Is Soda Bad for My Dog?

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It's a warm day, and you've been out exploring a park with your pup. You reach for a cool gulp of soda from your backpack, and that's when you start to wonder if it's okay to share the sweet treat with your canine companion.

If you're curious if dog's can drink soda, the quick answer is no. When giving your pet a beverage to help them cool down, you should stick to fresh water. Remember that while a lick of spilled soda isn't likely to hurt your dog, it's not a healthy go-to beverage for pets — here's why.

1. Dogs Shouldn't Drink Soda Due to the Caffeine Content

It's tempting to share nibbles and sips from our meals with our furry friends, but it's not always a good idea. Although a little mid-day caffeine boost may help you get through your day, caffeine can be a big problem for your pup. As the Pet Poison Helpline explains, dogs are more sensitive to caffeine (found in soda, coffee, tea and other edibles) than people and caffeine ingestion could even result in toxicity for your pet.

Glass full of cola and ice cubes sits on table in foreground, bottles of soda in background blurred.

Warning signs of a problem include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Agitation
  • Vomiting or other digestive upset
  • Elevated heart rate

Excessive caffeine exposure could even result in severe enough symptoms, such as seizures, that your companion could end up needing to be hospitalized for supportive care until the caffeine is out their system. If your pet lapped up a full glass of unattended soda, call your veterinarian as soon as possible for guidance.

2. Dogs Can't Properly Digest Artificial Sweeteners

The sweet flavor of a cola is enticing to a pet, but the added sugars or artificial sweeteners don't play nice with their system. The animal lovers at Prime Vet Animal Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida shares that xylitol, a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free or diet products, is toxic for dogs and can cause issues with the pet regulating its blood sugar. These problems can include hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Ingestion of xylitol can lead to seizures or even eventual liver failure. Therefore, it's best to avoid sharing any sweetened human foods or drinks with your dog.

3. Dogs Don't Need Sugar or the Extra Calories

What about natural soda made with real cane sugar? Can dogs drink soda that's homemade? It tastes great to you, and doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners. Well, just like us, dogs can get diabetes and become obese from too many sweet treats. The American Kennel Club (AKC) says high levels of sugar in a diabetic dog's blood can damage their organs, including the blood vessels, eyes, heart, kidneys and nerves.

White Schnauzer-Maltese mix licks lips.

When it comes to pudgy pups, treats with added sugars (which are high in calories) are often to blame for the extra weight, per the AKC. When a dog becomes overweight, they are at risk for diabetes as well as issues with their skin, joints, internal organs, mobility, breathing and blood pressure.

Can dogs have soda? It's certainly not a good idea. You can easily keep you pet away from soda by storing it out of their reach. If you keep extra cans and bottles in the garage or pantry on the floor, place them on a high shelf instead. And when you're sitting around outside with a cold beverage, do the same. Keep drinks elevated, away from pets. If you happen to spill some on the ground, it is a good idea to get it wiped up before your dog has a chance to lap any up. If you are ever concerned about something that your dog has consumed, including soda, contact your veterinarian and seek their guidance on the best course of action for your canine companion.

When it comes to dog care, sticking to the basics is best. Offer your dog a bowl of fresh cold water, and they'll be sure to lick their chops in appreciation.

Contributor Bio

Angela Tague

Angela Tague

Angela Tague is a pet mom and writer living in the Midwest. When she's not making a mess in the kitchen, exploring nature trails with her dog, or attending a yoga workshop, she's writing full-time for multiple lifestyle and technology brands. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn @AngelaTague.

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