I never go without a packet of mint Tic Tacs in my car. I also never go anywhere without my dog Claude, so when he found a hard Tic Tac mint in my car and ate it, my immediate reaction was one of worry… after all, don’t these mints have xylitol in them which is toxic to dogs?
Rather than panic too much, I decided to phone my friend who is a vet, and then did my own online research into whether dogs can eat Tic Tacs safely. Here’s what I found out.
Can dogs eat mint Tic Tacs? Dogs should not eat any form of Tic Tac candy or gum. Whilst toxic xylitol is no longer found in the hard and smaller Tic Tacs that come in the plastic box, this poisonous ingredient is still found in Tic Tac gum product. So, it depends on what type of Tic Tacs your dog eats.
Confused? I don’t blame you.
The bottom line is this; if you want to keep your dog safe at all times, don’t let them eat any type of food that wasn’t designed for their diet. This is particularly true of things such as candy, sweets, gums, and mints.
But we do need to make a very important distinction; normal Tic Tacs no longer contain xylitol, but Tic Tac gum still does… and this can be very harmful to dogs.
Are Tic Tacs toxic to dogs?
In simple terms:
- Normal hard Tic Tacs are not toxic to dogs as they do not contain xylitol.
- Tic Tac gum is toxic to dogs as it contains xylitol.
So yes, Tic Tacs gum is toxic to dog, but the harder candy-based Tic Tacs are not. The image below should help.
But does that mean you should let your dog eat Tic Tacs of the harder non-gum variety which don’t have xylitol? No, of course not, and here’s why…
Can my dog eat Tic Tacs? No, your dog cannot eat Tic Tacs. They are just the right size to be a potential choking hazard, have no nutritional value, are high in sugar, and the gum version also contains xylitol which is toxic to dogs.
Calories and sugar are also bad…
And then there’s how many calories you will find in a packet of Tic Tacs. This can also have a negative impact on your dog’s health and diet.
What I decided to do was take two average sized popular dog breeds and calculate what they weighed and how many calories they need each day. It was quite surprising…
- Dogs should only eat 25 calories for each pound they weigh each day.
- Dogs should only have treats as 10% of their total daily food intake (the 90/10 rule).
Based on that data, here’s are two popular dog breeds and how many calories they need daily:
- Average French Bulldog is 25 pounds: Should eat no more than 625 calories daily.
- Average Labrador is 70 pounds: Should eat no more than 1,750 calories daily.
Keep these numbers in mind, as now I want to talk about whether dogs can eat Tic Tacs with a focus on the calorie content.
- Tic Tac mints in box (60 calories): 9.6% French Bulldog / 3.4% Labrador daily intake.
What happens if a dog eats Tic Tacs?
If your dog does eat normal Tic Tacs then he could get an upset stomach. Here’s what the ingredients are:
Mint Tic Tacs ingredients: Sugar, Maltodextrins, Fructose, Thickener (Gum Arabic), Rice Starch, Anti-Caking Agent (Magnesium Salts of Fatty Acids), Flavourings, Mint Essential Oil, Glazing Agent (Carnauba Wax).
None of this stuff is good for a dog’s digestive system and could result in vomiting and diarrhoea.
If your dog was to eat Tic Tac gum with xylitol, then then consequences are a lot more serious; here are the ingredients:
Tic Tac gum ingredients: Xylitol,Gum Base, Isomalt, Sorbitol, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Talc, Magnesium Stearate, Gum Arabic, Gelatin, Acesulfame Potassium, Acetylated Mono and Di-Glycerides as Emulsifier, Sucralose, Carnuba Wax.
Two ingredients shout out at me in particular; the xylitol and talc. Why on earth would you want your dog to ingest talc?!
But it’s the xylitol in Tic Tac gum which is the biggest concern.
If a dog eats Tic Tacs gum with xylitol it can produce a dramatic release of insulin. This is known to cause seizures in dogs, and can result in liver failure, brain damage, and possible death.
A study (read source) found that:
“Koenigshof and her co-authors examined records of 192 dogs known or suspected to have eaten products containing xylitol. Of the 192 cases, 122 dogs (+63%) were hospitalized for supportive care and 30 dogs (+15%) became hypoglycaemic at some point during evaluation at a veterinary teaching hospital.”
The amount of xylitol that can kill a dog is said to be between 50 milligrams (mg) per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg). The higher dose your dog eats, the more chance of liver failure and death.
My dog ate Tic Tac gum?
So, can your dog die if it eats one Tic Tac gum?
Probably not, as it would need a large quantity, but it certainly could be ill. You should consult with your vet if you even have the slightest suspicion your dog has ingested one.
In fact, here’s what I found a vet saying on the JustAnswer.com website:
“There are 2,000 mg of sugar alcohols (xylitol and sorbitol) in 6 pieces of that gum. Assuming the worst-case scenario – that nearly 2,000 mg of xylitol are in 6 pieces, there would be 1,333 mg in 4 pieces. 1,333 mg/45 lbs = 29.6 mg/lb of xylitol. Hypoglycaemia arises at doses greater than 35-45 mg/lb and so she should remain safe. There’s no need to induce emesis or treat in any manner.”
Despite this, even if you see your dog eat one Tic Tac gum, you should call your vet immediately due to the dangers of xylitol consumption – and I say that due to conflicting information I found online. For example; Embrace Pet Insurance say this on their website:
“As little as 500 mg of xylitol can sicken an average-sized dog and actually kill a small one. And since the average stick of xylitol-containing gum contains about 300 mg, the danger is high.”
Other human foods that contain this ingredient that you should also be wary of include:
- Baked goods
- Fruit drinks
- Jellies and jams
- Over the counter vitamin supplements
- Peanut butter
- Sugar-free candy
- Sugar-free puddings and Jello
Do Tic Tacs have aspartame?
I don’t believe Tic Tacs have the artificial sweetener, aspartame in them. It is not listed in the ingredients, but that’s not to say it won’t be present.
Regardless, according to the Cuteness website, aspartame is relatively safe for dogs anyway as it’s unlikely they would ever be able to consume enough to poison themselves.
“In studies, aspartame is shown to have no adverse effects on dogs in dosages up to 4,000 milligrams per kilogram – or 2.2 pounds – of body weight. Memory and learning skills began to be affected in dosages exceeding 5,000 milligrams. If your dog happens to ingest aspartame on an accidental basis, it is unlikely he would be able to consume enough to endanger his life, as 8 ounces of artificially sweetened yogurt contain only 124 milligrams.”
Can dogs eat orange Tic Tacs?
Providing it’s not a gum version of Tic Tacs containing xylitol, your dog could safely eat an orange Tic Tac, and probably won’t become ill. The same goes for any of the current flavors of the hard candy variety that come in a box:
- Coca Cola
- Fresh Adventure
- Fresh Mints
- Frosty Mint
- Winter Green
However, vets recommend you don’t let your dog eat candy or sugar-based snacks at all. Sugar is bad for dogs just like it is for humans. It can make dogs overweight, cause dental problems, and even lead to canine diabetes in extreme cases.
To conclude, never let you dog eat Tic Tacs or any candy or chewing gum. It’s not good for them and certainly isn’t healthy with zero nutritional value.
But more importantly, never let your dog eat Tic Tac gum. This is the variety that could potentially harm them due to the xylitol content… if in doubt ask your vet.
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Disclaimer: I am not a vet. The advice in this blog post was written having done my own online research plus my own common sense. All dogs are different so always consult with your own vet with regards to anything your dog eats.