If you’re a dog owner, you know how hard it is to keep your pup’s diet healthy and balanced. Finding safe alternatives for dogs isn’t the easiest of tasks, given the myriad of harmful food items on the market.
We all know that sweets or any foods that contain sugar are a no-no for dogs. So, it’s pretty safe to assume that you won’t be feeding your pet chocolate or ice cream soon, but what about artificial sweeteners? Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that has been steadily gaining momentum or weight gain among human consumers.
However, is sucralose bad for dogs? Read on to find out.
The Short Answer
Sucralose isn’t as harmful as other artificial sweeteners like xylitol, but it can still cause diarrhea and some other gastrointestinal issues for your dog. Our advice is to eliminate it from your pup’s diet or keto diet.
What Is Sucralose Made of?
Sucralose, sold under the brand name “Splenda,” is an artificial sweetener extracted from refined sugar. The biggest red flag about sucralose is that its extraction process requires some chemicals, which is why many pet owners shy away from giving it to their companions.
Sucralose’s Calorie Content
Splenda’s calorie content isn’t as high as standard table sugar -3.36 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram. Regardless, Splenda is around 500-600 times sweeter than table sugar, prompting dogs’ bodies to process it the same way it processes traditional refined sugar derived from sugar cane or beet.
What Sweetener Is Deadly to Dogs?
Considering that most dog owners know that xylitol is toxic to dogs, you may be wondering if sucralose has the same effect. Check out the following list for a full comparison between sucralose, xylitol, and other artificial sweeteners.
When put against other artificial sweeteners, Splenda is the winner thanks to its low calories. While it’s safe for human use and found in diet soft drinks and baked goods, experts recommend avoiding Splenda when cooking since heat may release the chemicals it contains.
What Are the Negative Effects of Sucralose?
Even though dogs often don’t experience significant side effects when they consume Splenda, your dog might develop gastrointestinal problems if it eats sucralose in large amounts.
In particular, diarrhea is the most common side effect dogs suffer from after eating foods containing this sweetener.
Aspartame is another real sugar alternative that has gained popularity over the years. Although it isn’t as sweet as Splenda, only 200 times sweeter than table sugar, aspartame has a higher calorie content: 4 calories per gram.
Aspartame can cause some mild complications when ingested by dogs. If your dog consumes this sweetener, it may experience some digestive issues and diarrhea. Usually, these symptoms go away on their own, but it’s better to keep aspartame out of the reach of your dog anyway.
Erythritol is an industrially fermented sugar alcohol used as an alternative for table sugar. It includes only 6% of the calories refined sugar has, making it a good choice for those on a diet.
There’s little research on whether this product is lethal to dogs. However, based on scientific articles, it’s generally not toxic unless your dog is allergic to it. The best advice we have is not to give your dog foods that have this sugar alcohol. Better safe than sorry!
Saccharin is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener that’s 300 times sweeter than refined sugar and has a metallic taste. You can find it at the top of the ingredient list of many products like diet soda, medications, salad dressings, and candy.
There are no dangers of consuming this sweetener for pets. Still, in a large amount, it might cause your dog to experience abdominal discomfort.
Stevia, a plant-based sweetener, is one of the oldest sugar alternatives. It’s found in many products like white sugar-free chocolate, soy sauce, beverages like tea and soda, and dark chocolate.
Stevia isn’t toxic for dogs, but like other common artificial sweeteners, it can make your dog suffer from runny bowel movements. So, although it might not poison your dog, we believe leaving stevia out of its diet to be reasonable to avoid complications and keep your pup healthy.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is extracted from an Asian fruit that’s 200 times sweeter than refined sugar. What sets it apart is that it can help you maintain your blood sugar level, making it a good sugar alternative for diabetic people.
Dogs don’t experience adverse side effects when they consume this sweetener. Still, if you ever choose to give it to your pet friend, we recommend administering its products in small amounts and not making it a staple diet option for your pup.
Xylitol, regarded as a common sugar substitute, is a staple for people following sugar-free diets. As a general rule of thumb, this product is safe for humans but doesn’t work well with most animals due to their bodies’ inability to process it the way we do.
What Are the Negative Effects of Xylitol?
When consumed by dogs, xylitol’s side effects can be life-threatening. According to the FDA, they can include kidney failure, liver failure, a spike in insulin levels, seizures, and a drop in blood sugar level (low blood sugar levels).
Xylitol poisoning is no joke, so if your dog ingests any items that contain xylitol, you must take it to the vet to check its vitals and take the necessary action.
What Artificial Sweeteners Contain Xylitol?
Xylitol isn’t used in making any of the sweeteners mentioned above. Nevertheless, xylitol is the main ingredient in some products like chewing gum, baked goods, toothpaste, and mouthwashes. Commercial dog foods never include any xylitol due to its extreme toxicity.
What Happens if a Dog Eats Sucralose?
Even the tiniest amount of sucralose can lead to intestinal pain and runny bowels in pets. If your dog eats sucralose, most probably, it’ll experience a sudden fit of diarrhea. To help your pup, you can give it rice, yogurt, or plain pumpkin.
In most cases, the symptoms should go away within 24 hours. However, we recommend taking the affected pets to the veterinarian for an extra check-up.
Sweetener/Sugar-Free Treats to Give Your Pets
Since it’s better to eliminate all the products included on our list, you may be wondering how to treat your pets. Well, healthier alternatives are more common than you think. Apples, blueberries, peanut butter, and yogurt are all great options.
You can also find homemade peanut butter recipes for pets. However, avoid PB brands like Krush Nutrition, Protein Plus PB, and Nuts ‘N More, as these ones contain xylitol and aren’t safe for dogs.
So, is sucralose that bad for dogs? No, but if its ingestion isn’t regulated, your dog may suffer from gastrointestinal problems.
When all is said and done, keeping your pets safe should be your number one priority. As a responsible pet owner, eliminating artificial sweeteners from your dog’s diet and replacing them with sugar-free treats safe for dogs is a must.
So, read food labels well and keep each name we’ve discussed on the top of your head, and consult a veterinarian if you think your dog might have ingested artificial sweeteners that are extremely toxic or xylitol toxicity to dogs or you’re simply unsure which dog food brands/treats to buy.