Can Dogs Eat Xanthan Gum? Know Its Benefits and Associated Risks!

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Can Dogs Eat Xanthan Gum

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. 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? 

is xanthan gum safe for dogs

Source: Bbcgoodfoodme.com

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 feed 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. Here are some of the concerns that may arise after feeding your dog Xantham Gum:

Gastrointestinal Issues

One of the primary concerns regarding feeding xanthan gum to dogs is its potential to disrupt their digestive system. Xanthan gum has a remarkable water-absorbing capability, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems. The gum’s ability to create a gel-like substance may cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs.

Choking Hazard

Another concern is the gum’s dry form, which can become a choking hazard for dogs, especially those that tend to swallow their food without thorough chewing. Choking is a severe risk that can lead to life-threatening situations.

Allergic Reactions

Just like humans, dogs can have allergies. Some dogs may be allergic to xanthan gum, leading to itching, skin irritation, or other allergic reactions. Identifying such allergies can be challenging, and they may go unnoticed until a severe reaction occurs.

Controversies Associated with the Use of Xanthan Gum by 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 promoting 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 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  

is xanthan gum safe for dogs

Source: Drdavinahseats.com

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 feeding Xanthan Gum to dogs has 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 the colon. This encourages the digestive tract to push the waste matter through smoothly. This means that Xanthan Gum eating for dogs can also help reduce the chances of constipation in them.  

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. Here are more benefits of feeding Xantham gum to dogs:

Improved Texture

One notable benefit of xanthan gum in dog food is its ability to enhance texture. Xanthan gum’s thickening properties can make food more appealing to picky eaters, increasing their willingness to consume the meal. For dogs with dental issues or missing teeth, softer and smoother textures can make eating easier and more enjoyable.

Enhanced Palatability

Palatability is a crucial factor in ensuring that dogs enjoy their meals. Xanthan gum can help improve the overall taste and consistency of dog food. This can be particularly helpful for dogs with selective appetites or those transitioning to a new diet, as it can make the food more appealing and reduce the likelihood of food rejection.

Gluten-Free Option

Another advantage of feeding xanthan gum to dogs is that it is gluten-free. For dogs with gluten sensitivities or allergies, finding suitable food options can be challenging. Xanthan gum allows pet food manufacturers to create gluten-free products that cater to the dietary needs of these dogs, ensuring they receive a balanced and safe diet.

Enhanced Digestibility

Xanthan gum may aid in improving the digestibility of certain dog foods. Its ability to create a gel-like substance can slow down the passage of food through the digestive tract, potentially enhancing nutrient absorption. This can be especially beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.

Stabilization of Food Products

Beyond the use of Xantham gum in dog food, it is also used in the production of pet treats and chewable supplements. It serves as an effective stabilizer, ensuring that these products maintain their quality and freshness over time. This can be advantageous for pet owners looking for long-lasting and shelf-stable treats and supplements for their dogs.

Side Effects Associated with Usage of Xanthan in Dog Food 

There are no such disadvantages to 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 that’s why renowned packaged foods such as Purina Bella Dog Food do not contain any amount of Xantham gum in them.

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 eats 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.  

FAQs Related to Can Dogs Eat Xantham Gum?

Question #1: Can xanthan gum be fatal to dogs?

Xanthan gum is not typically fatal to dogs, but it can cause serious health issues, such as gastrointestinal problems, if ingested in large quantities. It’s best to avoid feeding xanthan gum to your dog.

Question #2: Are there any safe alternatives to xanthan gum for dogs?

Yes, there are safe alternatives to xanthan gum, such as natural thickeners like tapioca or potato starch. These alternatives are less likely to cause digestive issues in dogs.

Question #3: Can small amounts of xanthan gum be given to dogs?

It’s best to avoid giving any amount of xanthan gum to dogs, as even small quantities can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort.

Final Verdict 

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. However, it is all right to let your dog consume this gummy-like substance in short amounts.  

Still, some dogs may be gluten intolerant, so they could witness allergies. So, it would be best to go for home-cooked meals in such a case.  

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