Why Should We Avoid Feeding Sweet Products to Dogs and Cats?
When people claim that pets are a reflection of their hoomans, who knew it included the bad habits too. Beginning from the natural sweetness of fruits to artificial sweeteners, they love it all. Sugar has been known to entice all animals, irrespective of their ability to taste. It poses a threat to the pet community; excess of it can be life-threatening! Yes, You read it right! You can not share this part of happiness with them! I know, it is unfair, but there is science to everything. Let’s understand the bitter-sweet truth behind these products for our pets.
Before we begin, a Fun Fact for you!
Did you know that in comparison with human beings who have 9000 taste buds, dogs have a little of 1700, and cats have even less; 470 taste buds?
Consequently, cats cannot even taste sweetness, yet they love those extra calories. With cats, you can still take a pass, but when it comes to dogs, sweets can show their adverse effects instantly. In general, sweets do not add anything to each of their bodies, contributing to the bad calories. And needless to say, the toxicity of ingredients remains the same for both of them. Sweets don't show its severe impact when a cat ingests it, but as goes with dogs, the same goes with cats.
Of course in the wilderness, there is no one stopping our furries. They are free to eat all they wish to, from sweetness to bitterness. Thus, their systems are still accustomed to natural sweeteners like fruits; the problem occurs when artificial sweeteners like sugar come into the picture. Hailing from the category of simple carbohydrates, sugar is further divided into refined and natural forms. For example:
Fruits are a natural source of sweetness whereas, if we take chocolates, the sweetness is incorporated to mask the bitterness of cocoa. Although fruits are a great source of fibres that support a lot of functions in a canine or feline’s body. One has to still feed it in moderation due to the level of sweetness present in it. While chocolates, ice creams or sweets are byproducts of refined sugar; hence should be strictly avoided. If you have been a bit ‘diet conscious’ yourself, you would realise the adverse effects of sugar.
According to a survey, Animal survey by the Association of Pet obesity prevention, 56% of dogs were either overweight or obese in 2018. Like humans, dogs have a sweet tooth too. Once a shark tastes blood, it becomes tough for it to entice with other things, similarly once a dog has explored those desserts, it is HARD to get them off those flavours; nothing would come close to the sweetness.
Be strict with your projections regarding these restrictions; become indifferent as before you know it, those puppy eyes will lure you and you would be looking for weight loss plans for them.
Many dog food companies trick the dog with this master technique. They incorporate sugar to make the dog addicted to its products. Sugar masks the taste of cheap quality food products, making the raw material inexpensive for the company but slowly killing the dog. Replacing such a diet becomes troublesome for a dog parent. So better that you become ingredient smart from the beginning.
Common issues related to ingestion of sugar are as follows:
The primary duty of the stomach is to process the food which an organism has ingested. Vomiting and diarrhoea are the immediate reactions of the organism when they intake something which is not ideal for them. Animals use bacteria and microorganisms that are present in their gut to digest the food they have eaten. An above moderate amount of sugar can create an imbalance in the digestive machinery. As much as the taste buds happily welcome the sugary products, the body completely rejects them and discards them in the form of explosive & bloody vomiting or diarrhoea.
Chocolates and Xylitol are two of the most toxic sugar derivatives for dogs.
‘’Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that can be poisonous to your pet. Dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate can be lethal if ingested. ‘’ - Ari Zabell, DVM DABVP at Portland, Oregon-based Banfield Pet Hospital.
Intake of xylitol can incessantly lower the hypoglycemia level(low blood sugar) of a dog and can cause rapid kidney failure. Similarly, it is one of the most toxic things for cats too, resulting in nausea, vomiting and even death. No amount of taste can ever justify such a fatal results.Thus, it is prudent for a dog parent not to give in to those puppy eyes for this particular thing. Even if they drool for it, you need to look for the bigger picture; their health first.
It is important to note that things that are completely healthy for you, a human, to consume can contain these toxic elements, like Sugar-free gums or peanut butter. So it is better to keep a tap at the ingredient list for everything, before feeding your pet.
This is not a piece of very new knowledge, for excessive ingestion of sugar causes cavities in human beings too. But in your pet’s case, even a little can do a lot of harm. There is a bacteria in the mouth that produces acids and sugar induces that acid to produce in greater quantities. So the excessive acid eventually results in loss of minerals in the enamel or outer coating of the teeth, which causes dental diseases.
Refined sugar accounts for empty calories; they only contribute to weight gain but add nothing to the body. It is only these calories that cats are drawn to. Many pet parents like cuddly, squishy fat pets, so they feed them anything under the Sun. They do not understand the fact that with cute looks, a plethora of diseases is cropping in their bodies. Obesity gives a building ground to many other diseases like various heart diseases, joint problems, lethargy, panting, chest problems. Even if your obese pet dodges these diseases, the quality of life is affected significantly(less energy, less interest in playing etc.)
Diabetes is another byproduct of weight gain and intake of sugar. You could look it up as a cycle; increasing ingestion of sugar causes weight gain, which eventually leads to diabetes. Obesity makes a pet prone to Type II diabetes; such a disease makes the dog incapable of processing sugar in the pancreas. The pancreas either produces no insulin or little insulin; thus the cell loses its reactivity to insulin. Consequently, the blood sugar levels increase.
In continuation to the same line of thought. Insulin itself affects a lot of other hormones in the body. It can affect the overall bodily structure of your pet like their muscle tone, fat storage, immune system and energy levels. In the long run, a regular dosage of sugar weakens the body’s metabolic system, disrupting the longevity of life.
As must have become clear to you, while fulfilling their sugar cravings, you are contributing to a host of issues for your pet. It is non-challengeable that sugar is a big NO-NO from our side for your little furries. To cater to their cravings, you can always resort to fresh fruits. But, if you continue feeding your pets processed sugar, you are contributing to their eventual dooming health.
Many dogs may seem non-reactive to any symptoms mentioned above, on being fed any dessert or sugary product. In such a situation, a dog-parent assumes it to be a sign that maybe their dog is a special case and can have all the sweets in the world. Such dog parents only regret their actions in the future. It is similar to human beings, when they initially start smoking, they love the happy hormones released and there seem to be no side effects. Before you know it, it develops into a habit, and side effects start cropping.
So take the grips in your hand before it is too late, for prevention is any day better than cure. Research about ingredients, know the best one and then try to match it with your dog’s likings. If you have been feeding your pet sweets since the beginning, it would take time to get them off their sugary habits. Gradually substitute the artificial sweeteners with natural ones and then decrease the quantity fed. Gone are the days when there was a lack of knowledge of such information. The market is open for a plethora of safe options; the only thing required is your awareness. Head over to a pet store online to get nutritious food at your doorstep.