Feed Your Dog This Not That: Sweeteners

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Like in the case for humans, a dog’s taste buds allow them to taste sweetness.  And for many dogs, some sweetness is considered to be a good thing when it comes to their foods.  Pet food manufacturers are well aware of this fact, and in an attempt to improve palatability, will often include ingredients that are meant to sweeten the flavor of the food.

Feed this Not that_sweeteners

Although dogs will taste and appreciate sweetness, this is no excuse to add sugars or artificial sweeteners into a dog food recipe.  Sugar is a high calorie, low nutrition ingredient that really has no business being included in a dog food ingredient panel.  Worse are the assortment of artificial sweeteners that are commonly used in commercial dog food recipes.  These are…artificial, and there is no place for these in your dog’s food.


When looking at the ingredient list in a dog food, be aware that often times, lower quality food will contain added sweetness.  This is done to enhance the flavor and make the food appealing to the dog, even though the food is not species appropriate and devoid of healthy and naturally tasty ingredients.


Thankfully, there are some healthy ways to add sweetness to a dog food.  Look no further than fruits and vegetable, which can provide both nutrition and sweetness to a recipe.  The table below lists some commonly used dog food ingredients that can be used to enhance sweetness.  As with other ingredients types, not all sweeteners are created equal.


Feed Your Dog This Not That: Sweeteners


Feed This Not That
Cherries/Berries Sugar, caramel- pure sugar, little nutrition.
Apple Corn syrup- another sweet, high calorie ingredient that is not needed.
Carrots Sucrose, fructose- these are other names for sugar.
Peas Sorbitol- artificial and not appropriate for dogs (or humans).
Honey /Molasses Propylene Glycol – in antifreeze, has a sweet taste.


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  1. I use to have to be careful not to buy baby food with added sugar. Now I guess I’ll have to watch for it in dog food although I can’t imagine a reputable manufacturer adding sweeteners of any kind.
    jan recently posted…It all started with dogs—Harvey MilkMy Profile

  2. So many added sugars. Like in human food you have to know what you are looking for!!
    Julie recently posted…Sticks and runningMy Profile

  3. Mom likes to use honey for a sweetener for us too.
    Emma recently posted…How Bailie Earned Her NW1 TitleMy Profile

  4. We have not tried berries but plan to add some blueberries as a summer snack along with watermelon. We use local honey to help avoid allergies too. It seems to help.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…When the Whistle StopsMy Profile

  5. Interesting. I’ve never given them peas. And I had no idea about honey. That is good to know considering I plan to make more frozen treats this summer. A drizzle of honey could make it extra doodle*licious. Have a great holiday weekend guys!

  6. Given that too many commercial peanut butters contain Xylitol, I’ve had to consciously search for healthy peanut butter for making Sam’s biscuit treats to the point that I may have to start grinding my own raw peanuts. As always, thanks for keeping us in the know! 🙂

  7. Nice list!
    Sand spring chesapeakes recently posted…Not Guilty International UpdateMy Profile

  8. I used to buy food products for my pet (I would like to hide name of product). And one day, I could not buy this product for my pet and instead of other product. He definitively refused to eat and skip the meals just until I bought this products. I think that Manufacturers have left something into this product making him accustomed to eat such products.

  9. My dogs will eat plain rice cakes (made with brown rice only, unsalted) with no sweet, and well, you know if you’ve tried them, no flavor whatsoever! So I’m not sure they really need sweeteners to entice them to eat anything! It amazes me how much they love the rice cakes – maybe it’s the crunch?
    Jan K recently posted…The VisitorsMy Profile

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