Can Dogs Eat Swedish Fish? [Safe or Not Safe?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Picture this: it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I’m lounging on the couch, munching on a bag of delicious, chewy Swedish Fish, when my furry best friend sidles up next to me.

Her big, pleading eyes lock onto mine, and I can almost hear her say, “Hey, buddy, care to share some of that fishy goodness?”

Now, I’ve always been a sucker for those puppy dog eyes, but before I toss her a tasty morsel, my responsible dog-owner instincts kick in.

Can dogs eat Swedish Fish?

Will my precious pup be okay, or will I be making an impromptu trip to the vet’s office?

In this post, you will learn why Swedish fish is not good for your dog, the problem with too much sugar, and some awesome alternatives you can use instead.

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Is Swedish Fish Good for Dogs?

Is Swedish Fish Good for Dogs?

Swedish Fish is a sweet chewy candy in the shape of a fish, hence the name, and it isn’t good for dogs. 

Contrary to what it is called, Swedish Fish doesn’t have any fish in its ingredients but rather an insane amount of sugar.

If you ask me, I think even humans like us shouldn’t be indulging in such large amounts of sugar.

Since this candy is packed with sugar, your dog won’t be getting any proteins or fibers to keep him energized throughout the day.

In fact, if you let your dog enjoy this sweet, you’ll notice that he’ll be more lethargic very soon.

And if you can’t resist giving him Swedish Fish each time you have some for yourself, chances are high that he’ll gain more weight.

Long story short, Swedish Fish doesn’t cater to your pup’s nutritional needs.

It can instead worsen their health, so better skip this!

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog ate wax paper

How Does Sugar Affect Dogs?


A little itty-bitty amount of sugar shouldn’t cause any adverse effect on your doggy.

But consuming large amounts of sugar can definitely NEGATIVELY affect your dog, especially when it becomes habitual.

Weight gain can lead to obesity, which in turn causes diabetes which could potentially happen to a dog who loves sugar.

If your dog had a lot of sugar on just one occasion, an upset stomach is mostly the common effect.

Your dog has healthy bacteria in his stomach which aids in digesting food. 

However, too much sugar upsets these bacteria. That’s why your dog may vomit or experience diarrhea when he intakes too much sugar.

As much as possible, limit your dog’s access to sugar. Trust me when I say sugar isn’t good for your dog!

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Can Takis kill dogs?

7 Reasons Why Dogs Should Not Eat Swedish Fish


1. High sugar and lousy calories

Minimal sugar isn’t necessarily harmful to dogs, but the high amount of sugar in Swedish Fish is detrimental to dogs.

The level of sugar in Swedish Fish can already encourage vomiting and diarrhea, especially in smaller breeds of dogs.

If your dog has been indulging in too much of this candy, it’ll be gaining excess weight that’s not proportionate to its age, and body build.

Swedish Fish is also high in lousy calories which are so useless for your dog’s body.

Some calories are good for the body, but the ones found in Swedish Fish have no nutritional value to any dog.

When your dog consumes the lousy calories from Swedish Fish, they’ll be hyper for a while.

Hours later, they’ll be lethargic and fatigued.

2. Cause digestive problems

Swedish fish has a lot of artificial sweeteners and coloring that aren’t harmful to humans, but dogs might react negatively to it.

Your dog has a sensitive digestive system, and too much sugar can cause an imbalance in the bacteria present in his tummy that makes digesting smoother.

When those bacteria are disrupted, your dog won’t be able to digest his food easily, leading to digestive problems like diarrhea, pancreatitis, and bloating.

3. Lead to obesity

I’m sure you already know how much sugar contributes to weight gain.

If your dog keeps eating Swedish Fish, the amount of sugar in calories in it will build up in its body until he gains weight.

When this becomes excessive, gaining weight won’t stop either which will lead to obesity.

Look, obesity among dogs is a real thing, and it not only hinders dogs from doing physical activities but also be the cause of more diseases that can endanger the life of doggies.

