A top-down look at a bowl and scooper of erythritol.

Is Erythritol Safe For Dogs?

7 mins |

Erythritol is one of the most well-known sweeteners used in various dog treats. But some sweeteners, such as xylitol, severely affect dog health. There is growing concern about the risks associated with giving erythritol to dogs. Is erythritol safe for dogs?

Erythritol is safe for dogs when used in moderation. In general, though, owners should not give artificial sweeteners like erythritol to their dogs. Doggy treats are a better option.

What Is Erythritol?

Erythritol is a type of carbohydrate called sugar alcohol. The food and pharmaceutical industries use it as a sweetener. Erythritol tastes sweet, like table sugar. Unlike sugar, it contains zero calories. Also, it has 60-70% of the sweetness of sugar.

Erythritol contains four carbon atoms, each carrying one hydroxyl group (OH). The chemical structure of erythritol is similar to alcohol. That’s why it’s named sugar alcohol.

Erythritol is soluble in water. At 25°C, 100g of water may absorb 30-43 g of erythritol.

Where Is Erythritol Commonly Found?

Fruits and vegetables commonly contain erythritol. Chemical fermentation of corn-derived sugar results in the production of erythritol

In the first step, the enzymatic hydrolysis of starch yields glucose. The second stage involves the fermentation of glucose with yeasts to produce erythritol.

Is Erythritol Safe For Dogs?

Studies have proven that erythritol is safe for dogs when used in moderation. 

A dog’s digestive system handles erythritol very easily and doesn’t feed harmful bacteria in your dog’s digestive system.

Erythritol doesn’t lead to an increase in insulin levels in the blood.

Why Is Erythritol Considered Safe For Dogs?

Erythritol is considered safe for dogs for several different reasons. These include:

  • It doesn’t add extra calories to your dog’s food, and your dog will not get overweight.
  • It doesn’t break in the stomach and passes as it is in the intestine.
  • Erythritol quickly absorbs into the blood from your dog’s small intestine.
  • Erythritol doesn’t ferment in large intestines, and your dog won’t have to deal with bloating or flatulence.
  • It has a low glycemic index and won’t change glucose levels in the blood.
  • It won’t spike insulin levels in the blood.
  • It is excreted via urine from the body within 24 hours.
  • Unlike xylitol, it doesn’t affect the liver, lungs, or other organs.

Does Erythritol Offer Some Benefits For Dogs?

Yes, erythritol is sweet and has some health benefits for your dog. Let’s start with how it improves oral health.

Oral Health

A common side effect of excessive sugar consumption in dogs is poor dental health.

Erythritol-based tooth-friendly products suppress bacterial growth in your dog’s mouth. Unlike table sugar, it doesn’t feed bacteria that cause dental cavities.

Comparative studies show that erythritol does not affect plaque buildup in your dog’s teeth compared to other sugar alcohols.

Studies have also shown that erythritol is more effective for oral health than sorbitol and xylitol.

The use of erythritol can help reduce plaque, caries, and other oral bacteria compared to Xylitol and sorbitol.

A Strong Antioxidant

Erythritol acts as a sweet antioxidant that strongly scavenges free radicals. In vivo studies with rats have shown it may help protect against blood vessel damage and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Erythritol is a great choice for overweight and diabetic dogs. It doesn’t impact blood glucose levels in diabetics and non-diabetics.

An animal study showed that erythritol inhibits the increase in insulin and blood glucose levels.

However, more studies are needed to evaluate this health benefit.

It’s Friendly For Your Dog’s Stomach In Comparison To Other Sweeteners

Erythritol is a linear carbohydrate molecule not broken down by the stomach’s digestive enzymes. Its distinct molecular structure allows for rapid absorption via the gut.

It does not feed harmful bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract.

Also, it does not disturb the normal microflora in your dog’s digestive tract.

What Are The Adverse Effects Of Erythritol On Dog Health?

In general, erythritol is safe for dogs. Your dog may suffer from different digestive issues from excess eating of erythritol though.

