Can Dogs Have Molasses? Vet Certified Nutrition Facts, Risks & Benefits – Dogster

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Molasses is a thick syrupy byproduct of the sugar making process. It is commonly used in baking and can even be found in some dog foods and treats, but is it healthy for them?

Although small amounts of blackstrap molasses may be safe to offer dogs, it does not make a healthy addition to their diet. If you are going to make homemade dog treats with this ingredient, we recommend talking to your veterinary team beforehand to get the green light from them, as this high sugar content makes molasses unsuitable for all dogs.

Read on to learn more about molasses and the risks of offering it to your dog.

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What are the Three Types of Molasses?

There are three main types of molasses that vary in taste, sugar content and consistency.

Light molasses made from the first boiling of the cane or beet juice. It is the lightest color and the sweetest type, because only a small percentage of the sugar is removed since it does not have time to boil down. It is commonly used in baking.

Dark molasses results from the second boiling of the cane or beet juice. It is thicker, darker, and less sweet than the light variety. It can be used in baked goods, but lends a distinctive color and flavor.

Blackstrap molasses results from the third boiling point. It is the thickest and darkest molasses and gives it a bitter taste. This is the most concentrated form of molasses, offering several vitamins and minerals and the lowest sugar content of all types.

organic black cane molassesorganic black cane molasses
Organic Molasses Black Cane Sugar in a bowl

Should Dogs Eat Molasses?

Molasses – light or dark varieties – should not be offered to your pets straight from the container as they are too high in sugar.

You may find dog foods, treats and pet food recipes at home with blackstrap molasses, and in small quantities it may be acceptable to offer such foods to your pet. However, it is important to remember that molasses is still a type of sugar, and dogs that overeat sugar are at great risk of gaining weight and developing conditions related to obesity.

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The Dangers of Feeding Molasses to Dogs

High Sugar Content

Molasses will have different amounts of sugar depending on the extraction method and the age of the plant. All three varieties have a lot of sugar, although the blackstrap variety has much less.

Although sugar is not toxic, too much sugar in a dog’s diet can disrupt the balance of bacteria they need to digest their food, which affects the gastrointestinal tract. Too much sugar can also lead to excess calories and obesity, which can increase the risk of joint problems, pancreatitis and cancer.

The high sugar content of molasses can also spike blood sugar levels, so dogs with diabetes should avoid this food completely.

Potential for Xylitol

Some molasses recipes may contain traces of xylitol. Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Ingesting even a small amount of the sweetener can be fatal for your dog.

carob molasses in a glass bowl and a wooden spooncarob molasses in a glass bowl and a wooden spoon
Image Credit: Halil ibrahim mescioglu, Shutterstock

Acrylamide material

Blackstrap molasses contains acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen that can form in certain plant-based foods when exposed to high temperatures during cooking. While there are no studies that specifically focus on dogs and their risk of cancer when they eat foods containing acrylamide, there are studies that suggest that it is a high cause of cancer in rodents. Acrylamide can be found in many commercial dry dog ​​foods due to the high temperature cooking methods used.

Choking Hazard

Molasses is a thick and very gooey substance. Dogs who eat molasses straight from the container may be at risk of choking because it gets stuck in the airway.

The Benefits of Feeding Molasses to Dogs

As we mentioned above, blackstrap molasses contains several vitamins and minerals that may be beneficial for dogs. It is naturally rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6, all nutrients that your pup requires for bodily processes such as oxygen transport, bone and tooth health, and the creation of neurotransmitters.

However, your pet should get most of its nutrients from a commercially prepared dog food or a prescription from a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist. Don’t rely on foods like molasses to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.

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Molasses isn’t a toxic food for dogs, but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should offer them often, either. The high sugar content of light and dark varieties makes them unsuitable for everyday use, but it should be fine to provide molasses containing foods and home remedy recipes from time to time together as long as the majority of your pet’s diet comes from commercially prepared dog food. Read the label before making any recipes with molasses to make sure they do not contain xylitol.

Talk to your veterinary staff before giving your dog molasses, especially if they have health conditions such as diabetes or other dietary concerns.

Featured Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

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