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In this article we will answer the question: “Is Xanthan Gum safe for dogs?”

Is Xanthan Gum safe for dogs

Xanthan gum is something humans should try to avoid in their own food and their pet’s food as well.

Xanthan gum is a “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) food additive in the US, Canada, Europe, and many other countries.

Yet it is known to be potentially as irritating as gluten for some with Celiac disease, causing gas, bloat and diarrhea; and for causing flare-ups for those with Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis (inflammatory bowel disease).

Is Xanthan Gum safe for dogs

In fact, “the rapid increase in the incidence and prevalence of IBD in recent decades strongly suggests an environmental trigger for IBD, one of which may be dietary patterns. There are several pathways where diet may influence intestinal inflammation, such as direct dietary antigens, altering the gut microbiome, and affecting gastrointestinal permeability.

A review article, “Evidence-based dietary advice for patients with inflammatory bowel disease” indicates that emulsifiers in processed foods have been indicated in Crohn’s disease.

What is Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide (sugar like compound) produced by bacterial fermentation of a sugar-containing medium.  Nutritionally speaking, it is a carbohydrate with about seven grams of fiber per tablespoon.

Xanthan gum is a powdery, sugar like substance that is used as a thickening or stabilizing additive in foods, toothpastes and medicine. It can be used to treat lower blood sugar and cholesterol in people with diabetes. While it is FDA approved as a food additive, it is created in a laboratory and is a soluble fiber adding no nutritional value to any sort.

It helps ingredients blend together and to stay blended. Think of canned pet food with chunks of carrots throughout.

Xanthan gum is a laboratory creation. It is a product:

– fermented on potential allergens
– when fermented on corn or soy (as it often is), GMO concerns exist
– cannot be manufactured without the use of toxic carcinogens

Is Xanthan Gum safe for dogs – Why it is in pet food?

Xanthan gum is gaining in popularity with pet food manufacturers because it has a low glycemic index and food containing it can be marketed as ‘gluten free’ which is certainly a buzz word in the nutrition business these days. It is used almost exclusively in wet food.

Xanthan gum is used as a thickening and suspending agent in wet or canned dog foods. It has little nutritional value.

What is Xanthan Gum substitute

Final Stages of Dog Diabetes

Are there any risks to feeding your pet xanthan gum?

Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the voluntary association of local, state, and federal agencies that oversees pet food and they have issued preliminary approvals for the use of xanthan gum in canned cat and dog food. That being said, it is not a natural substance and how your pet reacts should always be monitored.

Is Xanthan Gum safe for dogs – Benefits or risks

Several studies have shown that xanthan gum is  ‘safe’ in normal doses, for humans and pets.  That said, xanthan gum requires a ‘medium’ to grow and often the medium of choice is a carbohydrate like corn, soy, dairy, or wheat, all of which are potentially allergenic substances, especially if fed over long periods of time.

Xanthan gum: Safety evaluation by two-year feeding studies in rats and dogs and a three-generation reproduction study in rats

Miscellaneous facts about Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is used to stabilize and bind cosmetic products.

In human foods, xanthan gum is most often found in salad dressings and sauces because it helps to prevent oil separation.

Xanthan Gum was “discovered” by a team of USDA researchers in the 1960’s. In 1968 it was approved for use as a food additive in the US and Europe.

Some common foods that contain xanthan gum are salad dressings, sauces, beverages, syrups, baked goods, cookies, candy and low fat spreads.

Xanthan gum can also be found in lipsticks, lotions, toothpaste and some medicines.

Is Xanthan Gum safe for dogs – Common names

The most commonly used name is xanthan.  Other names include xantham gum, corn sugar gum and bacterial polysaccharide.

Xanthan Gum: A Future Ingredient in Pet Food?

Xanthan gum, an ingredient used infrequently in commercial pet food, could become a lot more common now that AAFCO has issued preliminary approval for its broader use in canned dog and cat foods.


Xanthan gum: Functional carbohydrate for petfoods?

This specialty ingredient used in vegetarian and gluten-free diets could have applications as a thickener and stabilizer in petfoods.

Xanthan gum is found occasionally in pet products, most commonly in wet foods and periodically in sauces and gravies, milk replacers and other liquid supplements. While one can find this ingredient in the specialty grocery aisle for vegetarian and gluten-free dietary needs, it is not what one would consider mainstream… login purchase here.


Why would xanthan gum be in pet food?

Xanthan gum is gaining in popularity with pet food manufacturers because it has a low glycemic index and food containing it can be marketed as ‘gluten free’ which is certainly a buzz word in the nutrition business these days. It is used almost exclusively in wet food.

