We all are aware of what food additives are. Isn’t that true? If we go back in time, somewhere around 1500 BC, food additives were first introduced in Egypt in spices or salt.
This is because people in the past were also looking for ways to conserve food and keep it fresh. That being said, it should be noted that food additives are not exactly meant to enhance food taste or make it more appealing.
While talking about additives, we will be discussing Xanthan Gum in this article, which is a popular food ingredient mostly found in commercial dog foods. However, many pet owners have been recently asking, can dogs eat Xanthan Gum? Is it safe to use? Are there any visible side effects? While there isn’t any one-word answer to this question, let us proceed further to make this question less complicated for you!
What is Xanthan Gum?
Xanthan Gum is a common food additive, primarily used as a standard thickening agent. Most people often perceive it as chewing gum due to its confusing name. However, it is nothing like that!
This additive is mainly made from a carbohydrate source and is fermented naturally using a bacteria called Xanthomonas Campestris. In order to precipitate Xanthan Gum from the fermentation bouillon, isopropyl alcohol is used.
The suspending leftover is then filtered and dried to get a white powder, commonly known as Xanthan Gum, which has its application in several processed and canned foods, particularly for dogs.
Is Xanthan Gum Safe for Dogs?
What do you think, can dogs eat Xanthan Gum? Most commercial dog foods contain Xanthan Gum as a useful constituent in them. If such additives had proved to be unsafe for dogs, they must have been restricted by now. However, whether you should include Xanthan Gum in dog foods is a controversial topic.
While speaking from a nutritional perspective, Xanthan Gum does not provide specific nutrients or calories. Nevertheless, you should know that one tablespoon of Xanthan Gum contains around seven grams of indigestible fiber.
Water is absorbed by fiber in the digestive tract and is converted into a gel-like material. This gel-like material inhibits the process of digestion in dogs.
Controversies Associated with the Use of Xanthan Gum by Dogs
Is Xanthan Gum safe for dogs? There are many controversies associated with this question. Like locust bean gum and guar gum, Xanthan Gum is also used by gluten-free dietitians.
This fact, however, makes Xanthan Gum safe for dogs suffering from Celiac disease (associated with severe intestinal inflammation) as they cannot have gluten-containing foods in their diet. Those brands who promote the use of Xanthan Gum use this point in their favor to support their statement.
While fermentation is a naturally occurring process, many other sources such as soy, corn, wheat, alcohol, dairy, and other chemicals used in this process make Xanthan Gum undesirable for dogs.
Therefore, many antagonists believe that commercial dog foods containing Xanthan Gum must be avoided as highly processed foods can be detrimental to a dog’s well-being.
Why Do Commercial Dog Foods Contain Xanthan Gum?
No doubt, Xanthan Gum makes up for an important constituent of most pet foods, broths, sauces, milk replacers, and various other liquid-based diets. Its use in such liquid-based products is to avoid withdrawing the dissolved substances from the fluid content of the food.
Moreover, it stabilizes, thickens, and emulsifies can-based dog foods, thus giving them a creamy texture by blending all the food ingredients.
Benefits of Xanthan Gum
Can dogs eat Xanthan Gum? Xanthan gum can have significant benefits, particularly for diabetic dogs. It can help lower the sugar levels in the blood as various researches have shown its effect on limiting the rate of glucose entering the blood.
Moreover, the elevated sugar levels in the body convert the surplus amount into fats, including cholesterol. So, reduced sugar levels can prevent blockage of blood vessels and LDL cholesterol occurrence.
Xanthan Gum also contains a sizable portion of fiber that attracts water molecules and enlarges in the colon. This encourages the digestive tract to push the waste matter through smoothly. So this means that Xanthan Gum can also help reduce the chances of constipation in animals.
As Xanthan Gum transforms into a gel-like material when absorbed by water in the body, it creates a sense of fullness within the body. As a result, the dog will tend to eat less, resulting in reduced body weight.
Side Effects Associated with Usage of Xanthan in Dog Food
While there are no such disadvantages of using canned foods containing this thickening additive. That being said, if your dog devours Xanthan-containing foods in moderate dosage, he should be safe. However, complications occur when a pet consumes higher dosages.
As most dogs consume this gummy-like material in their food, there is nothing to stress yourself about. Xanthan gum is usually not added to dog foods in higher amounts to prevent the risk of overconsumption. However, if a dog devours pure Xanthan gum, he would most probably suffer from the following complications:
- After ingesting excessive amounts of Xanthan Gum, most dogs are likely to experience loose stools, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.
- Excessive intake of this gummy-like substance can also cause a quick drop in blood sugar levels. However, this condition is rare.
- Some dogs may also have to face allergies once they overconsume Xanthan gum or eat its pure form somehow.
So, what do you say, can dogs eat Xanthan Gum? Most pet owners prefer giving their dogs processed or canned foods as they constitute a convenient and nutritious option. However, such canned foods mostly contain Xanthan Gum. Whatsoever, it is all right to let your dog consume this gummy-like substance in short amounts.
Still, some dogs may be gluten intolerant, which is why they could witness allergies. So, it would be best to go for home-cooked meals in such a case.
Read more interesting articles at Pet Fact