You got a pack of licorice candies from the supermarket and plan to enjoy some with your lovely pup. But can dogs eat licorice?

In short, no. Licorice is not suitable for consumption for dogs. It contains elements that are hazardous to your dog’s health.

In this 5-minute read, we will discuss why you can or cannot feed licorice to dogs.

Is Licorice Safe For Dogs?

You might enjoy snacking on licorice products every now and then. But there might be better snack options for your fur buddy.

Now, licorice extracts from licorice roots ARE used in dog medications and supplements. So, your pooch is consuming it bit by bit. A few health benefits of licorice extract are:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Licorice contains anti-inflammatory components beneficial for conditions such as arthritis.
  • Beneficial for digestive health: Licorice extract helps subdue digestive discomfort in dogs. It can control mild stomach upset, such as acid reflux.
  • Adrenal gland support: Licorice root extracts have been used in veterinary medicine to support adrenal glands. Dogs with mild adrenal issues might benefit from them.

Other benefits of feeding licorice to dogs are immune system support and anti-microbial effects. But licorice products are NEVER okay for your pooch to eat. Here are the reasons why.

Health Risks of Feeding Licorice to Dogs

Why is licorice our favorite snack anyway? Because of their flavor… duh! But how does this flavor affect dogs?

1. High amount of Sugar

Most licorice products consist of sugar. Sugar in minimal quantities is not very harmful, but we expect something else from candies, do we?

The high amount of sugar is highly toxic to dogs as it may lead to weight gain or obesity, a spike in blood sugar levels, and dental issues.

These conditions can give rise to far worse health-related problems that can be potentially fatal.

2. Harmful composition

Licorice products contain huge amounts of wheat gluten and high-fructose corn syrup. These can cause gastrointestinal issues, water retention, and hypertension in dogs.

3. Glycyrrhizin

Again, the consumption of compounds, such as glycyrrhizin, can lead to a spike in blood pressure (study). These compounds can oppose the enzymes responsible for breaking cortisol, the hormone that helps regulate blood pressure in your pup’s body.

The compounds can also cause fluid retention and edema in dogs. Glycyrrhizin disrupts the balance of sodium and water in the body. This leads to fluid accumulation in tissues. Edema can induce swelling in different parts of your dog’s body, such as the legs and abdomen.

Glycyrrhizin’s impact on cortisol breakdown affects the electrolyte balance in the body. This may cause a decrease in potassium levels in the body. A proper balance of electrolytes ensures a good heart condition. So, an electrolyte imbalance can lead to severe heart conditions such as improper beating rhythms, etc.

a dog with colorful licorice in front of him

What if My Dog Ate Licorice Candy?

Dogs are sneaky. They always look for opportunities to gulp down anything their paw-rents eat. So, it can be a common sight for your pup to get a hold of that bag of licorice candies.

One plain licorice candy will not likely cause much harm to their body. Watch them thoroughly for a few days. Consult your veterinarian if you notice side effects. Potential signs of licorice poisoning might include vomiting, lethargy, muscle spasms, excessive drooling, or stomach discomfort.

But if they have eaten a large amount of candies, seek medical attention then and there!

Can Dogs Eat Black Licorice?

Black licorice contains similar elements to most licorice products, such as high amounts of sugar and gluten. These elements can cause health risks such as allergies and unhealthy heart conditions.

So, no black licorice is not suitable for your dog. If your pup has somehow had a few, consult your veterinarian immediately. Monitor for symptoms such as

  • Muscle weakness or lack of coordination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy and laziness.

Can Dogs Eat Licorice Powder?

Licorice root powder is a relatively safe herb for dogs. The licorice root powder components could amplify except those with certain medical conditions. Dogs with high blood pressure, heart conditions, or kidney disorders should not eat licorice root as a supplement.

Final Thoughts

We do not advise letting your pupper eat any licorice, even as a treat. Doggie tummies are delicate. They cannot handle the elements that hoomans can easily consume.

Licorice products are specifically designed for humans. They positively affect humans in many ways, but the same elements in licorice can impact dogs adversely. So, it is always better to learn about what is good and what is not before you feed it to your dog.

Always consult your veterinarian before introducing any new food to your dog. Any fresh foods that dogs are not used to can cause issues such as nutritional imbalances, digestive upset, etc. Some dogs can even choke on large pieces of licorice, especially small dogs, who are prone to choke on them more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat licorice Twizzlers?

Twizzlers are high in sugar and artificial flavors. These can potentially cause several health issues in your pet. The high sugar content will more than likely upset your dog’s stomach, resulting in gastrointestinal problems ranging from mild nausea to unpleasant vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea.

Can dogs eat red licorice?

Red licorice does not contain any artificial flavors. But that does not make it any better. Red licorice still contains a huge amount of sugar which can cause further problems such as weight gain, digestive issues, etc. 

Are sugar-free licorice candies safe for dogs? 

Sugar-free licorice candies contain a sweetener called xylitol. This is highly poisonous to dogs. Xylitol poisoning can be fatal to dogs. You should avoid feeding sugar-free products to your dog at all costs. 

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