Can Dogs Eat Jello? Good or Bad for Dogs?

Children love this fun and brightly colored wobbly dessert!

If you and your kids are having so much fun with it, you may be wondering – can dogs eat Jello? 

In this article, we will discover what Jello is made from and whether it is a safe treat for your furry friend.

safe for dogs to eat

Yes, dogs can eat jello in moderation, occasionally.

Jello's main ingredient is gelatine which is safe for dogs, but the other ingredients like artificial color & flavoring, sugar are not healthy at all. I would avoid giving your dog jello.

  • What is Jello?
  • What are the ingredients in Jello?
  • Is Jello safe for my dog to eat?
  • Are there any health benefits of Jello for my dog?
  • What are the risks of giving my dog jello?
is jello safe for dogs

What Is Jello?

Jello is that wonderful wobbling summer dessert, often available in a variety of unnaturally vibrant colors, and found at most children’s birthday parties. 

You can make it with fresh fruits for some added class and artistry, making sure your Jello looks good on the buffet or menu at adult parties and special occasions too. 

Jello often comes commercially as a sweet treat in small individual containers, offering convenient single-serving desserts for children in their packed lunches, or in hospitals to give to patients as a delicious alternative to cake and custard.

If you don’t know already what goes into making Jello, you might be surprised to find out.

What Are The Ingredients In Jello?

The primary ingredient in Jello is gelatin, and this is made from animal collagen. Collagen is a protein that goes to make up connective tissues like the skin, ligaments, tendons, and bones. 

Perhaps that is not something you think about when you put a big spoon of bright red wobbly Jello into your mouth or offer it to your kids. 

It might sound like something you’d feel more comfortable offering to your dog, though!

To extract the gelatin, the bones and hides of individual animals like pigs and cows, are first boiled and then dried and treated with a strong acid. 

This is then filtered to extract the collagen, which is dried and ground into a powder, and then sifted to make the gelatin.

You can purchase Jello in powdered form and make it yourself at home by merely dissolving the powdered mix in boiling water to break the bonds that hold the collagen together. 

You then leave it to re-set in a bowl or other fun-shaped container. As the mixture cools down, it forms a semi-solid state. 

This is because there are water molecules trapped in between the reforming strands of collagen. So now you know how and why jello wobbles.

Alternatively, Jello can be purchased readymade, and usually in small, sealed individual serving containers. Both powered and readymade varieties contain sweeteners, coloring, and flavoring agents.

The sweeteners used are typically aspartame, which is a calorie-free artificial sweetener and a popular alternative to sugar. 

The artificial flavors in Jello are chemical mixtures that imitate certain well-known flavors such as strawberry or raspberry. 

The food colorings used are typically artificial, but with more and more people becoming health conscious, especially when it comes to what we give our kids, these are now changing to natural food colorings like beet and carrot juice.

is sugar-free jello safe for dogs

Examples of Jello ingredients:

  • Strawberry Jello – Sugar, gelatin, adipic acid, artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, sodium citrate, fumaric acid, and red dye #40

  • Sugar-free Black Cherry Jello – uses the same ingredients as above, replacing sugar with aspartame, and containing maltodextrin from corn and blue dye #1

Is Jello Safe For My Dog To Eat?

After sampling the ingredients that go into making Jello, you may be confused as to whether it is safe to feed it to your dog. 

On the one hand, there is the animal-derived element, and then there is the sugar and chemicals. What will happen if your dog eats Jello?

The simple and perhaps obvious answer is that Jello is not a recommended food or treat for dogs. 

The gelatin itself may be considered dog-friendly, but the other ingredients sadly are not. This food contains very little to no nutritional value for your dog.

If you feed your dog jello, over time, it will end up doing much more harm than good due to the sugar and artificial ingredients that your dog does not need. 

A much better choice would be to feed your dog fresh fruits, instead of feeding fruit entrapped inside a wobbly jello dome.

Are There Any Health Benefits Of Jello For My Dog?

