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Is Erythritol Safe for Dogs?

The food industry can’t get enough of the erythritol and this naturally abundant sweetener is gaining popularity for its many benefits. Erythritol is 60-80% as sweet as sugar with almost no calories and does not affect blood sugar levels, making it a great alternative for diabetics or those watching their weight.

What is Erythritol?

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. It is about 60-80% as sweet as table sugar, has almost no calories, does not affect blood sugar levels, and does not cause tooth decay. Erythritol is also a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose.

Compared to other polyols, erythritol has the highest digestion tolerance and is almost completely absorbed by the body before it reaches the large intestine, where it is excreted.

Why is that important you may ask?

Well, when undigested erythritol reaches the large intestine, it can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea in some people. However, erythritol is much better tolerated than other sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol.

Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar and is used in many sugar-free and “low carb” food products.

Is Erythritol Safe for Dogs?

Yes, erythritol is safe for dogs. In fact, erythritol is often used as a natural sweetener in dog treats and food. However, like any sugar alcohol, erythritol can cause stomach upset in some dogs. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, it’s best to avoid giving them erythritol-containing treats or food.

Unlike other artificial sweeteners used by major dog food brands, erythritol is a sugar alcohol and does not cause any spikes in insulin levels. Therefore, erythritol is a safe alternative sweetener for dogs with diabetes.

What are the Benefits of Erythritol?

There are many benefits of erythritol, both for dogs

Erythritol is a popular sweetener because it:

It improves dog oral health:

Since erythritol does not promote tooth decay, it can actually help improve your dog’s oral health. According to this 2001 Study, erythritol does not result in a build-up of plaque when compared to other sugar alcohols.

Another more recent 2016 Study revealed that erythritol reduces the build-up of plaque and is great at reducing dental caries and oral bacteria compared to others such assorbitol, xylitol, and sorbitol.

Source: Cargill
Source: Cargill

-Does not affect blood sugar levels:

Erythritol is slowly absorbed by the body and does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This makes erythritol a safe alternative sweetener for diabetics or people watching their weight.

This study revealed that erythritol in dogs has no impact in blood sugar levels.

-Is all-natural:

Erythritol occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. It is also made by fermentation of glucose.

-Has almost no calories:

Erythritol contains only 0.24 calories per gram, which is about 6% of the calories in sugar.

Aids in weight loss:

If you’re looking for a natural sweetener to help with weight loss, erythritol is a great choice. Since erythritol does not affect blood sugar levels, it will not cause cravings or spikes in insulin levels.

In fact, erythritol can actually help you lose weight. One study showed that erythritol consumption resulted in weight loss and a decrease in body fat mass.

Another study showed that erythritol can help reduce food cravings and the desire to eat high-calorie foods.

-Is good for your dog’s gut:

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is almost completely absorbed by the body before it reaches the large intestine. This means that erythritol will not cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea like other sugar alcohols can.

In fact, erythritol can actually help improve your dog’s gut health. One study showed that erythritol can help reduce the growth of harmful gut bacteria.

-Is a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners:

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners, erythritol is a great choice. Erythritol is all-natural and does not contain any harmful chemicals.

What are the Drawbacks of Erythritol?

While there are many benefits of erythritol, there are also some drawbacks to consider.

-Erythritol can cause stomach upset in some dogs:

Like any sugar alcohol, erythritol can cause stomach upset in some dogs. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, it’s best to avoid giving them erythritol-containing treats or food.

-Erythritol can be expensive:

Erythritol is often more expensive than other sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol.

-Erythritol can be hard to find:

Erythritol is not as widely available as other sugar alcohols. You may have to order it online or buy it from a specialty store.

The erythritol poison is the portion you give your dog:

Erythritol can be toxic to dogs in large doses, so it’s important to only give them a small amount.

Some side effects of offering too much erythritol include;

Gastrointestinal distress:

Erythritol can cause stomach upset in dogs, including diarrhea, vomiting, and cramping. As it draws water from the intestines, erythritol can also cause diarrhea because of increased liquid in the stool.

Lethargy:

If your dog ingests too much erythritol, it may become lethargic and tired. As erythritols is absorbed by the body, it can cause a drop in blood sugar levels, which can lead to lethargy.

If you think your dog has ingested too much erythritol, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Muscle tremors:

Erythritol can cause muscle tremors and seizures in dogs. Muscle tremors are caused by the low blood sugar levels that can result from erythritol ingestion.

Seizures:

Seizures are a serious side effect of erythritol toxicity in dogs. If your dog is having a seizure, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Gluten:

Erythritol can also contain gluten, which can be harmful to dogs with allergies or sensitivities. They are made from wheat which is where the gluten is found.

As erythritol does occur naturally in fruits, it’s important to check the labels of any erythritol-containing products you’re considering giving to your dog. Make sure the product doesn’t contain any other ingredients that could be harmful to your dog.

Artificial sweeteners:

Most kibble manufacturers try to add artificial sweeteners to make erythritol taste more appealing to dogs. However, these sweeteners can be harmful to your dog’s health. As seen on the snapshot below, they are not the sweetest.

Aspartame, for example, is an artificial sweetener that has been linked to cancer in dogs.

Saccharin is another artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Saccharin can cause liver damage and gastrointestinal distress in dogs.

If you’re considering giving your dog erythritol, make sure the product doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners.

Natural alternatives to erythritol:

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to erythritol, there are several options available.

Honey:

Honey is a natural sweetener that can be safely given to dogs in small amounts. Honey contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can be beneficial to your dog’s health.

Molasses:

Molasses is a natural sweetener made from sugar cane. It’s not as sweet as erythritol, but it can still be used to sweeten food and treats. Molasses also contains vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial to your dog’s health.

Maple syrup:

Maple syrup is another natural sweetener that can be safely given to dogs. Maple syrup contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can be beneficial to your dog’s health.

Fruit:

Fruit is a natural source of sugar that can be safely given to dogs. Fruit also contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can be beneficial to your dog’s health.

Non-natural alternatives to erythritol:

If you’re looking for a non-natural alternative to erythritol, there are several options available.

Stevia:

Stevia is a plant-based sweetener that is safe for dogs. Stevia can be used to sweeten food and treats.

Aspartame:

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is safe for dogs. Aspartame can be used to sweeten food and treats.

Saccharin:

Saccharin is an artificial sweetener that is safe for dogs. Saccharin can be used to sweeten food and treats.

If you’re considering giving your dog erythritol, make sure the product doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners.

Conclusion:

When giving your dog erythritol, it’s important to start with a small amount and see how they react. Some dogs may be able to tolerate erythritol better than others. If your dog starts to show any of the above side effects, it’s important to stop giving them erythritol and seek medical attention. Give your dog plenty of freshwater to drink to prevent dehydration.

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