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Can dogs eat sugar?

Sugar comes in different forms: honey, popcorn, ice cream, chocolate: you just name it! It’s tempting to share these treats with your dog, especially when he’s doing the face, but that’s actually a no-go. Dogs don’t need added sugars, so any sugary snack actually is one too many. 

What are the dangers of sugar for dogs?

Too much sugar can lead to all kinds of health problems for your dog, both in the short and long term. In the short term, sugar can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Small-sized dogs and puppies especially are sensitive to it. That’s because they digest sugar faster, causing an immediate spike of glucose in their blood.

In the long term, too much sugar is not a good choice for your dog either. It causes obesity, joint problems, breathing difficulties and diabetes. In addition, sugar sharpens the feeling of hunger, making your dog more likely to overeat.

How much sugar can a dog eat?

The amount of tolerable sugar differs per dog, but in general it mainly depends on its weight. The less your dog weighs, the greater the impact and potential harm of sugar.

How to make sure your dog eats less sugar?

Dogs are carnivores by nature: their digestive system is not designed to process large amounts of sugar. A small piece of your birthday cake or a bite of your tea biscuit won’t hurt, but don’t make a practice of it. We recommend you to avoid the consumption of all added sugars, just to ensure that your dog eats as little sugar as possible. 

What are added sugars? 

Added sugars are all sugars that are not naturally present in natural products such as vegetables, fruit and milk. This kind of sugar provides empty calories.

Attention! Natural sugars can also be added sugar. Consider, for example, fruit drained in syrup. The syrup contains glucose or fructose. These sugars naturally occur in apples as well, but the syrupy ones were added at the factory to make the fruit taste sweeter or so they’d last longer.

Your dog is therefore allowed to eat apples, because of the sugars that are naturally present in the apple. But avoid the fruits in syrup since they contain added sugars.

Is my dog allowed to eat this?

• Honey

Raw, unprocessed honey is healthier than refined sugar because it contains vitamins and minerals. These are beneficial for the general health and resistance of your dog. In addition, it soothes the throat, which is why some pet owners use it to treat sore throats in kennel cough. However, honey is still sugar, so don’t overdo it.

• Popcorn

Popcorn consists of 100% starch. During digestion, starch is converted into glucose or sugar. So even without added sugars, popcorn is absolutely off-limits to dogs.

• Ice cream 

As much as we enjoy sharing our ice cream with our dog during those sweltering summer months, it shouldn’t be fed to dogs. Your ice cream contains a lot of added sugars that can be harmful. Do you insist on your dog licking the bottom of your ice cream jar? Then we recommend you to avoid light ice cream and chocolate ice cream as they are toxic to dogs.

• Chocolate 

Most dogs adore chocolate, but are you aware that chocolate actually is toxic to dogs? Chocolate contains theobromine, a natural substance from the cocoa tree. Unlike humans, dogs cannot process this substance so they’re more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects. For a dog of 10 kilograms, the ingestion of a 70 grams piece of bitter chocolate can result in serious illness or death. 

• Sweeteners

Some sweeteners such as aspartame seem safe, but they are often combined with xylitol, a substance that is toxic to your dog. You can mainly find this substance in light products and zero-calorie foods, but also in chewing gum and gingerbread.

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