Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Glycerin
What is glycerin?
Glycerin , is a sweetener and binder (humectant) that is commonly produced as a byproduct of soap making. It has traditionally been used in dog food as a texturing and sweetening agent.
Common names for glycerin
The most common name variations include glycerol, vegetable glycerin or glycerine.
Why is glycerin included in dog food?
Glycerin is added to dog food for three key reasons: 1) as a binder for canned foods and treats (to make them chewy), 2) as a preservative against mold, and 3) as a sweetener.
Is glycerin a commonly used ingredient in dog food?
We found either “glycerin” or glycerol in 2.13% of the foods in our dog food ingredient database.
Common benefits or risks of glycerin
Glycerin doesn’t provide much nutritional benefit to your dog. Glycerin’s ‘benefits’ are related to its properties as a binder and sweetener.
Glycerin that is derived from animal and plant sources is generally considered a ‘safe’, albeit nutritionally void ingredient. However, some pet food manufacturers are using glycerin that is derived from biofuel (e.g. diesel fuel) processing. This leads to significant amounts of residual methanol (wood alcohol) and sodium that remain in the glycerin. Methanol, a flammable, poisonous liquid used in making formaldehyde, is not something that you want to feed your dog.
Take away: avoid foods and treats with glycerin in favor of those that explicitly list vegetable glycerin which does not contain the methanol risk.
Miscellaneous facts about glycerin
Glycerin is more common in treats than in regular food. It was an ingredient in 20% of the treats in our database which is 10 times the frequency of that in regular food.
Sources and further reading