them.
There are better ways to relieve digestive distress in dogs, as discussed in our guide to Vomiting in Dogs. Licorice root is far from the most effective and because it could be dangerous in large quantities it’s a risk you really shouldn’t take.
There is a compound in black licorice that can raise a dog’s blood pressure. Too much of this and their blood pressure may climb to dangerous levels and if it is consumed on a regular basis then this is a problem that will only get worse.
What’s more, licorice candies are often loaded with sugar and sweeteners. The former can cause a spike in their blood sugar levels and lead to everything from obesity to tooth decay and other issues also common in humans who eat too much sugar, while the latter can lead to diarrhea and an array of other problems. Throw in colorings and other things common in candy and it’s fair to say that while a small amount won’t hurt them, your dog really should not be consuming licorice.
Can Dogs at Red Licorice?
As discussed in out guide to Dogs and Twizzlers, red licorice is more candy than licorice. These days “red licorice” products are not even allowed to use the term “licorice” on the label because they do not contain any actual licorice extract. It is mostly sugar, as well as starches and colors that you will find in other candies.
None of this is healthy for your dog so all of it should be avoided. As discussed on our main Dog’s Diet page, their diet needs a fine balance between natural foods and the addition of too much sugar and other human foods can cause a lot of problems with their health. What’s more, as any dog owner will tell you, once you start feeding your pet high-sugar treats like this they quickly get accustomed to them and will start rejecting their “real” food in the hope it will lead to more sweet treats.
Will Licorice Kill My Dog?
If you have discovered that your dog has been at your licorice stash and has eaten a little licorice then there is probably nothing to worry about, but it all depends on how much they ate and how big they are. They will likely vomit or have diarrhea for a short while and may not suffer any adverse effects, but there is a safe limit and if they go beyond this then you should seek advice from a vet. This is especially true of dogs with prior health problems and dogs who have eaten a lot of licorice, as well as dogs that are very old or young.