Can Dogs Eat Jam? Bad or Good For Dogs? (The Research)

can dogs eat jam

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Can dogs eat jam? You can feed your dog a tiny sliver of jam, but it is not recommended. Jam is mostly sugar, and its high sugar content contains no nutritional value for dogs. Excessive amounts of sugar (jams) can cause inflammation throughout the body, and too much sugar can lead to diabetes in dogs.

Although sugar is a necessary component of a dog’s diet, certain sugars and ingredients found in jams can harm dogs. Do you know what those are? Are there any safe jams for dogs? Are some jam flavors more harmful than others? This article analyzes the factors that make jams unsuitable for dogs, such as ingredient toxicity, risks and everything in between. Let’s dive right in!

Are Jams Good For Dogs?

Jam is a sweet spread made primarily from sugar, fruit, and citric acid and cooked down to achieve a thick, gelatinous consistency that preserves the fruit.

A preserve must be high in sugar to meet official jam labeling requirements. Jams are about 48–54% sugar. Or 9.7 grams of sugar per tablespoon. This is equivalent to 56 calories.[1] Most store-bought jams are based on fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries (fruits high in vitamin C and other nutrients). However, these fruits are heated to high temperatures, which diminishes their nutritional properties, making jam’s nutritional value negligible compared to the adverse effect it could cause in dogs.

While dogs can safely eat numerous fruits that contain naturally occurring sugar, jams are unhealthy in larger amounts due to their large sugar composition and preservatives. Jams are also high in calories. Feeding jam to your dog is not recommended.

Jam Ingredients: Are They Toxic to Dogs?

FruitCaution: Nearly any fruit can be used to make Jams. Jams made from fruits that are toxic to dogs should be avoided.
Citric Acid (lemon or lime)Toxic: While adding citric acid, such as fresh lemon or lime juice, is essential in making jams, these ingredients don’t get along with dogs. Their acidity can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, weakness, and diarrhea if large quantities are ingested.
Preservatives, colorants and flavorsToxic: Store-bought jams may also contain other chemically induced unhealthy ingredients for dogs.
SugarCaution: Sugar in jams can come from fruit, corn syrup and high fructose. Sugar gives jams their sweet taste and plays a role in flavor and texture. While sugar is essential to your furry friend’s diet, the type of sugar found in your typical jam is not what dogs need. John Faught, DVM, and medical director of the Firehouse Animal Health Center in Austin, Texas, says we “just don’t need to be giving them [sugar] since there’s no real added value.” From tummy troubles to obesity, your dog shouldn’t have sugar; as we discussed previously, jams are mostly sugar. 
PectinToxic: Pectin is a naturally occurring soluble polysaccharide found in fruits that determines how gelled or firm the jam is. It also comes as a powder that can be added during cooking for additional viscosity. In humans, pectin has been seen to cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, gas, and loose stools when taken by mouth alone. People who are exposed to pectin dust at work, such as in manufacturing, may develop asthma.[2] 

Can Dogs Have Jam?

Jam is generally not recommended for feeding to dogs because it contains sugar and sweeteners that are harmful to their health. Jams are unlikely to be harmful in small amounts, but it is still best to avoid giving them to your dog. Instead, mash up some fresh fruit like bananas are pretty sweet to give your dog healthier treats. Sugars are an essential part of your furry friend’s diet. However, the type of sugar found in your typical jam is not what dogs need. 

Remember, never feed jams made from fruits that are toxic to dogs. Also, beware of sugar-free jams. This type of jam typically contains xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs.

Is Homemade Jam Good For Dogs?

Dogs may have a silver or two of your homemade jam if there are no added preservatives, sugar, or pectin. Simply boil whatever fruit you are using and mash it up. Use the fruit’s natural sugar instead, and don’t add anything else. Be sure the fruit is safe for dogs, and always consult your vet before giving your dog new food. If you don’t have time to make a fruity treat for Fido, Wild Earth dog treats and Fruitables are two great options to give your furry best friend their daily dose of fruits while keeping them healthy.

Popular Jam Flavors Your Dog Should Avoid

Jams made from the fruits listed below are toxic and should be avoided.

  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Lmes
  • Plums
  • Raisins
  • Avocado

Can Dogs Eat Strawberry Jams?

Dogs can safely enjoy strawberries in moderation. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and an enzyme called malic acid, which is great for keeping dogs’ teeth clean and white.

However, they should not be fed Strawberry jam. The preservatives and sugars in jam can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Strawberries are already a sweet fruit, but when you add sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup to make strawberry jam, the sugar concentration is beyond appropriate for dogs. Strawberry jam has one of the highest jam sugar levels and should not be fed to dogs.

