It seems like dogs are nearly always around when we’re eating something, doesn’t it? Especially if we’re in the kitchen preparing food. Maybe that’s why people have so many questions about whether a dog can eat human foods. For example, can dogs eat jelly? Your dog probably has his eyes on you, watching intently, whenever you are smothering a piece of bread with jelly. Is jelly something that you can share with your dog? Keep reading.
What is jelly?
Jellies, jams, and preserves are generally sweet condiments made from fruits https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_preserves#Jelly though it is possible to make some savory preserves from vegetables such as squash and zucchini. Marmalade is a fruit preserve similar to jams. There are lots of varieties of jellies, made in different countries. Jelly usually refers to a clear fruit spread with the fruit pulp removed.
There are slight differences between these condiments.
- Jam is made from chopped or pureed fruit, so it generally has more texture than jelly.
- Preserves contain more chunks of fruit.
- Marmalade is preserves made from citrus fruits. Orange marmalade is the most common variety but you can also find lemon marmalade.
Jellies and jams are typically produced by mashing or chopping the fruit and boiling it with sugar and water. When the mixture reaches 104 degrees Celsius (219 F), the acid and the pectin in the fruit reacts with the sugar and it’s ready to cool. The pectin firms the mixture. Many people make jelly, jam, and preserves at home though it’s easy to buy it in supermarkets. Some commercial jellies are made with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup today.
Jelly made from fruits or as a dessert has a high sugar content. Approximately 99 percent of jelly and jam is carbohydrates (mostly sugar) and one percent is protein. It contains zero fats.
This food is very low in cholesterol and sodium.
One tablespoon of jelly (20 grams) contains about 55.6 calories, most of them from carbs.
Jellies and jams are very low in vitamins and minerals. Even though jellies and jams are made from fruits that often contain vitamin C, don’t expect to get much vitamin C from these foods.
Jelly and jam made from fruits is not the same thing as royal jelly (a gelatinous substance produce by bees) or the gelatin that is produced from processing animal bones, cartilage, and skin into a gel-like substance. Those forms of jelly are not used to make fruit jellies and jams. Royal jelly is used as a health supplement and ingredient in some compounds. Gelatin is an ingredient in some foods to help them gel.
The kind of jellies, jams, and preserves people ordinarily eat for breakfast are chiefly a source of carbohydrates. As part of your breakfast, they can boost your energy in the morning but they don’t provide many nutrients.
According to some sources, if you have pollen food allergy syndrome (PRAS) or oral allergy syndrome (OAS) , many kinds of jelly can act as a trigger. You should avoid jellies and jams that might have been exposed to certain pollens. For example, people with birch pollen allergies can be triggered by cherries, apples, kiwis, peaches, pears, and plums. There can also be cross-reaction between grapes, strawberries, and cherries. Cross-reaction is also possible between grapes and some other fruits.
Symptoms of oral allergy syndrome can include an itchy mouth, scratchy throat, swollen lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. Some people also have itchy ears and even hives on their mouth. Anaphylaxis is a possibility if you have an allergic reaction to grapes, cherries, or strawberries. An immune response to fruit pectin is possible if you are allergic to citrus fruit.
Some commercial jellies and jams are also made using xylitol which is toxic to dogs, especially jellies and jams which claim to be “sugar-free.” Be sure to read the ingredients if you are even considering sharing jelly with your dog.
Can you give your dog jelly to eat?
No, you really should not give your dog jelly. The high sugar content in jellies and jams is not good for your dog. In extreme cases, giving your dog foods with lots of sugar can affect his pancreas (though too much fat in the diet is more often cited) or even lead to diabetes eventually. Perhaps one bite of jelly won’t harm your dog but if you make a habit of giving your dog jelly or other sweet foods, it can be harmful. Anything that puts unwanted pounds on your dog can lead to chronic health problems.
What about different kinds of jelly?
All different kinds of jelly are potentially bad for your dog since all of them are very high in sugar. It’s possible than some kinds of jams and preserves are more harmful to your dog than others because they retain chunks of fruit.
Many people are familiar with the list of foods you shouldn’t feed to dogs. It includes foods such as peaches, because of the pits, and grapes because grapes apparently have a mycotoxin which is fatal to dogs. You shouldn’t give your dog peach jelly/jam/preserves because he doesn’t need the sugar. The pit or stone is not present so it’s irrelevant. The same is true with cherries. When they are used for jams the stones no longer matter. They are only bad for your dog because of the high sugar content.
On the other hand, I doubt if anyone knows whether grape jelly/jam/preserves contain the mycotoxin that is harmful to dogs. It’s possible that cooking them at a high temperature kills the toxin but who knows? That means you should not give them to your dog because of the high sugar and because of the possible presence of the mycotoxin.
As for other kinds of fruit jellies and jams, it’s best not to give them to your dog because of the high sugar content.
What if your dog eats some jelly?
If your dog eats a bite of jelly on toast it’s not the end of the world. However, if your dog grabs a jar of jelly and runs outside with it, managing to eat the entire contents, a call to your veterinarian is recommended. At the very least, your dog could have a sugar high and might need some help from your vet. Your dog could vomit, have diarrhea, or some other temporary problems. Call your veterinarian.
How often can you give your dog jelly?
If you really can’t resist sharing a little jelly with your dog, make sure that it doesn’t contain xylitol. Some of the sugar-free and low-sugar jellies and jams available today contain xylitol or “birch sugar” which is toxic to dogs. Read the ingredients to be sure.
If you give your dog a little jelly, keep the amount small. If your dog is a small breed, don’t give your dog more than just a small bite. Even a big dog shouldn’t have more than a bite.
It’s best if you don’t give your dog jelly very often. Remember that jelly is full of sugar and it’s not good for your dog. Giving it to your dog very often could lead to some chronic health problems.
We know that dogs have sweet tooths, just as we do. Jellies and jams are full of sugar but they don’t have much in the way of nutrients. It’s best if you don’t share your jellies and jams with your dog. If you can’t resist sharing, make sure that the jelly doesn’t contain xylitol or “birch sugar” which is toxic to dogs.