Is Erythritol Bad for Dogs and Puppies to Have?
Erythritol is a natural sweetener that tastes like sugar but is healthier than sugar. Erythritol usage has gained popularity in the past few years because of its health benefits. There are many good reasons why erythritol is replacing the use of sugar and other artificial sweeteners.
Unlike other sweet things, it lacks calories and has a low glycemic index. This means, blood sugar and function of insulin remains the same, even after taking it. it’s also healthy for the teeth and doesn’t cause tooth decay like other sweets. This makes it healthy.
Before going into if erythritol is safe for dogs or not, we must know what Erythritol is.
Erythritol: What it is
Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that can be gotten from various natural sources like fruits, fermented foods and vegetables. This sugar can also be produced in labs and factories, in large quantities from fermented corn.
Erythritol is almost as sweet as normal sugar, and this makes it useful for healthy eating because you can get something almost as sweet as sugar, with Zero calories. Perfect right?
Erythritol has several other uses like; adding brown color in foods, giving food a good texture and helping to improve the ability to keep moisture in foods. Why is it called a sugar alcohol? This is because of its structure chemically. It’s very much different from beers, wines and spirits because those ones are under the family of Ethyl Alcohol. The reason it has zero calorie count is because it does not get broken down when absorbed because of its structure molecularly.
Can Dogs Have Erythritol?
To give the long-awaited reply, “is erythritol safe for dogs?”, The answer is simply yes, it’s safe. Erythritol as a sugar alcohol does not need to be broken down by insulin. However, it is already in its simplest form so it’s readily absorbed by the dog’s body. it’s not 100 percent as sweet as sugar, instead it just has 70-80% of sugar’s sweetness, this means the bacteria in the dog’s gut would not be needed to aid its digestion.
it’s still excreted in its unprocessed form, even after it has passed through the digestive system, even after it has passed through the bloodstream. This means it can cause no harm because it’s not absorbed.
Merits of Dogs eating Erythritol
Erythritol is not just safe, it has lots of health benefits to offer your dog. Some of these benefits are;
- Dog Dental Health Improvement
- Providing Stability in blood sugar
- Acting as a strong antioxidant
- Dog Gut friendly
When compared to other sweeteners, Erythritol has a good effect on a dog’s dental health, unlike the other ones that can cause plaque and cavities in the teeth. Instead of inflicting dental harms, it helps improve the dog’s oral health and eliminates oral bacteria.
As said earlier, it’s excreted without its form being changed, this makes it able to stabilize blood sugar. This means it can be consumed by diabetics and non-diabetics. Also, its Zero calorie value, makes it impossible to cause obesity. Instead it could be of help to regulate calorie intake in obese dogs.
Erythritol looks for free hydroxyl radicals, this can in turn, have anti oxidizing effects which can be beneficial to the heart, kidney, liver and intestines. This also reduces risk of inflammation in internal organs. It also prevents your dog from having constipation and neutralizes acidity.
The four carbon molecules in Erythritol’s chemical structure makes it very easy to be digested. When compared to other sweeteners with a high glycemic index, it gets digested completely. This makes it beneficial and safe to use in dog meals.
Excessive Usage can be Dangerous
Erythritol can be beneficial, depending on the amount of it, given in every dosage, if used excessively in a meal it can be harmful to the dog’s health. As in the case of other sweeteners, erythritol is no different when showing health problems when not used in moderation. Some things caused by excess use of erythritol are;
- Problems associated with gluten intolerance, in gluten intolerant dogs.
- Problems in the gastrointestinal tract
When erythritol is taken without moderation at heart, it can cause gas, bloating of abdomen and diarrhea. The diarrhea that comes after the excessive intake is due to the excess reabsorption of water, which in turn causes the stool of the dog to be loose. It can also spike problems in dogs that are gluten intolerant. There are sometimes little or negligible amounts of gluten in erythritol made from grains. Hence, if your dog is intolerant to gluten, it’s good for you to check the product you are buying to be sure it does not contain gluten. Manufacturers like Now foods produce erythritol that are gluten free, you could choose to buy that or any other gluten free erythritol or better still stay away from buying erythritol.
How to use
Erythritol is sometimes added with artificial sweeteners, to improve its slightly sweet taste. However, the use of artificial sweeteners is unhealthy and its use has been discouraged. An increase in weight, cancer risk, heart problems and even seizures; these are only but few that studies have shown artificial sweeteners to cause.
Hence, it’s important to avoid it. When using it, it’s important to introduce it into the dog’s diet, little by little. Introducing it wholly in large quantities can cause diarrhea and allergy. When used in little quantities you’d be able to know if it’s suitable for your dog. If your dog is allergic to it or it’s not suitable another option to try is stevia. it’s also natural with no calories and zero glycemic index, therefore it’s also a healthy choice. Do not hesitate to visit a vet whenever you notice any adverse reaction in your dog to a sweetener, it can help curb lots of health problems.
Erythritol is a good option if your dog has issues with metabolism and high sugar levels. it’s important to use in moderation. It’s also important to discontinue the use of any sweetener that is not suitable for your dog.