Can Dogs Eat Artificial Sweeteners? What Are The Risks?

Written by Marisa Wilson
Published: October 4, 2022
© iStock.com/igorr1
Share this post on:
Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

These days, artificial sweeteners are frequently in meals. You may be unaware of just how popular these are in foods and drinks. These artificial sweeteners are widely in lower-calorie foods since they often provide the same sweet flavor without the high-calorie content. Artificial sweeteners are even sweeter than regular sugar, so you can use less of them than a natural sugar additive. 

These artificial sweeteners could harm our canine friends because they are present in many foods we keep in our homes. Even though it’s never advisable to feed your dog a diet containing artificial sweeteners, mistakes can occur. Dogs can get their paws on things around the house that are not for them. 

Knowing which ingredients can hurt your dog is crucial. We will go over some of the popular artificial sweeteners in the market today and explain how they work. You’ll also learn about the side effects or risks associated if there are any notable ones. It’s always vital to know what to do if your pet eats something bad, which will be covered in this post. Let’s get to it!

24,234 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Aspartame

Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are the two amino acids that make up aspartame. When aspartame is consumed, it is broken down into these amino acids, which are then used in protein synthesis and metabolism. 

Along with aspartic acid and phenylalanine, digesting aspartame produces a small quantity of methanol, a molecule in foods such as fruits and juices. Although aspartame is often not in pet diets or treats, your dog may accidentally consume it if they get a hold of toothpaste or other human consumables due to their inquisitive nose. 

Large doses of aspartame show a connection with memory problems, brain cancers, and other health problems in dogs and people. It is doubtful that your dog could swallow enough aspartame if they accidentally ingest it to put its life in danger.

Sucralose

how do dogs get parvo
Sucralose can cause diarrhea in dogs.

©Olya Maximenko/Shutterstock.com

The most popular sucralose-based product is Splenda, which is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener. In a multi-step chemical process, three hydrogen-oxygen groups in sugar turn into chlorine atoms to create sucrose. 

It was discovered in 1976 when a scientist at a British institution misheard directions about testing a chemical. Instead, he gave it a taste and noticed how sweet it was. 

Although Splenda seldom causes any bad side effects in dogs, excessive sucralose consumption can cause stomach issues in your dog. The most frequent adverse reaction dogs experience after consuming foods or drinks that have this sweetener is diarrhea.

Acesulfame K

Acesulfame potassium was created by German researchers in 1967 and was first authorized for usage in Europe in 1983. It was approved in the United States five years later, in 1988. Today, it is frequently mixed with other sweeteners, like aspartame and sucralose, to deliver a flavor closer to sugar than acesulfame potassium alone. 

Acesulfame works by activating the sweet-taste receptors on the tongue, allowing one to experience the pleasure of sweetness without sugar. Acesulfame K is not harmful to dogs and is safe for most pets. 

It is not suggested that pets consume it, and prolonged exposure could cause digestive problems. However, you need not be concerned about your pets consuming ace-K-containing goods in modest doses or in the event of accidental exposure.

Saccharin

Scientist Constantin Fahlberg made the initial discovery of the chemical in 1878 while studying coal tar derivatives in a facility at Baltimore’s John Hopkins University. During the First World War, there were sugar shortages, so its use spread widely. 

Saccharin is not nutritious. It was created in a lab by oxidizing phthalic anhydride or o-toluene sulfonamide. It appears to be a white crystal-like powder. Saccharin is what people know as Sweet N Low products. 

Is saccharin healthy for dogs, even though it is a healthier option than many low-fat sweets? Saccharin is not harmful to dogs, which is good news for our puppies. Saccharin ingestion in dogs is still being researched; however, it is only said to cause moderate stomach distress if eaten in high quantities.

Xylitol

spay a dog at petsmart
If a dog ingests xylitol, you need to seek emergency care.

©Prystai/Shutterstock.com

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are a chemical hybrid of sugar and alcohol molecules. Their design enables them to activate the tongue’s taste receptors for sweetness. Since xylitol is present in trace amounts of many fruits and vegetables, most consider it natural. In rare instances, even a minimal amount of xylitol can have severe effects on our canine friends. 

When eaten by dogs, xylitol produces a sharp and abrupt drop in blood sugar levels. A wide range of dangerous symptoms may result from this. Severe low blood sugar can be devastating for a sick dog and potentially result in irreversible liver damage. No matter how little xylitol your dog comes into contact with, it is incredibly harmful. 

If your dog ever ingests anything with xylitol, it’s critical to seek emergency care. Your dog’s chances of fully recovering are better the earlier you seek medical attention for them. Just bring the item’s component information with you so your vet can determine the best course of action.

Conclusion

Synthetic sugars can influence our canine friends, although the effects of artificial sweeteners on dogs are still being researched. The most common health concern is tummy discomfort because of these chemicals. Like a high-fat diet, sugary foods can also cause stomach upset, which may require a vet. 

As previously discussed, xylitol is the only one on the list that can be fatal to dogs. If a dog ever swallows this sweetener, it might result in a deadly drop in blood sugar; this requires emergency medical attention. It’s best to get in touch with your vet as soon as you suspect your dog has had a product containing an artificial sweetener and is showing any symptoms. 

Your dog has a higher chance of getting better if you take action quickly. Given how many everyday things now include sugar substitutes, it’s critical to know of any potential adverse effects. To keep your furry buddy safe in the future, be sure to study the facts we covered above.

Up Next:

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

The Featured Image

Sick dog sticks its head out from under a blanket
The determining factor as to whether insurance will cover a pre-exisiting condition is whether it's curable.
© iStock.com/igorr1

Share this post on:
About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. American Kernel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/artificial-sweetener-safety-for-dogs/#:~:text=Saccharin%20(pink%20packet),yet%20been%20tested%20on%20pets.
  2. National Capital Poison Center, Available here: https://www.poison.org/articles/artificial-sweetener-can-poison-your-pet
  3. WTHR, Available here: https://www.wthr.com/article/news/health/fda-warns-common-artificial-sweetener-poses-deadly-risk-dogs/531-bf6a8ac4-8c2c-4f44-a58a-b4c68d5ea6d5