What parent can resist a child begging for treats? And are we any better at saying “No!” to our beloved pets? Who can resist the imploring look, the fetching tilt of a little head?
Sometimes, sugar seems to buy love. But is it safe to purchase affection from our pets with a sweet snack?
What’s The Deal With Dogs and Sweets?
Sugar tastes as good to a dog as it does to a human. But, should you feed it to your pet?
The answer is probably “No.”
Oh, it won’t kill them outright, but it can have as many ill effects on your canine companion as it does on your kids. And, it can even be addictive, leading your pet to crave more and more.
If you were to list all the consequences of excess sweetness on yourself, you could just as easily transfer that list to your canine companion .
Obesity is a major concern, of course. And excess weight can lead to arthritis.
Cavities can be a problem, too. As good a pet parent as you may be, do you really want to brush your dog’s teeth several times a day? And cavities can lead to painful infections, requiring a trip to the vet and medication.
Diabetes can also be a result of such consumption. So, take all this into consideration before you make a habit of treating your canine companion with that spare cookie, or that plate of ice cream on a hot day.
Do you really need a fat, diabetic pet struggling along on his arthritic limbs? I think not!
That being said, it might be a good idea to check the ingredients list on the dog food, or treats, that you are currently feeding your pup.
This sweet substance may be hiding in places you would not normally suspect.
Some dog food manufacturers add it to their product for a two fold reason. First, to mask the taste of some perhaps unpalatable, yet healthy, ingredients. Next, to cater to your pooch’s cravings.
If your pet develops a taste for the amount of sweetness in a particular brand and scarfs it down eagerly, you will be more likely to continue to buy that brand.
The same applies to treats. The more your pup seems to enjoy them, the more you want to provide them. But your canine companion can’t read the ingredients list, so make sure that you do.
How Is The Brown Variety Different?
Perhaps you think that all of the bad things you’ve read or heard about sugar pertains only to the white variety, that snowy substance you put in your morning coffee.
Maybe you’ve even switched over to brown, or even so-called raw sugar in a effort to eat more healthily. Well, I hate to be the one to tell you, but you’ve been deluding yourself.
Be it white, brown, or raw, it is virtually all the same product. They are all refined crystals from the original plant.
“Raw” sounds like it should be healthy, doesn’t it? But it is obtained the same way as the white variety. Sugar cane is pressed to extract the sweet juices. The liquid is boiled and crystals form as it cools. These crystals are referred to as “raw”..
White sugar is further washed and processed, increasing the sucrose content as more and more plant material is removed.
The brown variety, which is nothing more than the white variety with the addition of molasses, contains the lowest percentage of sucrose.
It will contain also some additional nutrients, including small amounts of some minerals and trace amounts of copper, zinc, and iron, but the only nutritional value in any of these products is in the form of carbohydrates.
Molasses is yet another product of the “sweet” processing, a heavy, dark liquid containing about fifty percent sucrose as well as some plant materials which impart pleasant taste and aroma.
How About Molasses?
You may have noticed that some dog food products, and treats, are being marketed with molasses.
The substance is billed as a natural sweetening substance, and is sometimes credited with having some extraordinary health benefits.
But don’t be fooled – when it comes right down to it, molasses is nothing more than sucrose.
Molasses is a natural byproduct of the process of turning sugar cane into the snowy substance with which we are all familiar.
The crop is squeezed or pressed to extract the juice, which is then boiled. Crystals form during this process, and are extracted.
If the juice is boiled once again, or even for a third time, this will produce molasses.
Molasses has a lower sucrose content, at about fifty percent. Molasses from beets is not considered a human food, so it is primarily used in animal food.
This substance can add a pleasant taste and aroma to pet products, making it very palatable for your pet.
But, that is not always a good thing. Moderation is the key. A treat or two can’t hurt, but don’t make a habit of it.
So, Can dogs eat brown sugar?
Some forms of sugar, in the form of carbohydrates, are required to maintain a healthy diet. Naturally occurring ones, like that found in fruit, can be beneficial.
But sometimes, they are not.
Xylitol, a sweet additive often used in gum and mouthwashes, is toxic to your canine companion. And grapes, as innocuous as they may seem, should not be given to your pup.
Sucrose is the main component found in sugar cane. You are certainly familiar with it. It’s the stuff that makes candy sweet and cookies delicious.
Brown sugar is just one form of sucrose, and, as such, it is safe to feed to your dog, but in moderation.
We all should be aware by now that excess consumption of this sweet substance can be detrimental to our health, and by extension, the health of our pets.
So, while sugar won’t kill your dog, it is unlikely to do him much good.
We all like some things that are not good for us, and your pet is no exception.
Toss him a slice of apple, or maybe a strawberry from time to time, but go easy on the sweet treats, even if they’re marketed as healthy molasses snacks.