The Short Answer is:
Dogs cannot be poisoned or killed by any of the ingredients listed in the main ingredients of any brand. Conversely none of the ingredients are particularly nutritious for a dog. There is a high concentration of sugar in these bars since most of the ingredients are highly processed.
The purpose of this research is to explain “Can Dogs Eat A Protein Bar?“.
- What is a protein bar?
- What are some of the top brands of protein bars?
- What are the main ingredients in the bars?
- Are these ingredients toxic?
- Why is xylitol toxic to dogs?
- What are the symptoms of xylitol poisoning?
- Chocolate flavored protein bars
- Chocolate toxicity with dogs
- Are chocolate protein bars toxic for dogs?
- Can Dogs Eat A Protein Bar? (Watch Video)
What is a protein bar?
You were a little hurried getting to the gym today werenot you?
You grabbed your essentials and headed out the door bleary-eyed the sound of your alarm still ringing in your ears.
When you finish your workout you realize you left your stash of protein bars on the side and that Fido probably ate them for breakfast.
Yet how bad can things get if your pet eats a protein bar or two?
You’ll learn both good and bad news as you read on.
My dog has eaten a protein bar. What should I do?
If your dog eats a protein bar the worst thing that may happen is an upset stomach.
Therefore the answer to your question about what you should do is that you should prepare to clean up after a bad case of diarrhea.
Most top brands of protein bars contain no toxic ingredients and that is what gives me confidence.
There are however a few important exceptions.
I’d like to mention three briefly.
It is first important to note that some protein bars contain xylitol which is an artificial ingredient lethal to dogs (this research believes that xylitol is used by “cheaper brands”).
Second many protein bars contain chocolate in some form or another. Chocolate is lethal to dogs.
Additionally most protein bars contain a high amount of sugar – around 30%.
However I will examine each of these exceptions in much more detail later.
Lets take a look at some of the best-selling protein bar brands to start this article.
What are some of the top brands of protein bars?
We examined four brands of protein bars that are some of the most popular and some of the most frequently searched on Google.
These are the brands:
- Bars with protein from Quest
- Protein Bars
- Luna protein bars
- The best protein bars
As I have identified the brands that I will be examining more closely I now need to take a closer look at the ingredients in each of these bars.
A protein bar can be dangerous to our dogs but to what extent?
What are the main ingredients in the bars?
Looking at each brand of bar separately is the best way to analyze the main ingredients.
My first impression is that each of these brands offers over a dozen different types of protein bars which is simply amazing (and a bit overwhelming)!
There are only a few basic ingredients that remain the same for each brand regardless of its flavor.
A list of ingredients would have consumed me for hours…
Three main ingredients make up a Quest protein bar:
- Creating a protein blend
- Based on soluble corn fiber
Three of the most important ingredients in a Luna protein bar are:
- Brown rice syrup
- Rolled oats
- Soy protein.
Protein bars made by Perfect are primarily made from:
- Peanut butter (no xylitol mentioned)
- Milk (nonfat dry)
There is only one other brand of protein left and that is Pure.
They make their bars with a protein blend that includes whey and milk proteins.
After considering the ingredients that four big brands use in their protein bars I want to explore whether any of these ingredients are toxic.
Are these ingredients toxic?
Dogs cannot be poisoned or killed by any of the ingredients listed in the main ingredients of any brand.
Conversely none of the ingredients are particularly nutritious for a dog.
There is a high concentration of sugar in these bars since most of the ingredients are highly processed.
I’m talking about soluble corn fiber and brown rice syrup.
However they will not do your dog any favors either.
Be sure to have rubber gloves on hand as I said earlier.
It seems that rolled oats are the most harmless ingredient.
Here are the exact amounts of sugar in each of these bars- and they’re a bit shocking!
Protein bars are often perceived as healthy snacks but a glance at the sugar content tells a different story.
The quest seems to be the only brand with a reasonable amount of sugar.
Why is xylitol toxic to dogs?
At the beginning of this research I mentioned that the artificial sweetener xylitol can be fatal to dogs.
A dogs body weight or 50mg/lb is believed to be sufficient to kill them.
Initially I was concerned about the Perfect protein bars since one of their base ingredients is peanut butter and some peanut butter contains xylitol.
The ingredient list does not mention xylitol however.
Nevertheless there are some protein bars that contain xylitol and it is best not to buy them for your dogs sake.
Xylitol causes an increase in insulin levels in the dogs blood when it is consumed.
Consequently the dogs blood sugar level drops rapidly resulting in hypoglycemia.
What are the symptoms of xylitol poisoning?
If your dog has ingested xylitol you will notice a general lethargy and a complete lack of coordination.
When they do move your dog will stumble a lot as they are unusually quiet.
If this sounds like your dog you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Poisoning with xylitol cannot be treated at home and must be treated by a veterinarian.
Chocolate flavored protein bars
Now that we have seen how toxic xylitol is it is time to look at another popular ingredient in our protein bars chocolate.
Quests website lists twenty different flavors of protein bars but eleven of them have chocolate in their names.
Luna protein bars made by Clif bar are available in four different flavors all of which are chocolate.
Protein bars from the Perfect range are available in thirteen flavors five of which contain chocolate.
Finally Pure protein bars are available in twelve different flavors six of which have the word chocolate in the name.
Chocolate toxicity with dogs
From this we can see that people are obsessed with chocolate-flavored protein bars.
Is there enough chocolate in these bars to pose a real threat to your dogs health?
There are a number of chemicals in chocolate that are toxic to dogs such as theobromine and caffeine.
Benzylxanthines are stimulants classified as methylxanthines.
When your dog consumes too much chocolate it might suffer seizures or a heart attack as a result of being overstimulated.
It is imperative to know what type of chocolate your dog has eaten because methylxanthines are found in cocoa beans.
A sliding scale of danger is also in place starting with the most dangerous first:
- Powdered cocoa
- Baking chocolate
- Dark chocolate
- Milk chocolate
Chocolate toxicity calculators are best for calculating chocolate toxicity.
The only information you need is the weight of your dog the type and amount of chocolate they ate.
Afterward the calculator will let you know if you need to book a vet appointment for your dog.
Are chocolate protein bars toxic for dogs?
The problem is that I can not find any information about how much chocolate or cocoa is in each bar.
The calculator assumes that your dog has eaten chocolate (as opposed to a chocolate-flavored food such as a protein bar).
According to the ingredient list of Quests double chocolate chunk bar which I figured would have the most chocolate in it it is listed 7th.
Since each chocolate bar weighs 60g if your dog ate two 60g chocolate bars it would be safe.
Therefore if your dog ate three or four of your chocolate protein bars they wouldnot get chocolate poisoning.
Nevertheless if you buy your chocolate protein bars inboxes and your dog eats all of them that is twelve bars.
Your vet should be contacted based on that amount.
If you want to read more about dog food tips read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.