Can Dogs Eat Liquorice? Benefits Of Slowing Down In Sweet Treats


    Liquorice is a popular treat enjoyed by many humans. However, as pet owners, it is important to be cautious about sharing our favourite snacks with our furry friends. So, can dogs eat liquorice? Let's delve into the benefits, risks, and proper feeding guidelines when it comes to sharing this sweet treat with our canine companions.

    What Are the Benefits Of Feeding Liquorice to Dogs?

    Believe it or not, liquorice in its natural form does offer some potential health benefits for dogs. Certain liquorice varieties, such as liquorice root, contain glycyrrhizin, a compound known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This can be especially beneficial for dogs suffering from inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis or allergies.

    When it comes to arthritis, liquorice can help reduce inflammation in the joints, providing relief for dogs experiencing pain and discomfort. The anti-inflammatory properties of glycyrrhizin can help alleviate the swelling and stiffness that often accompany this condition. By incorporating liquorice into their diet, dogs may experience improved mobility and a better quality of life.

    In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, liquorice has been used in traditional medicine to soothe digestive problems in both humans and animals. Dogs suffering from indigestion or stomach ulcers may find relief by consuming liquorice. The soothing properties of liquorice can help calm the digestive system, reducing discomfort and promoting healing.

    However, it is essential to note that these potential benefits are based on limited scientific research. While liquorice has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, more studies are needed to fully understand its effects on dogs.

    When considering feeding liquorice to your dog, choose the right type and ensure it is safe for consumption. Liquorice candies or products that contain high amounts of sugar or artificial additives should be avoided, as they can be harmful to dogs. Instead, opt for liquorice root or liquorice supplements specifically formulated for dogs, which can be found in pet stores.

    It's important to remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Some dogs may have allergies or sensitivities to liquorice, so it's crucial to monitor your dog's reaction when introducing it into their diet. If you notice any adverse effects, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, or changes in behaviour, discontinue the use of liquorice and consult with your veterinarian.

    What Are the Risks of Feeding Liquorice to Dogs?

    One of the main concerns is the presence of a compound called glycyrrhizin. This compound, when consumed in large quantities, can lead to liquorice poisoning in dogs. Glycyrrhizin is a natural sweetener found in liquorice root, which gives it its distinct flavour. When dogs ingest liquorice containing high levels of glycyrrhizin, it can cause a range of health issues.

    One of the most significant risks of liquorice consumption in dogs is the potential for increased blood pressure. Glycyrrhizin has been found to have a mineralocorticoid effect, meaning it can disrupt the balance of electrolytes in the body. This disruption can lead to an increase in blood pressure, which can be particularly dangerous for dogs with pre-existing heart conditions.

    In addition to the impact on blood pressure, liquorice poisoning can also cause electrolyte imbalances in dogs. Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, play a crucial role in maintaining proper bodily functions. When these electrolytes are thrown off balance, it can lead to various symptoms, including weakness, muscle tremors, and even seizures.

    Furthermore, certain liquorice products intended for human consumption may contain additional ingredients like artificial sweeteners or chocolate. These ingredients can be highly toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.

    Chocolate, for example, contains theobromine, a compound that dogs cannot metabolize effectively. Ingesting chocolate can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, even seizures or death.

    How Much Liquorice Is Safe for Dogs?

    If you decide to incorporate liquorice into your dog's diet, it is crucial to do so in moderation. As a general rule of thumb, the safe amount of liquorice for dogs is minimal. Experts recommend that liquorice should make up no more than 1% of your dog's total daily caloric intake.

    This translates to only a small nibble or two, depending on the size and weight of your dog. Monitoring your pet's overall caloric consumption and ensuring a well-balanced diet is of utmost importance to maintain their health and prevent any potential complications from excessive liquorice consumption.

    Common Liquorice Varieties That Are Safe for Dogs

    While liquorice candies and sweets are off-limits, certain liquorice products can be safe for dogs when consumed in appropriate amounts. Liquorice root, in its natural form, is often considered safe and can be found in some dog-friendly herbal supplements or treats.

    However, it is crucial to select high-quality liquorice products specifically formulated for dogs and consult with your veterinarian before introducing them into your dog's diet. Remember to check the ingredient list for any potential additives that might be harmful to your furry friend.

    Signs of Liquorice Poisoning in Dogs

    Identifying the signs of liquorice poisoning is vital to ensure your dog's well-being. If you suspect your dog has consumed excessive amounts of liquorice or shows any unusual symptoms, it is essential to seek veterinary assistance immediately.

    Common signs of liquorice poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, increased urination, muscle weakness, and irregular heart rhythm. Prompt treatment is crucial to prevent the potentially severe consequences of liquorice poisoning.

    How to Feed Liquorice to Dogs

    If you do receive veterinary approval to feed your dog liquorice, it is important to ensure safe and appropriate feeding practices. Firstly, opt for natural liquorice products without added sugars or artificial sweeteners. This will help minimize the risk of adverse reactions or other health issues.

    Secondly, always start with small quantities to test your dog's response. Observe for any signs of digestive upset or allergic reactions in the hours following liquorice consumption. Lastly, never make liquorice a staple in your dog's diet. Treat it as an occasional special reward rather than a daily indulgence.

    What Are the Alternatives to Feeding Liquorice to Dogs?

    If you're concerned about the potential risks associated with feeding liquorice to your dog or simply prefer to opt for safer alternatives, there are plenty of dog-friendly treats and snacks available. Natural fruits such as apples, blueberries, or rock melon can make for healthy and tasty rewards.

    Additionally, numerous commercially available dog treats are specifically formulated to cater to your dog's nutritional needs while providing a delicious and safe indulgence. Remember, always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best treats for your dog's specific dietary requirements.


    In conclusion, liquorice can potentially offer some health benefits for dogs when given in moderation and under veterinary supervision. However, the risks associated with excessive liquorice consumption should not be taken lightly.

    It is vital to prioritize your dog's overall well-being and ensure a balanced diet that meets their specific nutritional needs. When it comes to sharing treats with your furry companion, always prioritize safety and consult with a veterinarian to make informed decisions about what is best for your beloved pet.

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