can dogs eat jello

Vet Advice: Can Dogs Eat Jello?

Jell-O is a sweet dessert probably known by everyone. Each year, millions of cups are being with rising popularity so strong that the brand released an animated series called “JELL-O Wobz” in 2018.

Yesterday, I bought the popular treat in powder form that only needs to be dissolved in hot water, put into a form and allowed to set in the fridge. And of course, once it’s ready to be consumed, my dog has to investigate it.

I usually never share food with my dog but I always ask myself if my dog would be able to eat it. So I asked my friend who is a veterinarian and nutritionist specialist to answer my question “can dogs eat jello?” and this is what she told me:

Is It Okay for Dogs to Eat Jello?

In general, feeding your dog small amounts of jello isn’t life-threatening but not exactly healthy either. Jello is a very sugary treat with ingredients that are neither beneficial to your own health nor that of your dog.

Below I will go further into the different jello ingredients and the health consequences these might have. Giving your dog a tiny amount once in a while won’t cause him much harm but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

What Are the Jello Ingredients?

The main ingredients of jello are water, gelatin, artificial flavors, sugar, and food coloring. Gelatin is the one ingredient that makes it possible for you to put it into so many different forms.

It’s colorless, transparent and doesn’t have a taste to it. Gelatin is made from the protein collagen and is obtained by boiling the skin and bones of various animals like cows and pigs.

Collagen is also produced in the human body where it connects tissues and makes them elastic. The older you become the less collagen your body produces resulting in wrinkles or stiff joints.

Can a Dog Eat Gelatin?

Gelatin is a very healthy protein for dogs and wolves in the wild consume it with every kill. It contains an amino acid called Glycine that can help prevent brain damage and seizures.

When adding gelatin to your dog’s diet it will help digest carbohydrates and sooth an upset stomach with diarrhea. Gelatin’s anti-inflammatory benefits help in treating joint diseases like arthritis or osteoporosis.

The healthiest form of gelatin is the one coming from the bones of boiled chicken. The thicker the gelatin, the more nutrients it contain. Sadly, most products contain low-quality gelatin from pigs that may even get stretched with water.

I do recommend adding gelatin to your dog’s diet but feeding it with jello will cause more harm than good hence the cheap gelatin and artificial sweeteners. Even if you would replace it with nutritious protein, the health benefits wouldn’t outweigh the health hazards.

The Dangers of Sugar for Dogs

Dogs and sugar are a big no-no. Bacteria in the mouth consume sugar to produce acids that attack tooth enamel which promotes cavities and caries. Brushing your dog’s teeth daily would be the only way to prevent this from happening.

Regular consumption of sugar will lead to weight gain and metabolic changes in your dog. Obesity is extremely harmful to the joints and may eventually lead to heart diseases.

With rising insulin levels, your dog will become weak and lethargic. His immune system, fat storage, and muscles will be affected. Gaining more and more weight will increase the risk of type II diabetes in your dog.

An upset stomach is often the result of regular sugar consumption and will lead to vomiting and diarrhea. The refined sugars we have in our food are largely empty calories and shouldn’t be fed to any dog. That doesn’t mean that you should go for the “sugar-free” alternatives which are even worse.

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Often times the “sugar-free” alternatives of a product are not healthier. Artificial sweeteners are extremely dangerous for dogs and should be avoided at any cost.

Well, you have probably heard about the health risks of chocolate being one of the most dangerous human foods for dogs. I can tell you that xylitol is way more poisonous:

Source: Preventive Vet

If your dog ever gets his paws of something that contains xylitol, take him to the emergency room immediately because the first 30 minutes are crucial. The growing number of poisoning cases every year shows the rising popularity and lack of awareness in dog owners.

Xylitol is an extremely strong stimulator of insulin, so tiny amounts (0.1g/kg) cause a drastic drop in blood sugar leading to seizures, coma or even death.

Keep in mind that xylitol is not often directly addressed on the product. You may find some replacement terms like “low carb”, “tooth-friendly”, “naturally sweetened” or “reduced sugar”.

Xylitol can be an ingredient in gum, peanut butter, toothpaste (make sure to only use special dog toothpaste like the Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs), candy, cereal, and baked goods just to name a few.

DIY Jello Treats

So, considering the amount of sugar and xylitol in jello it is much safer to simply make your own yummy and healthy jelly dessert that you can share with your dog.

It should consist of three healthy ingredients: fruit or veggie juice (any flavor you like), grass-fed gelatin and a natural sweetener such as honey.

Ingredients:

4 cups of juice
2 tbsp unflavored beef gelatin (such as grass-fed)
2 tbsp honey or agave (optional)

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Instructions:

Add 1/2-3/4 cup of the juice to a bowl or liquid measuring cup and sprinkle with gelatin powder.


Whisk together to combine and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes to “bloom.” The granules will plump and the mixture will look like very thick applesauce or take on a lumpy appearance.


Pour the remaining (3 1/4- 3 1/2 cups) juice into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until almost boiling.


Remove from heat and stir in honey (if using) and the bloomed juice/gelatin mixture. Stir to dissolve.

Pour into an 8×8 (2 quart) baking dish for thick Jello or a 9×13″ baking dish for thin Jello, or into individual glasses or jars for individual portions.

Refrigerate about 4 hours, or until set. (If you’ve used a 9×13 pan, it may be set in as little as 2 hours)

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Can Dogs Eat Jello Shots?

Jello shots are just as harmful to dogs as the jello dessert itself. Anything that contains sugar or xylitol shouldn’t end up in a dog’s stomach. If you want your pet to stay healthy then lock away any sugary or “sugar-free” products.

Rather make your own jello that’s not only eatable for your dog but also much healthier for yourself.

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