Can Dogs Eat Jello? All you Should Know (With Recipes)

Can Dogs Eat Jello? Photo of three dogs looking at jello.

Jello is a wonderful staple for dessert when you want something simple and fast as a sweet finishing touch to your meal. But, can dogs eat jello? Let’s find out!

Jello is not a good treat to share with your dog. Even in the best-case scenario, It is very high in sugar, which can create a lot of health complications for your dog. In some situations, it can contain source ingredients in flavors that can be dangerous for dogs if they are toxic. A lot of jello now contains sweeteners such as xylitol, which is toxic to dogs even in small amounts.

Is jello bad for dogs?

When you hear about jello, you’re probably thinking about strawberry jello, lime jello, or even blueberry jello. Jello is technically a brand name, and it’s used to describe the wiggly sweet dessert that we all tend to top with whipping cream or ice cream. Perhaps blend it with some fruit, too.

Regardless of how you prepare it, it is bad for dogs. It is sugary, often artificially sweetened, and has absolutely no nutritional value. Jello should never intentionally be given to your dog, even if it’s just a little bit because it’s so bad for dogs.

Can dogs eat regular jello?

If you’ve got the jello powder (in this case, it would be gelatin), you can give it to your dog. You’ll need to be careful, though. Jello powder can be sweetened, so you’ll want to verify that it is gelatin powder and not sugary powdered jello!

To ensure that you are doing this as safely as possible, you’ll want to check with your vet for dog-friendly jello/gelatin powder! We’ll talk a bit about the difference between jello and gelatin a little later since it can be pretty confusing!

Can dogs have flavored jello?

Dogs should have flavored jello! Whether it’s strawberry, orange, lime, blueberry, or lemon, no! All flavored jello is done through ha artificial or source flavors, and it is also going to be laced with sugar and other additives. While plain and dog-approved jello is technically safe, any flavored jello (done for the sake of human taste buds) is not.

Does jello have xylitol?

Not all jello has xylitol, you’ll be happy to learn, but it can! It’s much more common in today’s marketplace than it used to be, so you’ll always want to make sure that the jello that you want to give our dog has no xylitol in it.

The ones where you’ll see it most often is the sugar-free jello since xylitol is used as a sugar substitute to keep its natural sugar content as reduced as possible.

Can jello kill dogs?

Jello can kill dogs, yes. Jello is made for humans, so it’s got all sorts of potential dangers for your dogs. Some of the ones to think about include:

  • High sugar content
  • Source ingredients for flavors
  • Sweeteners
  • Preservatives 

High sugar content

Jello has a high sugar content, even for humans! Even a tiny amount of this sugary dessert is dangerous for dogs. They have a low sugar tolerance in general, and this sweet dessert can easily overload their system. Their likelihood of struggling with heart conditions, pancreas issues, obesity, diabetes, and more will increase. This also puts more strain on their joints, other organs, and overall health. 

Source ingredients for flavors

As discussed above, all flavored jello is terrible for dogs since it contains a high sugar content. 

However, certain flavors are worse than others. While most are artificially flavored, there are often some trace amounts of their source ingredients. If your dog is eating grape jello or chocolate or anything with a toxic ingredient in its flavor (for dogs). In that case, that trace amount can be enough to put your dog’s health at risk. 


In “no sugar added” or “low sugar” jello, you’ll find that sweeteners have been added to them to make them so supposedly low in sugar. These sweeteners, such as xylitol, are mostly harmless in humans since the dosage is so small. But to dogs, they are toxic even in tiny servings.


Some jello will use preservatives to help keep them on the shelf longer. All of these chemical additives will cause many issues with your dog’s digestive system. If they eat a lot of jello, this can lead to severe digestive upset and dehydration as a result. In dogs, dehydration is always a severe medical emergency.

Can dogs eat sugar-free jello?

No, dogs can never eat sugar-free jello at all, even if it’s just a bit of it. Since it contains xylitol, it takes only the smallest amount to be toxic. This kind of poisoning sets in very quickly and is hard to detect. More on that later.

What happens if a dog eats jello?

Sometimes, your dog will simply help himself to a jello cup or a spoonful of your dessert while you’re not paying attention. If you want to make sure that you are doing whatever you can to help him, keep an eye out for these symptoms!

  • Lack of appetite lasting for 24 hours
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting lasting for 24 hours
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Extreme hyperactivity
  • Signs of distress
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Any and all of these symptoms indicate that your dog is reacting to ingredients in the jello. It could be the amount of it, or it could be the flavor, or even the preservatives or other add-ins. You should call your vet immediately for an emergency appointment if you notice these symptoms.

