The Short Answer is:
It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not exactly healthy for your dog. The majority of Agave syrup is sugar, and a very bad type of sugar at that, plus it contains too many calories. There are only a few good nutrients found in agave syrup, so feeding your pet that much sugar isn’t worth the risk.
In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Agave Syrup?“.
- What is agave syrup/ nectar?
- What nutrients are in agave syrup?
- Honey vs Golden syrup (corn syrup) vs maple syrup. Which is the healthiest for your dog?
- What are the side effects of a dog eating too much sugar?
- Are there any healthy alternatives to these sugar alternatives?
- Can dogs eat agave syrup?
- Can Dogs Eat Agave Syrup? (Watch Video)
Several dogs have a sweet tooth but you cannot put it down to natural selection.
Neither humans nor animals are born with a sweet tooth. You’re probably responsible for your dogs acquired taste since its an acquired taste.
Dog owners now know the dangers of feeding their pets too much sugar and wonder if agave syrup is a healthier alternative.
The purpose of this article is to look at agave nectar and other so-called natural sweeteners and see if they’re safe for dogs… get ready to be shocked!
What is agave syrup/ nectar?
A growing number of vegans and health-conscious people are turning to agave syrup which is touted as a healthier alternative to sugar. This product comes from a succulent plant called agave which is native to regions with warm climates such as the Southern part of the US or Mexico. Since this nectar or syrup comes from a plant people assume that it must be healthy or at least healthier than sugar which also comes from a plant or several.
In this case the problem with the syrup is that what you buy at the store is a highly-refined and chemically-processed version of agave nectar.
As a result you get almost pure fructose which is bad for dogs and their owners.
What nutrients are in agave syrup?
When you examine the ingredients on the label of a generic agave syrup you might find in the store you’ll realize just how healthy it really is.
Sugars are present in 68 grams of a 100-gram serving. Agave syrup has 68% sugar by weight. There is also 22% water which leaves you with just 10% nutrients. In addition you have trace amounts of various vitamins and 1% of dietary fiber.
Agave syrup for instance contains 13mg of choline as well as folate or vitamin B9 both of which are beneficial for your dogs health.
Is consuming that much fructose worth the risk of getting these tiny amounts of vitamins?
The high sucrose content of table sugar is demonized but the fructose in agave syrup while less harmful to diabetic people or their dogs can cause liver damage. In comparison to sucrose and glucose fructose is more difficult to process by the liver.
Last but not least agave syrup has more calories than sugar 310 calories per 100g. Even for humans thats quite a bit of energy.
Honey vs Golden syrup (corn syrup) vs maple syrup. Which is the healthiest for your dog?
Many pet parents find it difficult to choose a healthy sweetener when making various dog treats. We have seen that agave syrup does not do much good for dogs as we have learned from our experience. What other options are available?
It can be used as a natural sweetener for milk and tea and it has some health benefits because it is rich in antioxidants. Honey is actually worse than agave syrup when it comes to sugar.
Sugar content in 100 grams of honey is 82 grams much higher than in 100 grams of agave nectar. Alternatively honey contains less fructose and more dextrose or glucose another type of sugar that is better for your pet. Honey is often used to treat hypoglycemic or dehydrated dogs.
If your dog has weight problems you should use honey in moderation since it has the same amount of calories per 100 grams.
You can give your dog a spoonful of honey if he has a sore throat or has seasonal allergies but do not overdo it.
Another popular sweetener is corn syrup also known as golden syrup. The label however indicates that it contains 76% sugar. In the calorie department golden syrup is a little better with 283 calories per 100g. If you look at its other nutrients you’ll find that it lacks vitamins and only traces of minerals such as zinc.
On the market there are two kinds of corn syrup. We have the regular version as well as the high-fructose version (HFCS).
To feed your pet corn syrup use regular corn syrup which is almost exclusively glucose. HFCS has a high fructose content so stay away from it.
Its less calorific than other sweeteners at least the ever-popular maple syrup. A 100-gram serving of maple syrup contains just 260 calories. Furthermore it contains less sugar only 60 grams but it is all fructose so it is not very healthy for your dog.
The maple syrup on the other hand is an excellent source of riboflavin or vitamin B2 which is necessary for cellular respiration. As this vitamin is involved in iron absorption riboflavin deficiency can cause various disorders such as stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth) skin rashes and even anemia.
In addition maple syrup contains essential minerals such as calcium magnesium manganese and zinc.
Maple syrup is your best option if you want to use syrup instead of table sugar for your dogs treats.
Should dogs eat sugar?
Dogs do not need sugar according to veterinarians. Carbohydrates are necessary for dogs to produce energy but they should not be sugar cookies or ice cream.
It does not mean that your dog will be adversely affected if he eats something sweet once in a while. Try giving him a little bit of fruit some berries or perhaps some apple or banana slices and he will receive some natural sugars to maintain his energy levels.
Naturally if your dog is a couch potato and prone to obesity you should avoid giving him sugar since it will lead to him gaining more weight.
What are the side effects of a dog eating too much sugar?
Imagine all the bad things that sugar does to humans and then multiply that by a few.
Firstly too much sugar can cause diarrhea in dogs because it destroys the good bacteria in their guts which are important for digestion. Basically if you share a box of cookies with your pet he’ll be forced to eat nothing but rice and plain chicken for a few days until his stomach settles down.
You know sugar causes cavities because it feeds the wrong kind of bacteria that multiply and destroy teeth enamel. Keep in mind that sugar is bad for humans as well even if they brush their teeth twice a day which your dog likely does not.
Dogs who are hyperactive can also be given too much sugar so if your dog already has too much energy for you to handle he does not need sweets.
Are there any healthy alternatives to these sugar alternatives?
The best thing you can do for your dog is to use alternative products as sweeteners even though thats harder said than done.
The raw honey you’ll find in most stores is safer than store-bought honey. Most of the antioxidants vitamins and minerals in these products are destroyed as a result of pasteurization at temperatures over 70C.
Sweeteners such as Stevia are also becoming increasingly popular. It is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant and is much sweeter than sugar which is good since you only need a small amount for your dogs treats. Green Stevia is less processed than white Stevia and contains vitamins and minerals such as calcium magnesium zinc iron and magnesium.
It can be called chocolate for dogs. Carob powder comes from the beans of the Carob tree which grows in the Mediterranean region and it tastes like chocolate but it is caffeine-free so dogs cannot be poisoned. Additionally it is a good source of vitamins A B and D as well as minerals and fiber. Despite the fact that carob powder isnot as sweet as sugar you can use it to make tasty ‘chocolate’ cookies for your dog.
Can dogs eat agave syrup?
Lets put it this way – its not the worst thing in the world but its not exactly healthy for your dog. The majority of Agave syrup is sugar and a very bad type of sugar at that plus it contains too many calories. There are only a few good nutrients found in agave syrup so feeding your pet that much sugar isnot worth the risk. You can use raw honey or maple syrup for dog treats if you need a sweetener.
Also you can try using stevia or carob powder which works as well or almost as well as chocolate for your dog. He probably would not notice the difference.