For instance, a Smucker’s strawberry jam jar contains 12 grams of sugar per tablespoon versus the standard (9.7 grams). Accidentally ingesting a lot of strawberry jam can be a problem.

Can Dogs Have Raspberry Jam?

While raspberries are safe for dogs to eat, they should be given in moderation as this fruit contains one of the highest levels of natural xylitol, which is harmful to dogs in large quantities. Raspberry jam, however, should be avoided due to the sugary and other additives found in jams.

Can Dogs Have Blackberry Jam?

Blackberries are okay to feed dogs. However, blackberry jam is the best to avoid. Jam often comes with lots of added sugar and other ingredients unsuitable for dogs.

Is Jam Bad For Dogs? 

Yes, jams are bad for dogs. They’re not toxic to canines, but they are very unhealthy when eaten in larger amounts or if they contain harmful ingredients. On top of the dangerously high levels of sugar, some jams contain ingredients that can be toxic to dogs, such as raisins or grapes. These can cause kidney failure in dogs and contribute to obesity and dental problems in dogs if consumed in excess.

Jam should never be fed to diabetic or overweight dogs. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may also react badly to the sugary taste or citric acid.

Possible Side Effects & Risks of Jam In Dogs

The following symptoms may indicate a bad reaction to jam. Keep an eye out for them and contact your vet if necessary.

  • Discomfort and bloating
  • Gas
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

The accumulation of sugars in your dog’s body and long-term consumption of jams could cause more severe conditions, including diabetes, pancreatitis, cavities, and obesity.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Jam?

One or two bites of jams shouldn’t cause too much concern. Immediately remove any remaining jam from your dog’s mouth, rinse their mouth thoroughly, and provide plenty of water. It’s crucial to prevent your dog from eating jam again. Monitor your dog for 24-48 hours, as some reactions can be delayed.

Call your veterinarian if your dog has consumed many jams and is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.

Can’t reach your vet? Contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 or chat live with a veterinary professional via our online vet chat or video chat support (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Dogs showing worsening symptoms, such as blood in their vomit or stool, difficulty breathing, weakness, or collapse, should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Are Dogs Allergic To Jams?

While not common, some dogs may have an allergic reaction or sensitivities to some fruits in jams. Symptoms can include itching, swelling, hives, and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis, a medical emergency. If you suspect your dog is allergic to any food, including jams, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian. Your vet can provide appropriate advice and help you formulate a safe diet plan for your dog. We also recommend conducting an at-home dog allergy test to determine if your dog is sensitive or intolerant to certain foods.

Can Puppies Eat Jams?

Feeding jam to puppies is generally not recommended. Puppies have delicate digestive systems, and their diet should be carefully controlled to ensure they receive the proper balance of nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Giving dogs jam or any other sweet spreads on toast is not advised. These foods can harm dogs because they contain high levels of sugar or toxic ingredients, which can cause digestive problems. Similarly, dogs can be intolerant or allergic to wheat or gluten in toast.

Giving dogs jam sandwiches or any other food containing jam is not recommended. As mentioned, jam and other sweet spreads can harm dogs because they have high sugar levels.

No, currants are toxic to dogs. Whether the current is black, red, or white, they are a seedless variety of grape (raisin). In jams, they can become even more dangerous to dogs.

While apricot jam does not typically contain toxic ingredients for dogs, it has a high sugar content that can harm your dog. Consuming too much sugar can cause health problems in dogs.

Never give jam in doughnuts to dogs. The high sugar content in jams and doughnuts is unhealthy for dogs.

Jam tarts are not appropriate for dogs. It’s not recommended to feed any food containing jams.

Feeding dogs jam roly poly is not recommended. In addition to the high sugar content of the jam, the suet pastry used in jam roly poly is not a healthy choice for dogs due to its high fat content. Avoid giving them jam roly poly or any other sweet, sugary foods.

Dogs can’t eat figs, but in strict moderation. The fig leaves contain a sap that can irritate dogs, either on the skin or when ingested, so it’s best to avoid jam made with fig altogether.

The Bottom Line

Adding jam to your dog’s diet or even as a one-time treat is not advised. Most store-bought jams contain high amounts of sugar and preservatives, which can harm your dog’s overall health. You may offer your dog a silver of your homemade jam if there are no added preservatives, sugar, or pectin. However, always consult with your veterinarian first. The amount of sugar in jams can jeopardize your dog’s health. Jams do not provide any nutritional benefits to dogs, and it’s best to avoid feeding them to your pup. There are better and healthier treat options out there. If your dog has a sweet tooth, you can treat him with dog-friendly treats such as peanut butter made for dogs. Our pup loves Buddy Budder Peanut Butter (no sugars added).

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