A dog and a cup with jello.

What to do if my dog ate jello

Accidents happen, so the most important thing you can do is make sure that you are prepared with the correct information to help you out. Here’s what you’ll need to know:

Take note of what your dog ate and how much

To give your vet a complete picture of what your dog’s eaten, you’ll want to know what brand and what flavor of jello your dog ate. You’ll also need to make an approximate guess on how much your dog ate, too. When in doubt, round up a bit.

Call your vet and follow their instructions

Call your vet and fill them in with as much detail as possible when you have that information. They’ll probably give you some instructions on what to watch for, which is excellent. Or, they may recommend bringing him in to get checked out. Whatever they suggest, you’ll want to take their advice. They are the experts, so they’re the best equipped to be able to help you out with your dog’s specific needs and expectations.

Watch for symptoms

You’ll want to keep a very close eye on any symptoms you notice so that your dog is as protected as possible with your watchful eye! Seriously. As a responsible and loving pet parent, you will be the best one to determine when something is off about their behavior. If they are showing symptoms of any kind, take them in immediately.

Bring them in just in case

If you’re nervous or unsure, bring your dog in immediately to the vet. They hold emergency appointments open for this reason specifically. The faster that your vet gets a handle on your dog’s needs, the better the chances of recovery with as few complications as possible.

Gelatin vs. Jello: What’s the difference?

Okay, so we’ve been mainly talking about jello. What’s the difference between gelatin and jello itself? It’s in preparation!

Gelatin is the source of jello. Gelatin comes from a protein called collagen. This collagen can help with joint health, heart health, and more. It is colorless, transparent, and has no taste. Gelatin is not only safe for dogs, but it’s also recommended for their health! Many will feed their dog gelatin, which is a great idea. When looking to learn about portions, the best thing to do is to talk to your vet about how much gelatin your dog can have! They’ll also be able to recommend where you can find the best quality gelatin for your dog.

Technically, jello derives from gelatin. It’s healthy gelatin that is turned unhealthy by heaping in sugar, flavor, and more so that it becomes the sugary and sweet dessert that most of us know and love. This creates a very different final result, making it unsafe for dogs!

Can I make jello gelatin dog treats?

Yes! You can make gelatin-based jello dog treats for your dog. Quite a few people do it regularly! Take a look at two fantastic examples.

Chicken flavored gelatin dog treats

  • 1/4 pound fat-trimmed chicken breast
  • 1 large carrot, washed, peeled, and chopped
  • 3-4 parsley leaves
  • Water, for boiling (will need to reserve 1/2 cup)
  • 1 (.25oz) packet Knox gelatin powder plain, unflavored, and unsweetened

Cook all of the vegetables and the chicken thoroughly. Extract the solid foods from the pot and puree them with a blender. Mix your broth in the pot with a gelatin powder and whisk. Now add back in the pureed vegetables and chicken. 

Pour this mixture into silicone molds. Use dog bone shapes or whatever ones most get your attention! Chill for 1-2 hours. Voila, you have healthy and fun DIY dog treats that will be beneficial for your dog’s health.

Pumpkin-flavored gelatin dog treats

  • 1/2 cup cool unsalted unseasoned stock or water (or alternative dog-friendly liquid)
  • 3 tbsp quality powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 cup of cooked pureed pumpkin

Pour your stock into a pan on the stove. Add in gelatin powder and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, turn on low heat until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat, and then add in the pumpkin puree. Stir thoroughly to make sure it is well combined for flavor.

Pour into molds and chill for 1-2 hours. These treats are simple when you just want to use mashed pumpkin from your Halloween pumpkin or a can. They’re also very fast to make!

You can also find many more recipes online to try out different flavors. Sometimes your vet can give you suggestions, too, especially when sourcing the gelatin powder itself!

In essence

Remember that dogs shouldn’t eat jello unless you feed them the plain gelatin powder with no added flavors, colors, sweeteners, etc.

Jello is a lousy nutrition choice at the best of times and toxic at the worst of times — even in a small serving.

Jello is a very bad treat for your dog, even if it’s just a mouthful. It can cause complications such as digestive concerns, dehydration, sugar toxicity, and even cause a fatal reaction.

Make sure you know what makes jello safe or unsafe for your dog and what the signs of a complication look like!

Photo of author
Andre Neves

Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.