Jello, as we know, it does not provide your dog with any health benefits that are not going to be canceled out by the unhealthy components of this food. Gelatin, by itself, however, may be considered beneficial for your dog.

Gelatin is made of practically pure protein - 99%! Because it is missing some essential amino acids, gelatin is not a complete protein. 

However, it can have many health benefits for humans, and therefore may also be beneficial for your dog.

green jello

How gelatin by itself can be beneficial for dogs:

  • The anti-inflammatory properties of gelatin can be helpful for dogs that suffer from conditions such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, hip dysplasia, and degenerative joint disease.

  • Gelatin contains an amino acid called Glycine, which can help to protect dogs from seizures and brain damage.

  • Gelatin can relieve gastrointestinal problems, which is great if your dog has an upset stomach or is suffering from a bout of diarrhea

  • For dogs on a diet that is higher in carbs or grains than it should be, which is right for many of the cheaper brands of kibble, the good news is that gelatin promotes easy digestion of both carbohydrates and grains.

If you want your dog to benefit from the health benefits of gelatin, you can make your dog-friendly Jello at home, leaving out the ingredients that are detrimental to your dog’s health, and perhaps adding some new ingredients to boost the nutritional value of your homemade jello dog treats.

What Are The Risks Of Giving My Dog Jello?

If you are still tempted to give traditional Jello to your dog, keep reading to find out what some of the adverse side effects and implications could be for your dog.

Obesity

When dog owners do not pay attention to the human foods they are offering to their dogs, the sugars and artificial sweeteners can lead to significant weight gain. 

You might think that this is a risk that doesn’t apply to your dog, what harm could the odd naughty treat here and there do after all? The thing is that obesity can happen right under your nose pretty quickly. 

This is because your dog’s body is much smaller than your own, and their bodies are not designed to digest a lot of the high-carb and grainy, sugary food that we eat. 

Eating food high in sugar regularly can have a visible impact on your weight. 

You have to remember that eating a small amount of Jello for you is the equivalent of eating a lot more for your dog.

When dogs carry the excess weight, it puts them at risk for several health-related problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. 

It is also very detrimental for dogs that suffer from joint problems, as the extra weight puts extra pressure on problem areas, increasing symptoms, and causing your dog more pain and discomfort in the long run.

The main thing to remember is that while your dog can always be put on a diet and exercise regime to lose the extra weight after gaining it, many of the health problems accumulated as a result of the obesity are permanent and cannot be reversed.

Pancreatitis

This is a painful disease where the pancreas becomes inflamed. Pancreatitis can be a result of the development of sugar diabetes. 

The pancreas creates insulin and produces enzymes to help with digestion. 

It is responsible for aiding the metabolism of sugar. Too much sugar puts pressure on this system, aggravating the pancreas.

Pancreatitis is not only painful and uncomfortable, but it can also lead to depression in dogs, dehydration and fever, and heart arrhythmias. 

Xylitol Is Deadly To Dogs

This is a type of artificial sweetener, and while it does not pose any problems for humans, it is highly dangerous for dogs. 

Jello may well contain this ingredient, and if it does, it would be wise not to feed it to your dog.

Once in the dog’s body, xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and it prompts the pancreas to produce and release a significant amount of insulin. 

This can result in a dangerous drop in blood sugar and ​hypoglycemia in dogs, which can very quickly become life-threatening. It can take place anywhere between 10 and 60 minutes after ingestion.

Summary

Now that you have read this article and have a better idea of what Jello is and what it can do to your dog. 

Hopefully, you will opt to treat your dog with a healthier alternative or have a go at making your dog-friendly Jello treats instead.

can dogs eat jello?
(Last Updated On: March 19, 2020)
Liz
 

I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs and somehow manage to have time to pursue another of my passions - writing. I’m the primary contributor and editor of PUPPY FAQS. I love to write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local dog shelter. If you have a question that needs answering, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to explain it.

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