Gastrointestinal Problem

The side effects of excessive use of erythritol in a dog include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating

Gluten Intolerance

The chemical process of making erythritol involves fermenting simple maize sugars.

Sometimes, gluten residues from maize pass into the fermented product (erythritol). This type of erythritol is not suitable for gluten-intolerant dogs.

As a result, it is better if manufacturers make erythritol from gluten-free sources.

How Much Is Erythritol Toxic For Dogs?

Erythritol is not toxic to dogs and is safe when used in moderation.

However, erythritol disturbs the gastrointestinal tract of dogs when used in excessive amounts in dog food.

Dogs will tolerate erythritol though. Experiments with daily erythritol dosages of up to 5 g/kg body weight were marked as safe.

How much erythritol a dog can eat depends on bread, age, weight, and the food it eats. So, always start with small amounts when you add erythritol to your dog’s food. That way, you can rule out allergies, diarrhea, and other side effects before they have serious health consequences.

Here is the maximum average amount of erythritol your dog can safely tolerate:

  • Small dog breeds like the Pomeranian can tolerate 10 g of erythritol daily.
  • Medium-sized dogs like Samoyeds can eat 56 g of erythritol in their food.
  • Large dogs can eat a maximum of 156 g of erythritol per day.

Which Sweeteners Are Safe For Dogs Other Than Erythritol?

As we know, erythritol is a good choice if you want to cut calories in dog food, but you can try other sweeteners if erythritol does not work or you or your dog don’t like it.

Sweeteners that are safe for dogs other than erythritol include:

  • Sativa
  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Monk Fruit sweetener

Which Is Better For A Dog: Erythritol Or Stevia?

The best option we recommend is stevia. Stevia is a natural plant-based sweetener.

It is 250-300% sweeter than table sugar. Compared to erythritol, you need less stevia in your dog’s food too.

Like erythritol, stevia is a calorie-free sweetener with no side effects for your dog.

Stevia also has a zero glycemic index and, like erythritol, does not cause insulin and glucose levels in the blood to rise.

Erythritol and stevia are both safe for dogs.

Is A Combination Of Erythritol And Stevia Safe For Dogs?

The combination of erythritol and stevia is safe for your dog.

Erythritol Vs Aspartame – Which Is Better?

Erythritol is safe for dogs in comparison to aspartame.

It contains no calories and is 70% as sweet as table sugar

In comparison, aspartame has four calories per gram and is 200% sweeter than sugar

Aspartame is not safe for dogs with diabetes. It is a high-calorie sweetener, and even a small amount can cause gastrointestinal problems.

Which Is Better For Dogs: Erythritol Or Xylitol?

Both erythritol and xylitol are sugar alcohols that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. Xylitol, however, is unsafe for dogs and has harmful effects even in small amounts. Moreover, xylitol is highly toxic and can be fatal to your dog.

Studies have shown that xylitol can cause life-threatening toxicosis in dogs.

Dogs consuming more than 0.1 g/kg body weight of xylitol are at high risk of developing hypoglycemia.

Dogs are at higher risk of liver failure if they consume more than 0.5 kg/body weight of xylitol too.

Conclusion: Is Erythritol Safe For Dogs?

Erythritol is an excellent substitute for sugar if you want to feed your dog a calorie-free sweetener. Erythritol is safe and non-toxic for dogs. But, as always, consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

So, do you plan to introduce erythritol to your dog’s diet? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below!

Dr. Ali Hussan
Dr. Ali Hussan
DVM, University Of Veterinary And Animal Science, 2019 M.Phil. (Clinical Medicine And Surgery), University Of Agriculture Faisalabad, 2021 Dr. Ali is a well-known veterinarian, writer, and pet clinical medicine expert. Dr. Ali has spent more than seven years following his passion for pets. He has an extensive background in treating pets. He is passionate about the welfare of speechless creatures. He is a regular contributor to numerous veterinary-industry books and websites.