Do you eat sugar-free foods and snacks? Have you ever paid attention to the type of artificial sweetener that’s in them? If you’re a pet parent to a dog, then it’s important to know the types of sweeteners used in foods and snacks. Your dog’s life could depend on this knowledge.
When it comes to aspartame, is this ingredient dangerous to dogs?
What is Aspartame?
Aspartame is a sugar-substitute that’s very low in calories. It’s been used for decades in sugar-free snacks and foods. This artificial sweetener if about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Wow! So, you only need a very small amount to get the same sweetness as you would with sugar.
This artificial sweetener is sold in packets (like sugar packets in restaurants), and is included in prepared foods and drinks.
Aspartame is made of two amino acids (aspartic acid and phenylamine). After it’s been ingested, the sweetener is broken down by the body into these amino acids.
Is Aspartame Dangerous for Dogs?
While aspartame is not used in pet foods or treats, it’s generally safe for dogs. This doesn’t mean your dog should eat this artificial sweetener on a regular basis. However, as an occasional snack aspartame is safe for your dog.
If eaten in large amounts, aspartame has been shown to cause memory disorders, brain tumors, and other health issues in dogs, humans and even rodents. It can also cause stomach upset in dogs, which can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
My Dog Ate Several Packets of Aspartame
If your dog has ingested a large amount of aspartame, it’s a good idea to call your vet right away. They will have the best advice in regard to next steps.
If your fur baby has eaten a small amount, then he may have an upset stomach, accompanied with diarrhea and vomiting. This should not last longer than 24 hours. If it does, then please call your vet right away.
In most cases, aspartame will not cause major health issues in dogs.
As an Occasional Treat
It’s OK to allow your dog to enjoy foods that contain aspartame once in a while. However, avoid giving them anything with artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. More often, and your dog could develop digestive tract issues. While not serious, they won’t be too pleasant for your fur baby or you!
In addition, be sure to keep all foods out of your dog’s reach. This way he won’t be able to chow down on anything that contains aspartame or other ingredients that could be toxic for him.