Nowadays, many people are trying to reduce sugar consumption. As a result, the use of sweeteners has grown a lot in the past few years. Since many people also have a sweet furry friend at home and dogs are well known for eating things they shouldn’t, people always worry about foods they should be extra cautious with. So, what about one specific natural sweetener: stevia? Is stevia safe for dogs?
Stevia is safe for dogs. A little caution is needed just when it comes to quantity because large amounts can cause diarrhea and vomiting. If your dog is showing these symptoms, has a sensitive stomach, has consumed large amounts of stevia, or you’re just concerned, contact your vet as soon as possible.
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What Is Stevia?
Stevia is a natural sweetener harvesters derive from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana, a native plant from South America. Since it has a much higher sweetening power than sugar (100-300 times higher, to be more precise), but is “zero-calorie”, it has been gaining more and more space as a sugar substitute.
Although not everyone enjoys the taste of stevia, it sure is a way healthier option than sugar. It is a safe choice for diabetics. It can help with weight control, and some studies even suggest positive effects as an antioxidant and on blood pressure.
So we have just found out stevia appears to have benefits for humans and it’s safe, but what about dogs? Is it safe for them too?
Is Stevia Safe For Dogs?
The good news is that yes, stevia is safe for dogs. So, if you accidentally dropped something that has stevia on your kitchen floor and your dog was faster than you were, you probably will have nothing to worry about. You should just be cautious about the amount.
Large quantities of stevia can generate some gastrointestinal irritation, leading to a not-so-pleasant experience for dogs. The tricky thing is that it’s hard to know exactly how much is too much. That’s because there is high variability between dogs’ sizes and weights. In this case, setting aside accidental situations, it’s probably for the best to prevent ingestion at all.
Can Stevia Ingestion Cause Any Symptoms?
Although stevia is not toxic for your four-legged friend, the ingestion of great amounts of it can result in some discomfort. So, if your dog has eaten too much stevia, it may experience some symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and, mainly, diarrhea. The symptoms can be mild or intense depending on the quantity and the sensibility of your pet.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Stevia?
At first, all you need to do is observe. In case the quantity was only a little, you probably won’t have anything to worry about unless your dog has a really sensitive gastrointestinal tract. But, if you think your furry friend has ingested a large amount of stevia and you observe the symptoms described above, you can seek professional help.
A veterinarian will know how to best evaluate the case. They will check if any treatment is necessary to help your dog feel more comfortable.
Are There Any Toxic Natural Sweeteners?
Well, I’m really glad you asked because yes, there is a toxic natural sweetener that’s toxic to dogs. Even though most natural sweeteners are safe for dogs, xylitol is not one of them.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables. It can also be found in a lot of sugarless products, such as chewing gums, peanut butters, and oral-care products.
If ingested by your pet, it causes a rapid release of insulin by the pancreas. This results in a dramatic drop in blood glucose levels. This hypoglycemia (low glucose levels in the blood) has severe negative effects on the body, and it quickly progresses to weakness, incoordination, seizures, coma, and, if not assisted, liver failure and death. If you observe these symptoms, and you think your dog may have ingested xylitol, take it straight to an emergency vet.
Otherwise, make sure to keep any products with xylitol secure and out of reach of your doggos.
Conclusion: Is Stevia Safe For Dogs?
Finally, we can come to the conclusion that yes, stevia is safe for dogs! You just have to be cautious about the ingested amount because your pet may experience some gastrointestinal irritation in cases of large quantities. Since we don’t exactly know how much is too much for each kind of dog, it is best if you choose other products to give your buddy than the ones containing stevia.
After all, there are a lot of delicious treats you can give to please your dog that don’t have any chance to cause discomfort, and your dog doesn’t really need anything sweet, even the sugarless variety.
So, tell us, do you usually consume products that contain stevia? Did your dog ever steal a piece of it? And what treats do you like giving your dog? Let us know in the comments below!