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).
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.
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.
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.