Can Dogs Have Jello? Toxic Effects Of The Little Popular Treat

Jello is a sugary treat with an interesting consistency that almost everyone has tried at least once. Sometimes, we even want to share our delicious treats like jello with our dogs. But can dogs have jello or is it bad for them?

Dogs should not eat jello due to the high sugar content which can cause diabetes and obesity. They can eat small amounts as a treat but it should only be done occasionally. Jello can cause a few other problems for dogs.

What Is Jello?

Jello is a jelly dessert that tastes like fruit and is known for the way it jiggles. It is one of those desserts that was a main component of our childhood leaving us with very nostalgic memories. Some adult people even use jello as jello shots mixed with alcohol.

This delicious treat is sold in powder form or in ready-made snack cups. If in powder form, it should be mixed with boiling water and chilled to get the jiggly consistency it is known for. 

What Are The Jello Ingredients?

If you want to use gelatin-based snacks for dogs, you first need to know the ingredients that it is made of. This is because there are a few jello ingredients to avoid for dogs.


The main ingredient of jello is gelatin. It is the ingredient that causes the signature jiggle. It’s a transparent, ingredient that doesn’t have any taste to it. Gelatin is made from animal collagen found in the hides and bones of pigs and cows.


This is another main ingredient of jello that gives taste to this treat. A serving of a packet of classic jello has around 19 grams of sugar out of 21 grams from the whole mix. This is a very high amount of sugar encompassing around 80-90% of the whole mix.


Sometimes, instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners are added to the jello by the pet food industry in an attempt to make it less caloric. Some artificial sweeteners often added to food include aspartame, sucralose, and xylitol. These can be highly toxic to dogs and can also increase appetite in dogs.

Artificial Colors

Feeding jello to dogs means also exposing them to the many artificial colors added to jello. Some of those artificial colors, for example, red #40, contain benzidine, which is known to have carcinogenic features. “Occupational exposure to benzidine results in an increased risk of bladder cancer, according to studies of workers in different geographic locations.”, according to the National Cancer Institute. That said, these colors are often used to give the bright and fun colors of these treats.

Artificial Flavors

Unfortunately, modern gelatin brands are not made with real fruit juice, but many artificial flavors are added to replace the taste of fruit. These artificial flavors are special chemical formulas developed by flavor companies made with only FDA-approved ingredients. However, it is not known what effect they have on dogs.


These ingredients are added to jello to help extend the expiration date. Some known preservatives that are commonly used include sodium benzoate and disodium phosphate. These preservatives can have detrimental effects on a dog’s health, usually affecting the kidneys.

Is Jello Safe For Dogs?

You should avoid feeding jello to dogs. Even though some dogs only want human food, this food should be avoided. Little amounts of this delicious snack won’t cause any problems for dogs, but it can be detrimental in high amounts. Jello doesn’t bring any benefits for dogs, but it is quite delicious. All that said, there are some very bad side effects that can come from consuming jello.

Nutritional Value Of Gelatin For Dogs

Gelatin has a lot of beneficial effects for dogs. Gelatin is made of protein which is the main building block of the body. Gelatin helps reduce inflammation in the joints and helps dogs that suffer from arthritis. It also helps the canine digestive system to digest grains and carbs better. Gelatin also strengthens connective tissues like skin, nails, and hair. It also improves brain health. Dr. Dany P. Baby for WebMD says that:

Gelatin also contains lysine, which helps strengthen the bones. It can also improve the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which can help prevent bone loss. Due to these effects, gelatin may be used as a supplement to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, or a thinning of the bones.

Because gelatin brings so many nutritional benefits for dogs, it is useful to add it to their diet without feeding jello. You can give dogs gelatin by boiling chicken bones. Commercial gelatin powder is also available on the market. 

What Sugar Does To Dogs

Jello consumption and dog health are connected as the high sugar contents in the jello cause a lot of detrimental effects on a dog’s body. Sugar is very caloric and leads to dogs gaining weight and developing obesity and diabetes. “Diabetes is a condition that develops when a dog can’t produce enough insulin to control their blood sugar level (causing it to become dangerously high).”, according to the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. These two conditions can lead a dog to develop heart problems.

Sugar can also have detrimental health effects of jello on dogs’ dental health. Bacteria in the mouth consume sugar and produce acids that damage the enamel of the tooth causing cavities and caries. High amounts of sugar can also spike blood sugar levels and cause symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.

