If you like using molasses for your baking projects or for making delicious BBQ sauces and marinades, you may be wondering whether you can give this thick and nutritious syrup and the foods prepared with it to your pup as well.
Read on for the answer to the question “can dogs have molasses?” as well as more info on the best type of molasses for canines, the potential health benefits, and tips for incorporating it into your pet’s diet.
So, Can Dogs Eat Molasses?
The short answer is – only a certain type of molasses is safe for healthy canines, and only when given in moderation.
Since it is derived from sugar canes and sugar beets and is part of the sugar-making process, it is not the best ingredient to incorporate into your pup’s regular diet.
The safest type of molasses you can give to your dog is blackstrap molasses, which contains the most nutrients and the least sugar.
It is a much better sweetener to use for your pup than white sugar and is definitely safer than artificial sweetener Xylitol which is highly toxic to canines.
More About Molasses
This dark brown thick syrup is a byproduct of the process of making sugar from sugar canes or sugar beets. It is the leftover liquid after the sugar crystals have been removed from the juice extracted from the sugar canes and beets.
The process is repeated several times until all sugar is extracted. The result is that there are three types of molasses made as well – light, dark, and blackstrap.
It is commonly used as a natural sweetener for cooking, baking, making BBQ sauces, marinades, making rum, and more.
An interesting fact is that molasses is mixed with white sugar to produce brown sugar. It is also used for making rum, marinades, and baked beans.
What Are The 3 Types of Molasses?
The three types of molasses come from the three sugar extraction stages by the sugar manufacturers. They vary in color, flavor, viscosity, sweetness, and nutrient content.
The most suitable and safest type of molasses to use for recipes for dog treats and food is blackstrap molasses. It is the thickest byproduct from the final third boiling.
If you want to use molasses for preparing treats for your furbaby, you should opt for unsulfured blackstrap molasses. The sulfured type, as its name suggests, has added sulfur dioxide, which acts as a preservative for the sweetener.
Here are the three types of molasses.
This is the first molasses syrup produced when the crushed sugar canes or beets are boiled for the first time. It is the lightest in color and the sweetest of all three types because it contains the most leftover sugar. This makes it the most popular one for use as a sweetener and for baking.
Due to its high sugar content, it is the least suitable type to use for baking dog treats.
This is the byproduct leftover from the second boiling by the sugar manufacturer. It is darker and thicker than the light molasses and is less sweet too. Dark molasses too is used for baking, but it is more commonly used for preparing BBQ sauces and other foods due to its smoky and more intense flavor and dark color.
This is the leftover syrup from the third and last boiling during the refined sugar-making process.
It has the lowest sugar content, which makes it taste almost bitter. This is why people don’t use it so much for baking and preparing deserts.
But blackstrap molasses is rich in nutrients and packed with iron, manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin B6.
Since it has the least sugar, it is the most suitable type of molasses to use when baking and cooking for your pup.
What Are Some Potential Health Benefits of Molasses for Canines
Sugarcane has deep roots, which soak up all kinds of essential nutrients from the earth, and thus it is very nutrient-rich. However, the process of making refined sugar destroys these nutrients, and therefore sugar doesn’t contain them.
But molasses is made in a different manner and thus retains many of these healthy nutrients.
Some of them can be beneficial for dogs. The molasses’ nutrients that can help boost the pup’s immune system, prevent anemia, and help sustain energy include iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and vitamin B6.
Calcium can help strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Chromium, a natural sugar metabolizer, can help normalize the blood sugar levels in dogs with diabetes and other health problems.
The polyphenols contained in the blackstrap molasses have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
But given the fact that molasses contains so much sugar and carbs, the risks of consuming too much of it are not worth the health benefits from the nutrients it contains.
How Much Molasses Is Safe For Dogs?
While it may contain the least amount of sugar, blackstrap molasses still contains sugar, so you should limit the quantity you use for making dog treats and foods to a minimum.
The safe quantity depends on your pup’s size, age, and health.
An average-sized healthy adult dog can probably handle recipes that contain up to a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses occasionally.
If your pup is diabetic, has other blood sugar issues, or is obese, you should refrain from using any kind of molasses when preparing its food and treats.
How to Safely Add Molasses to My Dog’s Diet?
There are various dog treats recipes containing blackstrap molasses, which you can use as a natural sweetener to make your own homemade rewards for your pup.
You can also purchase ready-made dog treats that contain molasses instead of sugar or Xylitol.
Apart from using the blackstrap molasses for baking dog-friendly treats, you can add a little bit directly into your pup’s regular dog food.
You can mix a little molasses with some pumpkin or peanut butter for a delicious treat for your furbaby for special occasions as well.
Remember to choose the safest option for canines when picking molasses, namely the blackstrap type, preferably unsulfured. Also, check the label for any added potentially harmful ingredients such as Xylitol which can be poisonous to canines.