As all dog owners have experienced at one time or another, your pet pooch knows precisely the expression to melt your heart when he’s looking for a treat. You could give him one of his actual dog treats, of course, but really, you can see he’d like something a bit more special than that.
You know chocolate’s off the menu, as that would genuinely poison him, but a bit of brown sugar wouldn’t harm, would it? Or would it?
Let’s talk about what happens when your dog eats brown sugar, the quantities he should be able to eat safely, and offering suggestions for alternative treats.
Can dogs eat brown sugar? They can, but only in moderation. However, it’s not recommended, and if he eats it regularly, it’s likely to lead to health complications down the track.
White Sugar vs Brown Sugar
Granulated sugars (or foods containing them) are not good for dogs and can lead to health issues if consumed regularly.
One misconception is that brown sugar is healthier than white sugar, but that’s not really the case. The only difference between the two is that brown sugar is white sugar with the addition of molasses.
There are a few minor benefits of opting for brown sugar over white. Still, they’re so negligible as to be almost non-existent.
That means both brown and white sugar are almost equally unhealthy for dogs (and people) as each other, so should only be consumed in moderation.
Can Brown Sugar Make Your Dog Sick?
OK, so I’ve established that brown sugar is not going to do your dog any good. But surely just a little won’t do any harm, will it? How about a piece of that muffin he’s had his eye on all morning?
The good news is that if your dog consumes a small amount of brown sugar, it is unlikely to do him much harm. However, as with people, brown sugar is addictive to dogs.
If you give him some today and then a bit more the next day, the chances are he’ll begin craving it and want more and more.
This will lead to a daily battle with your conscience over whether to give in to your dog. Also, over time, this can result in health complications for him. These include, at its least extreme, cavities and weight gain.
If your dog eats brown sugar, be prepared to clean his teeth to prevent cavities from developing. Meanwhile, over time, he will start to become obese, too. That diet he’ll have to go on will not be particularly pleasant for him (or you, when you see how miserable it’s making him).
However, the health implications of your dog eating brown sugar can go beyond the inconvenience of a few corrective measures. If your dog eats brown sugar regularly, he can also develop life-threatening conditions, including diabetes and heart problems.
Aside from these more obvious problems, too much brown sugar might lead to your dog suffering mood swings, kidney problems, urinary issues, bloodshot eyes, and agitation too.
Foods To Avoid Giving Your Dog
Many foods contain either brown (or white refined) sugar, so if in doubt, leave it out.
Also, keep an eye out for foods containing the following ingredients, as these contain the kinds of sugars that are unhealthy for your dog:
- Corn syrup
- Beet pulp
What If Your Dog Eats Too Much Brown Sugar?
If your dog has only eaten a small amount of brown sugar, the chances are he’ll be fine. Still, it is worth checking that he doesn’t develop a stomach ache, diarrhea, or start vomiting.
The bigger problem will come if your dog eats two cups or more of brown sugar. If your dog does this or vomits more than once, take him to the vet.
In any case, make sure he remains hydrated as this, too, can become an issue if your dog begins vomiting or develops diarrhea.
Too much brown sugar could also lead to pancreatic inflammation. Signs to look for include lethargy and vomiting.
If he’s not sick enough to warrant a visit to the vet, keep an eye on him for 48 hours to ensure his condition doesn’t deteriorate.
What Sugar Is Good For Dogs?
Like humans, there are good and bad sugars for dogs. Suitable sugars are typically found in certain fruits.
So, if you would still like to let your dog have a sweet (and healthy) treat, several fruits will do the job nicely, including:
- Blueberries. These are crammed with vitamin C and fiber, and are high in antioxidants. The former is good for him generally, while the latter will help keep your dog’s heart healthy.
- Bananas. In moderation, bananas are good for your dog’s intestines.
- Pears. These are great for dogs with diabetes.
- Apples. These are excellent for dogs’ digestive systems, while the skins are great for curing constipation.
Always research first and check the amounts that are safe before giving your dog fruit.
However, certain fruits are toxic to your dog. Avoid giving him grapes, raisins, plums, and currants, as well as apricots and peaches that haven’t been pitted and peeled.
Hopefully, this article has spelled out the importance of limiting the amount of brown sugar in your dog’s diet.
As an occasional treat, a small quantity of brown sugar is unlikely to do him much harm. However, even then, you should keep a check on his well-being and make sure his teeth are kept clean.
Really, though, the best option is to avoid giving your dog brown sugar at all. Instead, opt for alternatives in the form of certain fruits such as apples, pears, and bananas.
That way, the next time your dog tilts his head and looks at you with those pleading eyes when he’s after a treat, you can give him something that keeps him satisfied and healthy.
Meanwhile, you can rest easy knowing if he does come back for more the day after, you won’t run the risk of him developing problems in the future. You’ll get to have that muffin to yourself, too!
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