Can Dogs Eat Xanthan Gum?

Have you recently looked at the ingredient label on your dog’s food and found “xanthan gum” listed?  Do you even know what this strange-sounding ingredient is and why it is in your dog’s food?  Is xanthan gum bad for dogs?  Don’t fret; you’re in the right place!  We’re going to take some time to explain what xanthan gum is and why it is in some dog foods.  Finally, we’ll answer the question:  can dogs eat xanthan gum?

What is Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan Gum is made by fermenting Xanthomonas campestris  Xanthomonas campestris is a natural bacteria, and, when it is fermented it turns into a very sticky material.  To kill the bacteria that remains, the sticky material gets pasteurized.  During the final step in the process, the substance is filtered and dried out.  What is left is a white powder.

Xanthan gum works as a thickening or stabilizing agent.  It is used in a variety of different foods, medicines, and toothpastes.  Xanthan gum is a soluble fiber.  It does not increase the nutritional value of any foods.  Rather, it is added to keep ingredients mixed together and prevent them from separating or to improve the overall appearance of different foods.

dogs xanthan gum

Why is Xanthan Gum Added to Some Dog Foods?

Xanthan gum in dog food serves the same purpose that it does in many human foods.  Xanthan gum dogs’ food works to keep the ingredients mixed together and improve the overall appearance of food.  It is more likely to be in canned and wet dog foods than in kibble.

When added to a dog food with lots of different chunks of ingredient, the Xanthan gum can help keep the ingredients mixed together and will prevent them from separating.  For example, without xanthan gum, all the chunks of meat in a can of dog food may wind up at the bottom of the can while all the broth and carrots end up at the top.

With xanthan gum and dogs’ food, the food will also look more appealing when you open the can.  Rather than seeing chunks of food all separated,  you’ll see a more cohesive and attractive meal for your dog.  Most dogs won’t care what their food looks like and will be more focused on how it smells.  However, since their human owners are the ones serving the food, the xanthan gum still plays an important role.

Should I Worry About My Dog Eating Xanthan Gum?

Is xanthan gum safe for dogs?  Is xanthan gum poison to dogs?  Xanthan gum appears to be safe for dogs to consume.  It is in many different dog foods, and if it posed a serious health concern, it would be pretty clear based on the number of dogs who would be having an issue with their food.  Xanthan gum toxicity dogs is not something you to really worry about based on the small amount that is in dog food.

If your dog was somehow able to get a hold of a large dose of xanthan gum, it could cause him to have an upset stomach.  However, the amount of xanthan gum dog food is not enough to cause harm.  If your dog ate so much dog food that they were able to overdose on xanthan gum, they’d likely experience more severe side effects from eating such a large quantity of food.

If you have straight xanthan gum in your house, it is best to keep it out of your dog’s reach.  Xanthan gum bad for dogs can be a concern if they eat a large serving.  However, since xanthan gum doesn’t have a very pleasant taste by itself, your dog probably won’t even show any interest in eating it.

Many pet owners also ask, “is xanthan gum safe for cats?”  Yes, just as xanthan dogs foods are safe for pups, cat food made with xanthan gum is safe for cats.  

Why Are Some People Against Adding Xanthan Gum to Dog Food?

As dog owners, we’re constantly worrying about our pups and what it is safe for them to eat.  Can dogs eat cherry tomatoesIs it safe for dogs to eat cornbreadCan dogs eat edamame shells?  And now, is xanthan gum harmful to dogs or is xanthan gum poisonous to dogs?

These days it is hard to find a dog food ingredient that isn’t controversial to somebody.  If you search for “is xanthan gum safe for dogs,” you’re sure to find someone that says that dogs xanthan gum is not safe.

One of the reasons some people say dogs and xanthan gum is not OK is because they are against any food additives.  Since xanthan gum goes through a manufacturing process, it is a food additive. 

Additionally, a carbohydrate or sugar is used to make xanthan gum.  Often this carbohydrate is wheat or corn.  Even though most of the wheat or corn is filtered from the resulting substance, there can still be very trace amounts that make it into the dog food.  Individuals who are against using any corn or wheat for making dog food may tell you that the answer to “is xanthan gum OK for dogs” is no.

In the United States, Canada, and Europe, xanthan gum is a GRAS food additive.  GRAS stands for Generally Recognized as Safe, meaning that most people (and pets) will be fine if they eat foods that contain xanthan gum.

However, there are always exceptions to the rule.  Some individuals and animals may have reactions to consuming xanthan gum.  With humans, for example, some individuals with Celiac disease suffer from gas or diarrhea when they eat foods made with xanthan gum.  It may also cause flare-ups for people with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease.

Should I Feed My Dog Food with Xanthan Gum?

Based on current research, there doesn’t appear to be any real concern with feeding your dog a food that contains xanthan gum.  However, since xanthan gum doesn’t add to the nutritional content of food, if you want to be extra careful, removing it from your dog’s diet certainly won’t do any harm.

dogs and xanthan gum

Xanthan Gum-Free Diets

If you’re worried about feeding your dog a food with xanthan gum, you can always change their diet.  When trying to avoid xanthan gum, you’ll likely do best looking into a raw diet or making home cooked meals with boiled chicken, brown rice, vegetables and other ingredients.  

However, before making any changes to your dog’s diet, it is best to consult with their veterinarian.  If you choose to cook homemade meals for your dogs, you may inadvertently leave out some of the essential vitamins and nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy.  Your veterinarian can work with you to select the best ingredients for your pup.  They may also recommend supplements or vitamins to add to your dog’s diet to prevent any nutritional deficiencies.

If you’d prefer to stick to prepared food, you’ll find more xanthan gum-free dry food options than canned food choices.  Remember, xanthan gum is works to keep ingredients from separating. This means you’re more likely to find it in wet or canned food than in dry kibble.

Ultimately, the decision about whether to let your dog eat food that contains xanthan gum is yours to make.  You’ll need to weigh any possible concerns you have about your dog’s health with the information that shows that xanthan gum in dog food is safe.  

As with any other questions you may have about your dog’s health and diet, you can always reach out to your veterinarian.  They may be able to provide additional insight and specific advice related to your pet’s individual needs.

Dogs and Xanthan Gum

Now that you’ve read through our article, hopefully you know the answer to the question, “can dogs eat xanthan gum?”  Dog xanthan gum in food for our pups is safe and shouldn’t cause any issues or health concerns.  However, xanthan gum for dogs isn’t nutritionally necessary, so if you feel more comfortable cutting it from your dog’s diet, you can do so.  Just be prepared to spend some time finding a food that doesn’t contain xanthan gum, since many dog foods are made using it.

FAQs

Is xanthan gum like xylitol?

What is the xanthan gum vs xylitol difference?  Xanthan gum and xylitol are two completely different things.  While xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs, xanthan gum works as a thickening agent for dog foods and works to keep the ingredients from separating.  The major xylitol vs xanthan gum difference is that xanthan gum is not toxic for dogs.

What gum is toxic to dogs?

Can dogs have xanthan gum?  Is locust bean gum safe for dogs.  While the answer to both of these questions is yes, your dog should never have sugar-free chewing gum.  These gums include xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs.

Is guar gum poisonous to dogs?

No, guar gum is not poisonous to dogs.

What ingredients are bad for dogs?

When looking for dog food for your pup, here are a few ingredients you should try to avoid:
Artificial flavors
Artificial preservatives
Meat meal
Propylene glycol
Melamine
Carrageenan
Sodium hexametaphosphate
Corn syrup
MSG
Excessive amounts of corn and rice (when used as fillers)

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