Can Dogs Eat Nerds? Vet Reviewed Nutrition Facts

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Did you drop a few Nerds on the ground that your dogs vacuumed up before you could grab them? If so, are these sugary, tart goodies toxic to our puppy pals? If your dog accidentally consumes Nerds, you may wonder if they pose any risks or dangers.

Luckily, when it comes to these tiny, hard, sugary candies, your dog is likely to feel next to no major effects. However, sugar is not good for your canine pal to eat, so neither are Nerds, like any other artificial candy.


What Are Nerds?

Nerds are a popular candy consisting of small, hard misshapen lumps of sugar and flavor. They have been in Halloween candy bags and Easter baskets for years, being a classic favorite to kids and adults everywhere.

If you want a fancier type of Nerds, you can also get the Nerds Rope, which is a sticky gummy covered in these tiny pebble-like candies.

Regardless of what kind of Nerds you have, it is unlikely to damage your dog seriously. You might notice some diarrhea or vomiting if your dog has a sensitive tummy.

Most of the time, they will digest the candy just fine in tiny quantities. Unless your dog ate an alarming amount of spilled Nerds, you should notice very few effects.

Luckily, traditional Nerds are in small packages, so your dog can only eat a tiny portion at a time.

Nerds Rainbow

Nerd Ingredients

The main ingredients in rainbow Nerds are as follows:

  • Dextrose
  • Malic acid
  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial dyes


The Trouble with Nerds

Let’s talk about potential irritants. If your dog eats a few Nerds, it’s likely to be fine. However, some sensitive dogs might have a little gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Too Much Sugar

Nerds are jam-packed with sugar. It is the primary ingredient, along with artificial flavoring. These types of sweets aren’t good for canines, or people for that matter. Having sugar in your dog’s system too frequently can have some impact on their health.

Artificial Dyes & Flavors

Some sensitive pups could be allergic to specific dyes and artificial flavors. Most veterinarians encourage you to avoid these ingredients in commercial dog foods. If your dog’s system is irritated by these ingredients, it can cause allergic reactions, such as ear and skin inflammation.

nerds candy sprinkled
Image Credit: Marta Maziar, Shutterstock

Dangers of Sugar for Dogs Long-Term

Sugar can cause mildly irritating to long-term ailments. A few nerds really won’t hurt your dog. But if you frequently give your puppy human food or sweets, the excess sugar is not good for their bodily systems. If you repeatedly allow your dog to sample your snacks, they will eventually start gaining weight, and gaining too much weight harms the body.

Weight Gain

If your dog has a high sugar intake in their diet, it can cause weight gain. This is just the first step into a world of other problems. Keep track of and maintain your dog’s weight, feeding them only what is appropriate for their current weight and activity level.


Obesity is a prevalent health issue among pets, and it’s easily preventable. If you add excess sugars into your dog’s diet, they are far more likely to become obese, leading to worse issues and even death if not corrected.

Metabolic Changes

If your dog has an overabundance of sugar on a regular basis, it can cause permanent metabolic changes. This is a pathway to diabetes and can affect multiple systems in your dog’s body, causing inflammation. 


Diabetes is a very commonly seen issue in canines. Even though it is frequently seen, it is often avoidable with proper diet and exercise. If your dog develops diabetes, you will need routine vet care and appropriate medications, like insulin, to regulate your dog’s blood sugar.

boxes of nerds

Be Aware of Packaging

If your dog snacks some nerds without your knowledge by themselves, they won’t do much in the way of harm. However, if your dog ate the wrapping, whether it be plastic or card stock, it can have a negative impact on their digestive system.

In most cases, your dog should be able to digest small amounts of foreign objects, but at worst, it can cause detrimental issues like intestinal blockages. So if you fear your dog ate any type of packaging, you might want to get them to your vet for further evaluation.



Even though Nerds themselves are not harmful to your dog, they really shouldn’t eat them either. Dogs don’t benefit from having any access to sugar or artificial colors and dyes in their diet. In fact, some dogs can be downright sensitive or allergic to these ingredients.

If you believe your dog ate some of the Nerds packaging, get them to your vet if there were any indigestible pieces. Because of the risks of intestinal blockages, it’s better to be safe than sorry in these scenarios.

Featured Image Credit: Marta Maziar, Shutterstock

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