Xylitol Toxicity Symptoms

Sometimes, gelatin manufacturers replace sugar with artificial sweeteners like xylitol. This ingredient gives a very sweet taste to jello, but it is also very toxic for dogs. Xylitol causes a condition called xylitol toxicity.

This condition is caused because xylitol leads to a decrease in blood sugar causing hypoglycemia in dogs. Around 50mg of xylitol per pound of body weight can be detrimental to dogs. It can cause symptoms within an hour of consumption. The symptoms you can expect to see in your dog include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors, seizures, and coma. With time, it can also lead to death.

How Much Gelatin Can A Dog Eat?

So dogs can eat gelatin but the amount given is important. Some dogs don’t know when to stop eating, so it is up to you to prepare the right amount of food. The best way to give gelatin to dogs is to use pure unflavored gelatin that can be used for making dog-friendly gelatin products. The amount you give will depend on the size and weight of the dog. Some experts suggest giving gelatin in these measures:

  • 10-25 lbs – ½ teaspoon
  • 25-50 lbs – 1 teaspoon
  • 50-75 lbs – 2 teaspoons
  • 75-100+ lbs – 1 tablespoon

Other experts explain this in a different way and suggest giving a ¼ teaspoon for every 4 pounds of weight.

What To Do If Your Dog Ate Jello

You shouldn’t panic instantly if your dog got its chompers on some jello. If it ate some without you giving it, make sure you note how much jello it ingested. Then, find the packaging and note all the ingredients in the jello. If it has xylitol, it would be best to contact a veterinary nutritionist as soon as possible.

If all the ingredients are dog-safe, you can observe your dog for any side effects and provide plenty of water for the dog. If the dog develops a slight stomach upset, you can give the dog pumpkin to calm its diarrhea. If the symptoms are more serious, take the dog to a vet.

Preparing Jello Treats For Your Dog

Dogs can eat gelatin desserts made at home if they are prepared with dog-safe ingredients. There are three main ingredients in dog-friendly gelatin recipes you can use to make your own homemade jello. That is a juice made of fruit or veggies, grass-fed gelatin, and honey as a natural sweetener.

Mix ½ cup of juice with 2 tbsp of gelatin powder in a bowl and let them sit for 3-5 minutes until clumps are formed. Add 3½ cups of the same juice in a saucepan on medium heat until almost boiled. Then take it off the stove and mix in 2 tbsp of honey and the previously made mixture and stir. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and refrigerate until cooled and set.

Jello Alternatives For Dogs

If you don’t feel like making jello treats for dogs but still want to treat your dog, there are some alternative homemade dog treats you can give.

Frozen fruits are the best dog-friendly treats for dogs, especially during summer days. You can get some strawberries, bananas, blueberries, mango, or oranges, and freeze them in the freezer. Then you can give them on some occasions when the dog needs a tasty snack to cool it off.

You can also cook some chicken broth and add dog-friendly gelatin powder to it if you want to get the consistency of jello. This is a healthy treat but it doesn’t bring the fruity flavor of gelatinous snacks for dogs.

Can Dogs Have Jello? – Final Thoughts

Jello is a delicious gelatinous desert known for its jiggly consistency. The main ingredients of it include gelatin, sugar, or artificial ingredients like xylitol or aspartame. Additionally, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are added to the treat.

Dogs can eat jello in small amounts, however, larger amounts can be very detrimental to their health. The high amounts of sugar in this delicious treat can lead the dog to develop diabetes and obesity. Xylitol, as an artificial sweetener, can be very toxic for dogs. The other additives and preservatives can also cause significant problems.

That said, the gelatin in jello does bring some benefits for dogs. It helps reduce inflammation in the joints and aids digestion. Because of this, you should give gelatin to your dog. But use it to make homemade jello or add it as a supplement to its regular dog food.


Can dogs eat beef gelatin?

Yes, dogs can eat beef gelatin. It is usually sold as unflavored, plain beef gelatin in powdered form that can be added to other food as a supplement. Just don’t add it in very high amounts.

Can dogs eat jello shots?

No, dogs can not have jello shots. Besides the detrimental effects of jello, these shots also contain alcohol. Dogs can not metabolize alcohol so it has a lot of toxic effects for dogs.

Can dogs eat gelatin capsules?

Yes, you can give dogs gelatin capsules. These supplements are made of animal protein derived from the skin and bones of animals. These capsules can be added to a dog’s regular food as supplements.

More dog nutrition resources

Here are a few other resources talking about giving certain foods to dogs and the effect they have on their health.

You can find a lot more information on the types of food you can feed your dog on our site Dogisa!

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