Can Dogs Eat Frosting? Is it Really Safe? Here’s the Answer

Last Updated on April, 2024

Suppose you put a slice of birthday cake with a yummy frosting on top in front of your dog. It will swallow it with a big gulp without hesitation. 

But as a responsible dog owner, could you allow it? 

While it’s heartwarming to see your dog enjoying the cake with the frosting, you must remember that they are unhealthy for your dog. 

But why? And is there any alternative?

Keep reading the article to find out why frosting is unhealthy for your dog, its potential impacts, and some safe alternatives for frosting.

Quick Summary

No, dogs cannot eat frosting due to the ingredients it contains, such as butter, powdered sugar, raw egg whites, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, and macadamia nuts.

Consumption of frosting can lead to digestive issues, dental problems, weight gain, cardiac problems, diabetes, and a shorter lifespan.

There are safe alternatives to traditional frosting that use healthy ingredients and can be used as a special treat for dogs in moderation.

Can Dogs Eat Icing?

A fluffy Poodle Eating Icing Cake

Frosting contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs in small amounts. If your dog accidentally eats a small amount of frosting, then there are no issues. However, if dogs eat icing in large quantities, it can cause an upset stomach. 

Consumption of frosting for an extended period in small amounts can lead to metabolic impairments in your dog. So it’s better to avoid frosting at any cost.

But the good news is that there are healthy frosting alternatives. You can get to know all about that in this article. 

Difference Between Frosting and Icing

Before going further, let’s know what icing and frosting are precisely.

Even though frosting and icing are used interchangeably, they differ based on their ingredients in the pastry world. 

The frosting is the whipped topping found on top of cakes. They are made by beating butter and sugar till they become fluffy. 

Icing is also found on top of the cakes. But they are also used to hold tiered cakes together. Icing comprises icing sugar, water, and milk/ cream. 

Why is Frosting Unhealthy for Your Dogs?

First of all, frosting consists of butter and sugar. In addition, there can be vanilla essence, cocoa powder, and artificial coloring. 

Butter is an unhealthy dairy product for your dog if consumed in large amounts.

Here’s the reason behind it.

Dairy products contain lactose. Lactase enzyme is required to digest lactose. (1)

But dogs do not have this enzyme. Therefore, most dogs are usually lactose intolerant.

A White and Brown Doggy Eating Frosting

So, if your dog consumes a lot of frosting or dairy products, it can lead to flatulence, lack of appetite, diarrhea, bloating, and vomiting.

The second primary ingredient in frosting is powdered sugar. A small amount of icing sugar in a dog’s diet is not a big issue. 

However, eating sugar in large quantities harms your pet’s health. Why is it?

Dogs are carnivorous animals. That means they can thrive only on proteins and don’t need carbohydrates or sugars. Their metabolism has evolved in this way. So, consuming too much sugar can cause dental problems and canine obesity.

Now, look at the minor ingredients of icing bad for your dog:

  • Raw egg whites: Raw egg whites can contain salmonella. Salmonella can make your dog sick. 
  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains methylxanthines that are toxic to your dog. Consuming chocolates in excess can cause increased heart rate, vomiting, trembling, excessive urination, and other digestive problems.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Flavorings and colorings contain xylitol, which is a sweetener. Consumption of xylitol causes nausea, vomiting, and, at times, liver failure and hypoglycemia, which could be fatal. Even natural flavors, such as citrus fruits, are harmful beyond a point. 
  • Macadamia nuts: Macadamia nuts are not standard in frosting. But it can be present at times. These nuts cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremor, and fever. 
  • Others: Icing can also contain other ingredients like alcohol and dried fruits in small quantities. Some dogs show allergic reactions to certain elements. So they can be harmful to their health.

Potential Health Issues Caused By Eating Frosting

Two pictures of a dog eating a birthday cake

Let’s look deeper into the potential health effects of dogs eating icing in large amounts.

  • Digestive issues: Cake icing can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach upset. Usually, these symptoms last for a few days. But at times they may exist for an extended period.
  • Dental issues: Sugar causes toothaches in dogs. Too much-processed sugar consumption can lead to tooth decay, causing extreme discomfort to your dog.
  • Weight problems: Too much sugar leads to weight gain in dogs. When dogs become overweight, it can hinder their regular activities. They might find difficulty in running, walking, and breathing.
  • Cardiac problems: If dogs eat cake icing regularly, increased heart rate, seizures, panting, swelling, and pain can occur.
  • Diabetes: Too much sugar prevents your dog’s body from effectively using the insulin produced. So, it’s better to avoid giving regular sugary treats. 
  • Short life span: Ultimately, all the above-mentioned issues can reduce dogs’ life span.

What to Do if Your Dog Has Eaten Frosting?

At times, your dogs can be sneaky. They can eat what they are not supposed to. So, if your dog ate icing accidentally,

follow the steps below.

  • Determine the amount of icing that your dog ate. If it’s a small amount, there’s nothing to worry about. Your dog may have digestive system problems that persist for a few days. 
  • During this time, make sure to give plenty of water to your dog to prevent dehydration. Also, withhold foods for a few hours and then feed gentle, easy-to-digest foods after fasting.
  • Supervise your dog for the next few days and notice if it shows any health problems or digestive system issues. If the symptoms persist, take your dog to a check-up. 
  • If your dog has consumed a lot of icing, take him straightaway to a vet. The vet can advise you about the potential impacts and what medicines to take. 
  • Try to identify the ingredients and check if the frosting contains any toxic ingredients or ingredients your fur baby is allergic to. You can also inform the veterinarian if you are unsure about the ingredients.
  • Follow the instructions of the vet to make your dog get back to health soon. 