4. Poor nutritional value

If I haven’t emphasized it enough, Swedish Fish has poor nutritional value for dogs.

It’s rich in sugar and calories that aren’t necessary for your dog’s growth and health.

You have to know that dogs and humans don’t have the same nutritional needs.

Candies might be alright for humans to enjoy, but candies, especially sweet ones, aren’t good for dogs.

As a fur parent, if you wanna give your doggy some treats you better just stick to treats that are actually designed for dogs.

5. Bad for teeth

Being overly sweet, Swedish Fish is bad for your dog’s teeth.

Your dog’s mouth bacteria will be in a frenzy of delight with all the sugar in his mouth, but those same bacteria will most likely produce acid from the sugar they’ve fed on, and the said acid will in turn erode the enamel of their teeth.

When your dog’s teeth become weaker, he’ll develop dental problems like cavities.

6. Possible cause stomach upsets

Dogs have different digestive systems than humans.

Humans might be able to digest sugar faster, but dogs usually have trouble digesting large quantities of sugar.

When sugar builds up in your dog’s tummy, it’ll cause an upset stomach that may lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

7. Bad table manners

Swedish Fish is human food after all.

If you feed it to your dog, he’ll think that it’s okay for him to ask for more table scraps when you’re eating other food.

There can be a chance wherein your dog will become aggressive when you refuse to give him some food off the table, which is a totally undesirable behavior.

Feeding your dog Swedish Fish will make him assume that eating other human food is okay to do, and he’ll expect you to keep feeding him more next time.

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Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Can dogs eat flan?

How Much Swedish Fish Can a Dog Eat?

It’s not good for your dog to eat Swedish Fish, and as much as possible you should refrain from giving it any amount at all.

But to answer the question, a dog can only eat no more than 10 grams of Swedish Fish.

Even then, 10 grams of Swedish Fish is already equivalent to 36 calories, which should be from other healthier sources instead.

Are Swedish Fish Toxic to Dogs?

Swedish Fish, as much as it’s high in sugar, doesn’t contain xylitol. Hence, it’s not toxic to dogs.

However, this still doesn’t excuse the fact that Swedish Fish isn’t good for your dog.

Just the amount of sugar in Swedish Fish is already enough reason to skip it from your dog’s diet.

What Happens if a Dog Eats Swedish Fish?

A little taste of Swedish Fish won’t affect your dog.

But if he consumes excessive amounts of this candy at short intervals, you’ll expect him to have an upset stomach.

In the long run, if he still doesn’t stop eating Swedish Fish, he’ll become obese and more prone to heart disease and diabetes. 

Alternatives to Swedish Fish for Dogs

Swedish Fish is very unhealthy for your dog, so you better give him healthier options, and there’s a ton of them for you to choose from.

I personally use a few different kinds, but recently my two dogs seem to like this sweet potato treat very much!

It’s a better alternative to Swedish Fish because it’s naturally designed for doggies, and it’s sweet but has little to no sugar.

It’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and highly digestible as well so your dog has no reason to have an upset tummy!

You can also just give your dog some fruits so long as you’ve removed their seeds since seeds aren’t good for your doggies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Swedish fish candy have xylitol?

Swedish fish candy doesn’t have xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener usually used as an alternative to sugar, and it’s very toxic to dogs.

Can Swedish fish kill dogs?

Too much Swedish Fish can potentially kill dogs. It’s rich in sugar that can be very sticky once inside your dog’s digestive system. It doesn’t digest well, and can potentially lead to digestive complications, then death.

What candies can dogs eat?

Sugary products like candies aren’t good for dogs. But dogs may eat candies like Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, and Starburst so long as they won’t consume more than 10 grams of those candies.

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Swedish Fish?

We’ve navigated the choppy waters of Swedish Fish consumption, and it’s time to dock our boat and sum up our findings.

Now you know the risks and problems it might cause, it’s best to keep our Swedish Fish to ourselves.

Find them a healthy alternative instead!

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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