Can Dogs Eat Jello?

By Bethany Tate

The gelatin brand, Jello, is not safe for your dog to eat. The artificial ingredient Xylitol is a toxic sweetener canines cannot ingest. Your dog can eat plain gelatin, however,  without the added ingredients. Made of 99% protein, gelatin is an animal-derived food that has several health benefits for your canine. 

Jello is a classic dessert that is fun, tasty, and refreshing. It has gained a reputation, as well, for being the go-to treat when you’re under the weather. 

So, can dogs eat Jello?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Jello is an unsafe snack for your dog. The artificial sweeteners added to the gelatin are toxic for your pup. Plain gelatin, on the other hand, is another story. If you want the full scoop on Jello, gelatin, and your pup, we have all your questions answered in the below article

We’ll share important details on the side effects that Jello causes your pet, and we’ll break down all the symptoms that can indicate toxicity. You’ll learn what to do in case the worst should happen, as well. 

Is Jello Toxic To Dogs?

Jello is not a safe food to give your pet. Even small portions can have dog-atrophic consequences. We will get into that more below, however. For now, let’s look at the basics.

First, it’s important to understand the difference between Jello and gelatin. More to the point, it’s important to understand why Jello is toxic when gelatin is not?

Gelatin comes from animal by-products and is made primarily of non-edible parts. The pieces not fit for human consumption like the hooves, bones, skin, and cartilage go through a step-by-step process that extracts the gelatin from the other parts.

While the actual procedure is a bit long for today’s topic, How Products Are Made shares the full breakdown of how gelatin is produced.

Jello, on the other hand, is the brand name of a gelatin dessert. It has been the largest and most popular gelatin brand for decades. Many people often use the term “Jello” to describe “gelatin” across the board. This is where pup-parents need to be careful, though.

Health Risks if Dogs eat Jello

The reason Jello is inappropriate for your canine is because of the ingredients used to sweeten and color it. These artificial ingredients can have many health risks. They range from mild ailments like weight gain to devastating effects like death.

Xylitol is the most dangerous ingredient in Jello. The artificial sweetener is a manmade diet product that is toxic to dogs.

Xylitol can cause a lot of damage in canines. The faux sweetener causes a dog’s blood sugar to plummet rapidly. It happens because Xylitol triggers a reaction in their pancreas that releases insulin. Once released, the insulin will flow into the bloodstream.

A dramatic drop in blood sugar is not healthy for canines and humans alike. In dogs, it can cause the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Seizures
  • Liver failure
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Coma
  • Death

Side effects can happen within 30 minutes of consumption. Additionally, PubMed indicates that dogs who ingest 0.1g/kg are in danger of becoming hypoglycemic. A small 0.5g/kg is enough to put your pet into acute liver failure.

Jello’s recipe also contains other ingredients that are not the best for your furball. Although they’re not toxic like Xylitol, Jello features other artificial sweeteners and cane sugar. 

Both can cause weight gain, skin issues, etc if consumed over a long period. Finally, they use artificial flavors that, over time, can cause problems, too.

Plain Gelatin Benefits For Your Dog

Plain powdered gelatin lacks harmful ingredients found in Jello. Made almost completely of protein, this less appetizing gelatin makes a great dinner for your doggie. Its nutrients and amino acids also protect against many canine ailments.

Protein is arguably the most important part of your pet’s diet. It determines your dog’s overall health and well being of their systems like;

  • Energy 
  • Digestive system 
  • Skin and fur 
  • Mental agility 
  • Immune system 
  • Muscles 

Another benefit of gelatin is the amino acid glycine (GLY). One of the best health benefits of GLY is the prevention of arthritis.

Some of the other benefits of plain gelatin include:

  • Prevent digestive and gut problems
  • Prevents liver disease
  • Improves memory
  • Weight gain aid
  • Helps to sleep
  • Increased cognitive function
  • Improves fur and skin

Adding gelatin to your dog’s diet can improve their health. Besides the main benefits, there are also several smaller perks. Older canines with dental issues find relief from the soft gel texture. It can also be added to their dry food making it much easier to chew. 

What’s more, you can tempt a picky eater to the dinner table with this bovine treat. Most furry friends are quick to share our meals but will turn their nose up at a bowl of kibble. A little gelatin mixed in with their food will have them gobbling it down.

Always Consult Your Vet

Consulting your vet before making any big changes to your dog’s normal meal plan is highly recommended. As pet-parents, cleaning up the occasional spot on the rug is part of the joy of sharing your life with a four-legged friend.

Be that as it may, canine stomachs are sensitive to changes. Even something as innocuous as plain gelatin can cause a tummy disruption capable of staining your new rug. More than that, taking your pup for regular check-ups is important for their health and longevity.

On the flip side of the paw, if you suspect that your dog managed to steal a lick of Jello, it’s important to reach out to your pet expert for advice.

How To Add Plain Gelatin To Your Dogs Diet

With vet approval, you can add something jiggly to your pup’s kibble. We have some pointers to keep the transition as easy, clean, and fresh as possible. The most important thing to remember, however, is that Rome was not built in a day…

…And like Rome, your dog’s stomach will need more than a few meals to acclimate. Also, make sure the gelatin you’re purchasing is plain without any sugars, artificial sweeteners or flavors, and colors. 

