Can Dogs Have Brown Sugar?

Just like humans, dogs can enjoy the sweet taste of sugar.

Brown sugar often comprises vital ingredients in many dog treats and foods.

While there are some benefits to feeding brown sugar to dogs, consider the risks.

So, can dogs have brown sugar?

While brown sugar isn’t toxic to dogs, it’s essential to feed them in moderation.

When consumed in large amounts, sugar can lead to weight gain and other health problems in dogs.

However, brown sugar is beneficial for dogs in small amounts because it helps with:

  • Aiding in the digestion of food
  • Providing a source of energy
  • Helping to keep their coat and skin healthy.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and risks of feeding brown sugar to your dog so that you can make the best decision for your pet.

What is Brown Sugar?

Brown sugar is a type of sugar made by combining sugar and molasses.

Molasses is a thick, dark syrup obtained from sugar cane juice.

Brown sugar has a slightly different flavor than white sugar, and it’s often used in baking recipes.

Unlike the white sugar that you may find in your pantry, brown sugar isn’t processed and doesn’t contain any chemicals.

It contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron, beneficial for dogs.

Can Dogs Have Brown Sugar

Health Benefits of Brown Sugar to Dogs

When fed in moderation, brown sugar can offer some health benefits to dogs, such as:

Help Digestion Process

Brown sugar contains molasses, which is a natural laxative.

This helps keep your dog’s digestive system regular hence its aids with the digestion of food.

Sugar releases water into the intestine, which helps soften the stool and quickly move food through the digestive system.

Moreover, sugar acts as a prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your dog’s gut.

A healthy gut microbiome is essential for your dog’s overall health as it aids in digestion, strengthens their immune system, and helps them absorb nutrients from their food.

Source of Energy

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate customarily broken down by the body and used for energy.

When your dog doesn’t have enough sugar in their diet, they become tired or lethargic.

Adding a small amount of brown sugar to your dog’s food help give them a boost of energy.

This makes it a good source of energy for active or working dogs.

Healthy Coat and Skin Texture

Sugar is necessary for collagen production, a protein found in your dog’s skin and coat.

Collagen helps keep your dog’s skin elastic and fur shiny and healthy.

Lack of collagen causes your dog’s coat to become dull and their skin to dry out.

The vitamins and minerals found in brown sugar help keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy.

Molasses in brown sugar contain vitamin B, which is essential for maintaining healthy skin and fur.

Brown sugar also helps lock in moisture, keeping your dog’s coat hydrated and looking shiny.

Source of Minerals

Besides, brown sugar contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron, which are essential for a healthy dog.


Calcium contained in brown sugar helps keep bones and teeth healthy.

It also aids in muscle contraction and nerve function. Calcium promotes general health and well-being in dogs.


Magnesium is essential for a dog’s metabolism, energy production, and muscle function.

It also helps keep bones healthy by promoting calcium absorption.

Protein synthesis and blood clotting are also dependent on magnesium.


Iron is an essential mineral for dogs as it helps transport oxygen in the blood and is necessary for energy production.

It also aids in cell growth, repair, and immune function.


Potassium is an electrolyte that helps maintain fluid balance in the body.

It’s also essential for heart health and blood pressure regulation.

Potassium plays an integral role in muscle function by creating electric impulses that help them contract.

Negative Impacts of Brown Sugar on Dogs

Although dogs can benefit from nutrients found in brown sugar, there are ways their health is at risk:


The high-calorie content of brown sugar causes weight gain in dogs.

When consumed in excess, brown sugar leads to obesity and other health problems like diabetes, joint, and respiratory issues.

This is because sugar alters your dog’s metabolism and how the body stores fat.

Stomach Disorders

When consumed in large amounts, brown sugar cause stomach upset and diarrhea in dogs.

Molasses in brown sugar acts as a natural laxative that causes loose stools if eaten in excess.

Sugar promotes yeast growth, which causes stomach issues such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Tooth Decay

The high sugar content in brown sugar leads to tooth decay.

When sugar sticks to teeth, it provides food for bacteria that live in the mouth.

These bacteria produce acids that break down tooth enamel, causing cavities.

Afterward, the bacteria enter the bloodstream causing infections in other parts of the body.


Although brown sugar isn’t toxic to dogs, overeating leads to weight gain and other health problems.

When consumed in large amounts, brown sugar can cause a sugar rush, which causes hyperactivity and restlessness.

Hyperactivity leads to anxiety and stress in dogs; thus, the dog bites or barks excessively.

Symptoms of Brown Sugar Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog overeats brown sugar, it may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Stomach upset
  • Diarrhea
  • Loose stools
  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Disrupted sleep patterns.

If you think your dog has eaten too much brown sugar and is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, stop feeding it and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can Dogs Have Brown Sugar FAQs

Can brown sugar kill dogs?

Brown sugar isn’t toxic to dogs, but consuming too much lead to weight gain and other health problems.

It can also cause a sugar rush, which manifests as hyperactivity and restlessness in dogs.

How much brown sugar can dogs eat?

Dogs should only consume a small amount of brown sugar.
For instance, try adding a small amount of brown sugar to your dog’s food as a treat or mixing it into their kibble.


Brown sugar can be beneficial for dogs in small amounts, but monitoring their intake is essential.

Too much sugar causes weight gain and other health problems. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian before adding brown sugar to your dog’s diet.

Megan Turner

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