Is your dog sweet? I’m sure he/she is. That’s not to say that they don’t deserve a sweet treat from time to time. Another question for you. Is your dog artificial? Of course, they aren’t. Why did I ask that? If he/she isn’t artificial, then why give them artificial sweeteners? Artificial sweeteners can be very bad for them and in some cases, deadly. In this article, I am going to tell you a bit about some artificial sweeteners and the effects they can have on your dog. Let’s jump right in.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that was introduced into some foods back in 1960 and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This was also used in many candy and gum products. These candies and gums were recommended by many dentists to help slow down tooth decay in children and also recommended to many people with diabetes and an alternative to using regular sugar. The reason for this is that Xylitol has fewer carbohydrates than regular sugar. Many people with diabetes know that carbohydrates turn into sugar in your system. I have mentioned in previous articles about hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia with dogs. The big thing here with artificial sweeteners is the toxicity that creates many health problems with animals especially. Side effects may include diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding, bruising, collapsing and even seizures. Some of these effects may show up in 10-15 minutes after consumption or they could show up several hours later, depending on how much was ingested. One example of this is an interview I had seen from a Canadian news affiliate where a woman who had wrapped 12 packs of gum in a gift package and hid it under the bed upstairs. The dog ripped it open and ate four packs of the gum. The Great Dane managed to get down stairs, collapsed and went unconscious, later passing on. Yes, this gum contained Xylitol.
Other artificial sweeteners that are not dog friendly
While Xylitol is the most toxic to our furry friends, it is not the only one out there. Some of the others that, we humans, think nothing about are common everyday sweeteners we us in our coffees and teas. We usually recognize them in diners and restaurants in those little sugar boxes on the tables by their different colors. Here are few of them:
- Stevia – this is the green packet, not see as often as others. It is a natural sweetener that comes from the Stevia plant.
- Aspartame – this is the blue packet. There are no serious side effects reported, although, could create some gastrointestinal issues.
- Saccharin – this is the pink packet many see. This is safe for dogs, but can cause gastrointestinal issues as well, while no long term effects have been tested as yet.
- Splenda – this is the yellow packet, I believe. This one is less likely to cause harm, but can still trigger intestinal distress according to Dr. Tina Wisner, the medical director of the ASPCA’s animal poison control center.
My personal opinion is to avoid using any of these in your dog’s food or preparation thereof. Why take the chance, right?
Naturally sweet dog treats
There are several different treats out there. I have a couple of recommendations, aside from making them yourself at home if you don’t have the time in your busy schedule. Many can be purchased reasonably inexpensively. For instance, sweet potatoes are a good source for natural sweetness for your dog. Another is pumpkin, not the pie filling you buy in the supermarket though. That has too many preservatives and may contain some artificial sweeteners. Baby carrots have natural sugar in them, but be careful not to overdo it with your dogs. Every now and then is fine, like during training exercises or just because they deserve a treat once in a while. Squash is another sweet vegetable for your dogs.
Okay, so I hope I’ve helped you with some information about artificial sweeteners and your dogs. Your dogs are sweet lovable creatures and family members. They are real, not artificial so keep them sweet without artificial sweeteners. Remember, keep all candy, gum and artificial sugar packets out or reach of your furry children, please.