Skip to content

Yes, dogs can safely eat vanilla in its pure form. However, it adds little to no nutritional value; therefore, you should evaluate whether you should add it to your dog’s diet. Vanilla-flavored food is also mainly safe for dogs but not recommended due to its high calorie count. Vanilla extract, however, is toxic to dogs due to the alcohol in it.

safe icon

Safe: This food is generally considered safe by the veterinary community. Dogs can eat this food sometimes or in small amounts but contains little to no nutritional value.

Food Safety Safe in the form of beans and when added as flavoring to prepared food.
Nutritional Value Vanilla itself has no nutritional value for dogs. Vanilla-flavored food is high in sugar and carbohydrates, which can cause health issues over some time.
Potential Risks Vanilla extract in significant quantities can be toxic to dogs and they can get alcohol poisoning if they ingest it. Vanilla-flavored food, such as ice cream, cakes, or cookies are high in carbohydrates and fats and when fed to dogs regularly, they can lead to conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis.
Every dog is different. For specific feeding guidelines, including quantities and beneficial foods that are best for your dog, please consult your vet.

How Much Vanilla is Safe for Dogs?

Dogs can safely eat a vanilla pod or two. However, you should not be intentionally feeding them to your dog since they can be hard to chew and can get stuck in their teeth. A few bites of vanilla-flavored food as an occasional treat is also safe for dogs as long as it does not exceed ten percent of a dog’s daily calorie intake.

Are Some Forms of Vanilla Better than Others?

The relative safety of eating vanilla for dogs depends on the form they are eating. Vanilla beans or pods are safe for dogs to eat but hold no nutritional value. Vanilla extract by itself is toxic to dogs since it has a significant amount of alcohol. Food flavored with vanilla extract is still safe for dogs to eat since most of the alcohol evaporates in the cooking process and most foods only use a few drops of vanilla extract for flavoring.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If your dog enjoys vanilla, the best way to give it is Greek yogurt flavored with vanilla beans.

  • Dogs’ digestive systems cannot break down alcohol, therefore they are at risk of alcohol poisoning if they eat too much vanilla extract.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.