What are the pros/cons of foods containing sugar for my dog?
Sugar does exactly for dogs as it does for humans. The biggest issue is that it contributes to the pet obesity problem. In fact, The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, in its latest survey, now says that 53 percent of all dogs are classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians, leading to common weight-related conditions.
• LOW BLOOD SUGAR
Sugar is basically responsible for the explosion of hypoglycemia. If not treated immediately, low blood sugar can be fatal, so it’s critical to recognize the symptoms: Shaking/shivering, no appetite, lethargy, seizures, and loss of balance or dizziness, weakness, unexplained sense of fear and/or sudden hiding. If you see them, call your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately where your dog can be properly diagnosed by a trained professional.
The vet might also suggest that you do something in the interim, such as rubbing Karo Syrup or honey on your dog’s gums because even a very short period of hypoglycemia could put her life at risk.
HIGH BLOOD SUGAR: TYPE 2 DIABETES
Hyperglycemia (high-blood sugar, diabetes) is a result of inadequate production of insulin by the pancreas. While there may be a genetic predisposition, pancreatic cells can also be destroyed by pancreatitis.
Initially, there’s an increase in appetite and a desire to consume more food, but eventually the appetite drops and malnutrition occurs. Excessive thirst and urination lead to dehydration. Other symptoms include: unexplained weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, weakness and coma. Cataracts are common in diabetic dogs; enlarged livers can make them more susceptible to infection. Sometimes there are also neurological problems.
If you have a diabetic dog, you need to be aware of “diabetic ketoacidosis,” a condition where ketones (acids) build up in the blood. Ketones are byproducts of fat metabolism. Sugar is usually used for energy, but in diabetic ketoacidosis, fats are used because sugar is unavailable. You can recognize diabetic ketoacidosis by strong breath odor (smelling a little like nail polish remover) weakness, vomiting and rapid breathing, Diabetic ketoacidosis is life-threatening so, if you suspect it, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
NOTE: It goes without saying that excessive sugar also promotes cavities and other dental and gum diseases.