Can Dogs Eat Licorice?

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Licorice is a delicious treat. Whether it comes in red, black, or another flavor, you love chowing down on some of this candy for dessert or a quick snack.

However, as much as you love licorice, you aren't sure whether or not your dog can have some. Is it OK if he has a small bite, or is it bad for him?


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By finding out the answer, you can determine whether or not to give your dog this sweet treat.

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Where does licorice come from?

Licorice is a plant, and its scientific name is Glycyrrhiza glabra. The plant is native to Asia and southern Europe; countries like Turkey, Greece, Spain, and Italy are known for growing licorice. People have been using the licorice plant for thousands of years for medicinal purposes like treating upset stomachs, constipation, sore throats, indigestion, and congestion.


Though the true history of licorice candy is not known, historians think that it stems from people who mixed licorice root with honey in order to produce throat lozenges. Then, others mixed the licorice root with binders and sweeteners to create candies. One interesting fact is that Twizzlers and Red Vines are not actual licorice because they don't contain the licorice root.


Can dogs eat licorice?

No, dogs cannot eat licorice whether it's red, black, or any other color or flavor.​ There are many reasons why it's unsafe and unhealthy. Your dog could end up getting very sick if he eats just a small amount of licorice or licorice-type candy.


What are the concerns with feeding licorice to dogs?

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There are concerns with feeding licorice to dogs, including the following:



Toxic licorice root

Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, which could be toxic to your dog. Even though licorice may only have a small amount of licorice root in it, it's best to avoid feeding it to your dog.


Toxic xylitol

Some sugar-free licorice may contain xylitol, which can lead to death. Just a few grams of Xylitol can cause a dog to become ill and possibly even pass away. At the very least, a dog may experience hypoglycemia, liver failure, or seizures.


High sugar content

Licorice is extremely sweet, which can cause health issues in your dog like obesity, diabetes, and cavities. You shouldn't feed your dog any sugar.


Wrapper issues

If your dog gets ahold of some licorice in a wrapper, then he may also eat the wrapper because he's so excited. The wrapper could then cause bowel obstruction. If your dog is lethargic, has difficulty passing stool, has diarrhea, or is vomiting, then a wrapper may be obstructing his bowels.


If your dog has accidentally ingested a little bit of licorice, he may be just fine. Monitor him as much as possible and if you see any signs of illness, call your veterinarian immediately. This is especially crucial if your dog ate licorice candy with xylitol in it. The vet may need to do blood work on your dog and other extensive testing to make sure he's going to be OK. If you treat xylitol poisoning before any clinical signs develop, then you may be able to prevent your dog from becoming sick.

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Overall, you need to keep licorice away from your pup, just like you would any other candy. Store it in a place they cannot access and stick to feeding them treats they can actually enjoy, like moist training treats and bones. They will be much happier, and you will feel rest assured knowing that they are healthy.

If you're wondering about what other foods are good and bad for your pup, check out our helpful list of everything dogs can and cannot eat.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.



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