Xanthan gum is a popular ingredient that thickens and stabilizes dog food. It is common in canned food, where it keeps the food moist and thick.
This gum is a product of sugar fermented by bacteria. Yet, most people might not understand what this gum is and what it offers. Here are a few insights into this.
What Is Xanthan Gum and What Does It Do?
Xanthan is a food additive, thickener, and stabilizer made from bacteria-fermented sugar. While it has a few health benefits, its primary role is to improve the texture of the food. Food manufacturers rely on this gum to prevent ingredients from separating.
Xanthan gum helps reduce the glycemic index of rice, lowering and stabilizing blood sugar. This feature makes it perfect for dogs with diabetes, guaranteeing them a quality life. In addition, this gum could be mixed with beta-glucan to prevent blood glucose spikes.
Various studies indicate that high doses of xanthan gum can regulate cholesterol levels and reduce them by up to 10%. Its laxative properties help keep the gastrointestinal tract moist, healthy, and open. In addition, it has anti-cancer properties that minimize the spread of cancerous tumors.
Suppose you want to encourage weight loss. Then, xanthan gum will be an excellent solution to this problem, as it helps slow digestion and keeps the stomach full.
This product contains fibers, which help expand the gastrointestinal tract, allowing fecal matter to pass through effortlessly. In addition, these fibers will help alleviate constipation and digestive complications in dogs.
Xanthan Gum and Its Controversies
Various controversies surround the use of xanthan gum in dogs. Proponents of natural diets are against giving dogs any additive, including xanthan. On the other hand, nutritionists consider xanthan an excellent source of nutrients.
While xanthan provides multiple health benefits, it poses several health risks simultaneously. This aspect implies that using xanthan gum in dog food is based on personal preferences.
Further, some people confuse xanthan gum with xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener used in place of sugar in diet foods. Xylitol is highly toxic to your dog, causing liver failure and hypoglycemia even when consumed in small quantities. While both names start with an x, they are not from the same family.
How Safe Is Xanthan for My Dog?
Xanthan is a perfect snack when offered in moderation. While it is a healthy choice, it is associated with various health complications, including gastrointestinal issues, allergies, and low blood sugar levels.
Excessive consumption of xanthan causes loose stools, particularly among dogs with sensitive stomachs. The dietary fibers in this product are hard for the dog to digest, resulting in excess stomach gas. This complication will likely cause diarrhea, vomiting, and bacterial overgrowth in the intestines.
Some dogs might be allergic to xanthan. While it might not be directly allergic to the xanthan gum, your dog will not react well to the carbs used to make it, including wheat, soy, and dairy. Each of these carbs causes a different body reaction. For instance, while wheat allergy triggers itchy red skin and ear infections, soy allergy causes eyelid inflammation and self-trauma.
In rare cases, your dog will suffer low blood sugar levels. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include excessive sweating, trembling, and an increased heart rate.
Xanthan is a perfect addition to your dog food. Yet, you must use it in moderation to avoid gastrointestinal complications, allergies, and low blood sugar levels. You’ll also need to monitor physiological changes in your dog when introducing it to this additive. It is the only way to cushion it against significant health dangers.