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Actually the way that xanthan gum is manufactured is quite fascinating: First, it is produced when glucose, sucrose or lactose is fermented by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris, which infects many cruciferous plants (like cauliflower and cabbage) and causes diseases, such as bacterial wilt and black rot.

Interestingly, this increased viscosity can help reduce blood sugar spikes when xanthan gum is mixed with fruit juice.

Since xanthan gum can decrease blood sugar, when it’s combined with antidiabetes drugs, it may cause blood sugar to go too low.

If you do take them together, your blood sugar should be monitored closely, and it’s possible your medication dosage may need to be altered.

Rapid diagnosis and treatment is imperative! *Pet Poison Helpline, is an animal poison control service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet.

Studies have shown guar gum supplementation to be effective for reducing fasting blood glucose, improving glycemic control, reducing insulin requirements in insulin-dependent diabetics, and reducing LDL cholesterol, although whether these effects could be maintained long-term is uncertain. ( 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 ) Unfortunately, these studies do report gastrointestinal side effects such as increased gas.

The dose of xylitol that can cause hypoglycemia in the dog has been reported between 50 milligrams (mg) of xylitol per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg).

​Xanthan Gum Side Effects By Xanthan gum is a thickening agent named after the bacteria used to make it through fermentation, Xanthomonas capestris.

Xanthan gum is employed as a thickening agent and is therefore found more and more lately in many products meant for human consumption such as salad dressings, sauces,egg substitutes and ice cream.

If your dog has just eaten xylitol but has not yet developed any clinical signs, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to prevent further absorption, depending on what your dog’s blood glucose level is.

So, make sure to use a discerning eye when comparing canned food options to make sure your pet consistently eats canned diets that are whole-food based.

It is then filtered and dried to create a white powder.

Then, it is precipitated (made into a solid) by isopropyl alcohol.

The bacteria forms a slimy substance that acts as a stabilizer and thickener, an emulsifier, and a surface-active agent. (3) After a fermentation period of several days, it is heat treated to inactivate the organism: the gum is isolated from the bulk medium by precipitation with either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol (highly toxic carcinogens according to the American Cancer Society (5)).

It’s generally agreed upon in the scientific community that it is safe to consume up to 15 grams of xanthan gum per day.

Propylene Glycol (PG) is a humectant (moistening agent) found in some soft dog foods and treats.

This is why we are advised to limit our daily intake to 15 grams per day (the xanthan gum dogs in the above study got the equivalent of about 68 grams per day in a human weighing about 150 pounds).

I find that my cookies keep well without xanthan gum, especially when molasses is in the ingredients list, though not necessary.

Well, in both dogs and people, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas.

When people eat something containing xylitol, xylitol doesn’t stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas.

When a dog eats xylitol, it can quickly be absorbed into the bloodstream and this can cause a potent release of insulin.

This rapid release of insulin may result in a quick decrease in the level of blood sugar within your canine, otherwise known as hypoglycemia.

Are Canned Foods Considered to Be Whole Foods?

Such options are better choices for pet owners seeking to feed a whole-food diet than canned foods that appear smooth and “pate-like” without discernible chunks of whole-food ingredients.

Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs.

The higher the dose ingested, the more the risk of liver failure.

Some brands of gum contain fairly small amounts of xylitol, and it would take up to 9 pieces of gum to result in severe hypoglycemia in a 45 pound (20 kg) dog, while 45 pieces would need to be ingested to result in liver failure.

With other common brands of gum which contain 1 g/piece of gum, only 2 pieces would result in severe hypoglycemia, while 10 pieces can result in liver failure.

Unlike xanthan gum, which is a product of bacterial fermentation, guar gum is derived from an actual food: the guar bean, or Indian cluster bean, which grows primarily in India and Pakistan.

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Co-factors essential for digestion may be lacking and can lead to poor absorption of nutrients and digestive tract upset (inappetence, vomit, diarrhea, flatulence, etc.).

Synthetic vitamins may not be efficiently absorbed as compared to natural vitamins existing in whole foods due to improper binding with receptors inside the digestive tract (see visual examples in Good Food/Bad Food: A Little Book of Common Sense Nutrition ).

Natural, whole-food vitamins are generally better absorbed as a result of improved binding with digestive tract receptors, and are not eliminated in a manner that creates additional stress on the body like their synthetic counterparts.

The most common source of xylitol poisoning that Pet Poison Helpline* gets calls about comes from sugar-free gum.

If you suspect that your pet has eaten a xylitol-containing product, please contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately .

Rapid diagnosis and treatment is imperative! *Pet Poison Helpline, is an animal poison control service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet.

Is Xanthan Gum safe for dogs