Other Party Foods That Can Be Harmful to Dogs

A Brown dog eating an icing cake on the table

Frosting is not the only food harmful to your dog at your birthday party.

Here are some others:

  • Chocolate: As mentioned already, methylxanthines in chocolate is toxic. With that theobromine and caffeine are two significant ingredients present in chocolates, and guess what? Both are toxic to dogs; adding to that, dark chocolate and cocoa powder are even more dangerous. 
  • Sugary treats: Avoid feeding your dog cookies, candy, and ice cream. They contain too much sugar, leading to short-term and long-term health issues.
  • Pizza: Pizza contains dairy products that can cause digestive problems. On top of that, they have garlic and onion, which are toxic to dogs. They can cause kidney failure and organ damage.
  • Guacamole: The main ingredient of guacamole is avocado. It can cause serious health problems for your dog if ingested.
  • Alcohol: All types of alcoholic drinks are harmful to your dog. So avoid feeding them. But you can buy dog-friendly beer if you want. 

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Unhealthy Foods?

A White and brown dog eating burger bun

As pet parents, preventing your dog from eating unsafe foods is the best way to maintain your dog’s health. 

It would be best to take precautions to ensure your dog doesn’t eat any toxic foods.

I am giving you some tips for that:

  • Establish healthy food habits from the beginning. Feed your dog with enough food in a timely manner and stick to a consistent feeding schedule.
  • Train your dog to obey your commands so your dog will stop eating something when you command to. 
  • In addition, feed your dog healthy, nutritious food. Refrain from providing sweet treats often. If you do that, your dog will develop a sweet tooth. 

The above points will take time to develop. So be patient while training:

  • If your food is sitting out in the open and the tables are low enough for your dog to reach, supervise it. Or else keep your dog in a separate room while eating or preparing food. 
  • Keep your trash cans away from the reach of dogs.
  • Only allow children to feed your dog with supervision.

Safe Frosting Alternatives 

A dog eating a birthday cake with a birthday hat on it

I know you love your furry friend and want to give everything to make it happy. So here’s the good news. 

Even though frosting is terrible for your dogs, there are dog-friendly icing recipes. 

I’ll list some of them here:

  • Instead of using sugar and butter and artificial colors, use healthy alternatives such as unsweetened yogurt, cream cheese, pumpkin puree, shredded carrots, and natural peanut butter.
  • Use tapioca starch in place of egg white. Tapioca starch is a hardening agent used in dog food. 
  • Mix the dog treats with cauliflower puree to make it more savory.
  • Mix grated carrots with sugar-free, dog-friendly ingredients.
  • Prepare cream cheese frosting or use unsweetened yogurt to prepare the frosting. Make sure your dog is lactose tolerant if you are using this. 
  • An alternative to chocolate is carob. You can mix carob with cream cheese, yogurt, or the regular treats, which will be the same as the icing. 

Next time, you can use the above homemade icing to make a cake for your dog’s birthday party.

There are pet stores that make safe frosting for your dog. If you can find one nearby, you can opt for it. If they have already prepared frosting, inquire about the ingredients before buying. 

Another question is: can dogs eat large amounts of safe frosting alternatives?

No, you can give dog-friendly frosting in moderation and as a special treat only. Don’t use this as a regular treat for your canine companion. 

Ingredients to Avoid in Your Dog’s Frosting

Variety of junk foods on the table

Some ingredients will not cause much harm to your dog if consumed in small amounts. However, some are toxic to dogs even if consumed in small quantities.

I understand that we like to try a variety of ingredients. But it isn’t healthy for our canine companions. 

Therefore, I am giving you a list of unhealthy ingredients for your dog. 

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Xylitol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol 
  • Citrus
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Yeast dough
  • Macadamia nuts

Make sure you avoid the above ingredients altogether. 

Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:

Verdict: Can Your Dog Eat the Icing on the Birthday Cake?

Feeding your dog with small amounts of frosting occasionally is not a big deal as long as they don’t have any toxic ingredients. 

But if your dog eats icing in substantial amounts, it can affect the dog’s health. Overall, it’s better to avoid frosting altogether.

Still, if your dogs love frosting, you can prepare sugar-free icing with pet-friendly ingredients and feed them in moderate amounts. You can also order dog-friendly frosting from local stores. 

If your dog consumes frosting in large amounts, consult a vet immediately. 

FAQs

Yes, icing can be harmful to dogs if they consume large amounts of toxic ingredients and do not receive immediate veterinary care, potentially resulting in death.

No, it’s not safe for dogs to consume cake ingredients like flour, icing sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. It’s best to avoid giving these to your dog.

No, it is not safe to feed your dog large amounts of dog-friendly frosting. Moderation is key to ensure their health, even if the frosting contains healthy ingredients.

No, dogs can’t consume sugar-free icing due to potential harmful ingredients like alternative sweeteners, dairy, or butter. It’s best to avoid feeding sugar-free icing to dogs.

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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