You can buy gelatin from most grocery stores, but many pet suppliers carry it, as well. A good thing about retailers like Chewy is their gelatin will often have added vitamins, nutrients, and natural flavors to further benefit your pooch.

A good option is the Step Above Proteins Pork Gelatin. It has added collagen, and it is made with 100% natural pork. It’s also available in a few sizes for convenience. That being said, dog-specific gelatin can be harder to find, and it’s significantly more expensive.

Regardless of which gelatin you pick, adding in a few teaspoons at a time to your dog’s meal is the slow and steady train to catch. You will need to keep an eye on them for signs of digestive distress. Also, ensure there are no tummy troubles for at least 24 hours before increasing the dose.

Can Dogs Eat Jello Without Sugar?

Again, it is a no. If you have ever gone on a diet, you know that sugar-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not sweetened.

Sugar-free Jello often has artificial sweeteners like Xylitol. As a general rule, any Jello or gelatin that is brightly colored, smells like fruit, and has been sweetened, is not healthy for your dog. In fact, most dog owners keep Jello off the list completely just to be safe. We don’t recommend letting dogs eat sugar free jello.

Can Dogs Eat Jello Shots?

No. Jello shots contain Jello and they can be harmful to your dog. Anytime dogs eat Jello they are at risk.

Can dogs eat Jello if it’s a certain color?

You might be tempted to think that you can let dogs eat orange Jello, strawberry Jello, or some other color. But as we said before any type of Jello that has bright color, a fruity scent, and/or is sweet should be off limits for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Jello Pudding?

In theory if the pudding doesn’t have Xylitol as an ingredient it should be okay. However even it doesn’t contain Xylitol, it’s likely to have a lot of sugar and artificial flavors, which aren’t healthy for your pup either.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Jello By Accident?

If your dog has ingested Jello, or you suspect they have, there are a few things you need to do right away. First, find the packaging. Then, make note of the brand, flavor, and check the ingredient list for Xylitol. Keep the package if possible, and note the time.

Your next step should be to reach out to your vet. Waiting for symptoms to appear can be dangerous. Before calling, even if you end up not needing their assistance, you should know where the vet wants you to go, and what you should do in the meantime.

It’s also important that you don’t induce vomiting or give them any medications without the Vet’s okay. Instead, watch them closely for signs of distress. As we mentioned above, symptoms will typically occur within an hour, but it can vary.

Signs and symptoms also vary in severity. Take a look at these possible indicators of toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Wobble/ lack of coordination
  • Face systemic depression
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Whisker twitches
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Cowering
  • Lack of focus
  • Liver issues or failure
  • Hypoglycemic
  • Pinned back years

Reach out to your veterinarian as soon as you realize your dog has ingested Jello. It’s the best way to ensure your pet will make a full recovery.

Safe Jello Alternatives for Dogs

We have some great Jello/gelatin powder alternatives. Before we share those, however, we have a couple of canine recipes that will spice things up.

Both of these recipes require minimal ingredients and tools. You will need plain gelatin powder, a container, water, spoon and knife, chicken, broth, and strawberries.

Chicken bit gelatin is a tasty treat for your fur buddy. First, cook the chicken fully then tear it into bite-sized pieces. Next, make the gelatin, but add only half the normal amount of water. 

Replace the remaining water with the broth of your choice. We like chicken broth for the chicken gelatin. Add in the chicken, stir, and pop in the fridge to set. Once it’s done, you can give it to your pet as a side dish, snack, or treat.

You can make the recipe in several ways. Take a look at this video that gives you another option.

If you have a seafood lover on your hands, this salmon gelatin video will make you the hero of the house.

The next one is one of many homemade treats. Start by washing and chopping your strawberries into pup size bites. Make the gelatin as normal, add fruit, stir, and let set. Strawberries are a healthy fruit for your dog along with apples and bananas.

If you want to give your pup a candy-like surprise, we found an awesome gummy treat recipe. It makes a great alternative to meat-based gelatin powder. Watch the video below to see how quick and easy they are to create.

The Final verdict: Can Dogs Eat Jello or not?

The final verdict on this question is no. While some dogs can eat a small amount of Jello without having adverse reactions, the threat is very real.

There may also come a time when your pet finds its way to a dangerous meal without your knowledge. If you notice your dog has an upset stomach, keep a close eye on them to make sure symptoms don’t get worse. Run-of-the-mill tummy troubles don’t typically last more than a few hours, or at the most, overnight.

If symptoms persist,  get worse, or new issues appear, call for assistance as soon as possible.


To keep your pooch as healthy and happy as possible, you need to keep Jello as a strictly human dessert. There are many other treats, snacks, and meals you can provide that will keep them just as happy. If you don’t mind doing a little canine cooking, however, you can give them great dog gelatin recipes.

Photo of author
Bethany Tate
Writing and analyzing data are her superpowers. Dogs, nature, and trail running are her oxygen. Bethany passionately believes pets make the world a better place. Her world is made better by Nemo, her pet dachshund.