Sweetener Stats – Sweets in Dog Food and Treats.

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Last week we wrote about the use of sweeteners in dog food and the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sweetener types.  That post made us wonder just how prevalent are these lower quality sweeteners so we dove into our data to find the answers.


We identified a set of low quality sweeteners including:

  • Sugar
  • Cane
  • Caramel
  • Corn Syrup
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Sorbitol
  • Propylene Glycol


We did a search for these ingredients and, as shown in the graph, found that about 12% of the foods and 17% of the foods and treats contain at least one of these ingredients.


You can see that there is a higher use of these ingredients in treats than there is in regular food.  I suppose this is a good thing, since most dogs obtain a majority of their daily calories from food.  For the curious, these ingredients are in 35% of the treats in our data set.  Thus, you should be very judicious in doling out treats!  Consider using some fruits and veggies as alternatives as well.

We next wondered which of these lower quality sweeteners are the most common so we went back to the data and did the calculations.  As shown in the graph, caramel and sugar were the most common, representing almost 2/3 of the total occurrences between the two.



Interesting stuff!  It seems to me that these results are ‘better’ than I would have expected.  Intuitively, I would have thought that at least ¼ of all foods and ½ of all treats used these in their recipes.





Although I don’t have any historical data to prove it, I will interpret the data as ‘good news’ and a reflection of the improvements that are being made in the commercial dog food industry.

What do you think?

We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol’s Notes:

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  1. Great post! I think things are changing as we all become more aware of what’s good and what’s not so good for us – humans and pets alike. Now, if only more people would read those labels, then choose healthy options 🙂
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Tasty Tuesday | Cheese Grits RecipeMy Profile

  2. I have never thought to look at the sugars in their treats and food. I really must do that!
    Hailey and Zaphod recently posted…Prize from Sammy and DON’T vote for us!My Profile

  3. The numbers are lower than we thought but I guess it depends on which treats and foods you used. If you use grocery store grade food and treats we would think it would be higher. We try to select the more natural treats and snacks or make our own and also a higher grade food, but we are going to start checking for “sugar” in our stuff now too.
    emma recently posted…Dalmatian or GBGV | Monday MischiefMy Profile

    • You are right- each treat is different and some are more filled with sugar and other nutritionally void ingredients than others. Like with food, read the label and make smarter treat choices if possible.
      steve recently posted…Sweetener Stats – Sweets in Dog Food and Treats.My Profile

  4. Interesting stuff. Thanks for plugging in the numbers. People often forget that there are calories in treats. When a dog is over weight we ask how much food they are eating and then ask how many treats they get. Dogs get a lot of treats. The people look at us weird when we tell them they need to cut back on the treats or cut back on the food if they are feeding treats. Treats are not zero calories.
    joann stancer recently posted…G&G Accomplishments For The Year So FarMy Profile

    • Dogs do tend to get a lot of treats. Heck, we give our dogs lots of treats. We try and use the ones with the best ingredients and always make sure to adjust our food servings accordingly.
      steve recently posted…Sweetener Stats – Sweets in Dog Food and Treats.My Profile

  5. This is excellent! Thank you!
    Flea recently posted…Making Dogs Smile is Their SpecialtyMy Profile

  6. Very interesting stats. Thanks for sharing them.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–Splash-A-ThonMy Profile

  7. It’s nice to see some good news on this front for a change! I know that I notice an increase in the availability of higher quality treats….all natural, made in the USA, wholesome ingredients. I still try to make my own as much as possible, and to also use fresh fruits and vegetables (though the girls don’t really go for those). There are some great simple recipes being shared on a lot of the pet blogs, and that is a great help too!
    Jan K recently posted…Book Review: What the Dog AteMy Profile

    • I KNOW – there are so many good looking treats we come across. Jack & Maggie really wish I was a better cook…or that I at least cooked at all 🙂
      mkob recently posted…Dear Labby My Profile

  8. Good post! I wanted to mention the sugar in fruit which is a personal thing for me that I’ve applied to Kirby. I used to drink fruit juices and eat lots of fruit which I thought was a healthy thing to do. When I cut back as in rarely any fruit juice and limited fruit weekly the pounds dropped off quickly. (I do take a multi-vitamin and eat lots of veggies) Kirby doesn’t get near the amount of treats people think he does and the majority are meaty treats not requiring any sweetening.

    • You are correct in pointing out that fruits do have sugar and thus can pack a a lot of calories in condensed (juice) form. At least when you or your dog consumes fruit, they obtain the health benefits associated with the fruit which is far better than just plain sugar.
      steve recently posted…Benefits of Strength Training Your DogMy Profile

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