Who doesn’t enjoy sweets, whether they be cookies, cakes, or candy? There’s no one more eager to get their paws on an ice cream cone than your pet. But can dogs eat sugar?
As a primary ingredient in many of the not-so-healthy snacks that we all enjoy, can sugar be safely offered to our four-legged family members on occasion?
Is Sugar Safe for Dogs?
Sugar is not the best food for your dog to be eating because many of the negative impacts that sugar has on humans, such as weight gain and dental problems, also apply to our pets.
Therefore, it is probably not going to come as a surprise to you that sugar is not the best food for your dog to be eating.
Sugar is another sneaky component to avoid because it can be found in foods that we wouldn’t normally look for it.
Foods such as virtually every processed food item that can be purchased from the shelves of a grocery store.
Therefore, even though you probably wouldn’t dream of giving your dog a candy bar, there’s a good chance that it’s hiding in the chips, breads, or crackers that you give it as treats on occasion.
Even though your dog probably won’t be affected by the occasional dose of sugar, pet parents should still be aware of how much sugar their dog is consuming on a consistent basis.
First and foremost, dogs simply do not require any additional sugar in the food they eat.
Carbohydrates are the only type of sugar that are necessary for their survival.
All well-balanced kibbles already include the carbohydrates and other nutrients that their bodies need on a daily basis to function properly.
Glucose is the form of sugar that is produced when carbohydrates are broken down by the body into glucose. Glucose is the form of sugar that allows your dog to live a healthy life and for their bodies to function normally.
Therefore, giving your dog sugary sweets or foods that have been processed will not provide any nutritional benefit.
Despite the fact that it might have a pleasant taste.
Can Dogs Eat Sugar?
Sugar is not poisonous to dogs. However, it is not beneficial to them.
Dogs, like humans, have taste buds for sweets.
This is most likely due to the fact that dogs are omnivorous. This means they eat both meat and plant materials.
Carbohydrates found in fruits and fibers (e.g., grazing on grass or digesting plant-eating prey) were the natural foods that dogs would eat in nature.
However, table sugar and modern sweeteners are not natural to dogs.
Consuming granulated sugar can lead to gastrointestinal distress as well as an imbalance in the bacteria that live in the gut.
Sugar can cause vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and other symptoms of discomfort in your pet.
Symptoms can range from a mild stomach ache to a serious illness that requires hospitalization, depending on how sensitive your dog is and what they ate.
The long-term effects of sugar consumption include weight gain and diabetes as well as tooth decay.
4 Reasons Why Sugar Is Bad For Your Dog
Sugar Is Linked to Weight Gain and Obesity in Dogs
In 2018, 56 percent of dogs were overweight or obese. This is supported by veterinarians.
Banfield Pet Hospital, the nation’s largest preventive veterinary medicine provider, reported that more than half of their canine patients were overweight or obese.
Overfeeding and a lack of exercise are both contributing factors to this problem. However, sugar-containing dog foods and treats make it difficult for pet owners to break the addiction. Addicts (whether human or canine) crave more of what makes them happy.
Few dog owners can say no to a beseeching pooch with big, sad eyes begging for more sugary treats or food.
You might find yourself looking up weight loss plans for your dog before you know it.
Obesity Is a Leading Cause of Dog Diabetes
Obesity is one of the leading causes of pet diabetes, and eating too much sugar can lead to obesity.
According to VetSource, one in every 300 dogs will develop diabetes, a far too high figure.
Although Type I diabetes is the most common in dogs, Type II diabetes is the one most closely associated with weight issues.
As a result of hormones in the dog’s body preventing insulin from working properly, type II diabetes (also called insulin-resistant diabetes) develops.
These problematic hormones can be produced by excess body fat, which is why overweight and obese dogs are so common.
In other words, added sugar can cause long-term health problems for your dog, so be cautious.
Sugar and Sweeteners
While the majority of added sugars and sweeteners should be avoided or consumed in moderation, some have negative side effects or are toxic to dogs.
One of the most dangerous sugars for dogs is xylitol.
It’s a type of sugar alcohol derived from plants, such as the birch tree.
It is frequently used in:
- Baked goods
- Sugar free toothpaste
- Nut butters
- Hard candies
The reason it is used, is because of its sweetness and dental benefits for humans.
Xylitol is well metabolized by humans, but it is extremely toxic to dogs.
Xylitol is not frequently included in dog foods or treats because the information presented here is common knowledge.
However, as a pet owner, you should check for xylitol before giving your dog any human foods.
Sugar May Lead to Dental Damage
By the age of three, 80-90% of dogs and 70-70% of cats have some form of dental disease.
Despite the rarity of canine cavities and tooth decay, it’s important to monitor your dog’s oral health at all times.
Overindulgence in sugar by dogs can lead to a slew of dental issues.
Toxic bacteria in your dog’s mouth can eat the sugar and weaken their teeth.
Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to more serious health issues in a short period of time.
Dogs are susceptible to tooth decay, so it’s important to limit the amount of added sugar in your dog’s diet. On a daily or weekly basis, we recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth to keep them healthy.
A dog’s teeth and gums are kept clean and healthy with the help of dental chews or dog chews.
Natural Forms of Sugar
Then there are natural sugars, such as those found in fruits like bananas or blueberries.
There is a good reason why our four-legged friends rely on fructose—it provides them with the energy they need to chase a Frisbee, go for a walk or play ball in the backyard.
As a result of their abundance in beneficial nutrients for both humans and dogs, fruits make excellent dog treats because of their high concentrations of naturally occurring sugars.
But that doesn’t mean that any fruit will do, and as with all human foods, even fruits and vegetables should only be offered in moderation when they are offered in moderation (and with the okay from your veterinarian).
Grapes, for example, are toxic to dogs and should never be given to them as a treat.
Other Dangerous Source of Sugar for Dogs
You don’t need to rush out to find sugar-free alternatives for your dog just because you’ve been told that he shouldn’t have sugar.
For example, you could give him peanut butter instead of sugar.
Artificial sweeteners (like Xylitol) have replaced sugar in many of these products, and dogs should never be given these sweeteners.
Xylitol can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop, or lead to either hypoglycemia or rapid liver failure, which is why this particular type of artificial sugar is so dangerous.
It probably goes without saying, but another popular source of sugar—chocolate—is also a big no-no for your dog.
Certain kinds of chocolate can be lethal to dogs because they contain theobromine, a substance that is extremely toxic to them.
Some of these chocolates are:
- Dark chocolate
- Semi-sweet chocolate
- Bakers chocolate
Your vet will need to intervene immediately if your pet experiences vomiting or diarrhea, a rapid heartbeat, muscle spasms and even seizures due to an excess of theobromine in their system.
Sugar isn’t harmful to your pet if you consume it in moderation. It can give them an energy boost if it’s prepared correctly.
Nutritional benefits are confined to that. Too much sugar, on the other hand, is a recipe for disaster.
Which path should I take? Granulated sugar, in our opinion, should be avoided at all costs.
To add insult to injury, many of the foods associated with sugar can be harmful.
Make sure to stick to safe fruits if you want to satisfy your pet’s sweet tooth.
Aside from apples, bananas, and pears, all of these fruits are safe for your dog to eat, as previously stated.
We hope you found this information about sugar and whether or not it is safe for your pet to eat interesting and informative.