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Is Vanilla Safe for Dogs?

Vanilla flowers and beans on a dark wood table

Generally, vanilla is NOT recommended for dogs because it contains 35% alcohol. Alcohol is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause a lot of complications. Alcohol improves the flavor of the extracts and this is the primary reason why it is included in vanilla.

If the vanilla is made from vegetable glycerin (alcohol-free vanilla), it is safe for dogs to consume it. However, bio-fuel glycerin is also dangerous for dogs and there is no real way of determining the type of glycerin used for making vanilla. Therefore, vanilla should be kept away from dogs whenever possible.

Is Vanilla Harmful to Dogs?

It’s highly likely that your dog has already tasted vanilla because it is a popular ingredient in baked products. It may have not caused any harm (thankfully), vanilla can be seriously dangerous for dogs. Repeated consumption of alcohol-based vanilla leads to severe poisoning that can damage your dog’s organs. In addition to that, alcohol can also cause a lot of other fatal problems, like a respiratory failure.

Are Dogs Allergic to Vanilla?

small black dog scratching

Generally, food allergies are very rare in dogs. However, your pup may be allergic to vanilla. According to VCA Hospitals, if your dog is allergic to any food, it will tend to show the following symptoms.

  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Aggression
  • Hyperactivity

Even if your canine friend is not allergic to vanilla, these extracts can present a bunch of other problems. Therefore, experts believe that dog parents are better off by keeping their companions away from vanilla.

Can Dogs have Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla extract in a bottle with a tablespoon filled with extract and vanilla beans on a wood table

The short answer to this question will be a NO. This is because vanilla extracts are toxic to dogs unless it is strictly a vegetable glycerin-based variant. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep vanilla extract bottles away from your dog.

Rover explains that dogs are not good at breaking down alcohol in their systems. Vanilla extracts have a lot of alcohol (about 35%) in them and can lead to alcohol poisoning. You may find cheaper imitation vanilla at most grocery stores. These variants of vanilla extracts are just as dangerous as actual vanilla extract.

You may find some pet owners who say that small amounts of vanilla extract do not harm your dog. It may be true in some cases, but you got to remember that every dog is different. Some dogs may have existing health conditions that can be exaggerated due to alcohol. Hence, it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid vanilla extracts completely.

What to Do if Your Dog Drank Vanilla Extract?

Black dog licking his lips

If you suspect that your canine friend has ingested vanilla extracts, try to induce vomiting. There are several methods through which you can make your dog vomit at home. However, using a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide is the most popular technique. If you decide to use it, you will need one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 10 pounds of weight.  

Your dog will probably vomit in about 10 to 15 minutes. In some cases, a second dose may be required for inducing the vomiting. NEVER overdo this practice because too much hydrogen peroxide can cause ulcers in dogs. Likewise, higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are not meant to be ingested and can be dangerous.

Even if you are inducing the vomiting at home, it’s highly recommended to consult your vet. After administering hydrogen peroxide, make sure to move your dog around. This will help the chemical in getting mixed well with the stomach contents.

Once your dog is done vomiting, let him/her rest for about 10 minutes before offering any food. You should also try to take a sample of the vomit. This will help the vet to evaluate whether your pup needs any other treatment or not.

Can Dogs Eat Vanilla Yogurt?

Vanilla yogurt in a bowl with chamomile flowers, vanilla beans and a spoon

In the form of yogurt, vanilla is fine for your dog as long as he/she is lactose tolerant. However, there are some other things that you should analyze before giving vanilla yogurt to your pup.

For instance, vanilla yogurt contains a lot of sugar. According to Doggy Pure, sugar itself does not provide any nutritional value to dogs. Instead, it can cause your canine companion to gain weight. Moreover, sugar can accelerate tooth decay and lead to other dental problems.

Some brands of vanilla yogurt also use artificial sweeteners in their product. They are extremely harmful to dogs because artificial sweeteners mostly have xylitol in them. One quick look over the ingredient list should give you the information you need.

Summary

Vanilla is NOT safe for dogs unless you can find the perfect glycerin-based vanilla extract. The alcohol content in the vanilla extracts can cause organ problems in dogs because they cannot break down alcohol effectively. Although small quantities of vanilla are considered safe by many pet owners, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you suspect your canine friend has been busy ingesting vanilla, try to induce vomiting and immediately contact a vet!

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