The Effects of Aspartame on Dogs

by Jodi Thornton O'Connell
    Artificially sweetened human food can be toxic to dogs.

    Artificially sweetened human food can be toxic to dogs.

    Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Aspartame is generally not added to pet foods or treats, your dog may ingest some if you feed him the occasional human snack or if he accidentally ingests toothpaste, diet baked goods, bubblegum or other human consumables his inquisitive nose may lead him to. Aspartame is made from the aspartic amino acid, a neurostimulator that in large amounts has been linked to memory disorders, brain tumors and a host of other health issues in humans, dogs and rodents.

    In laboratory studies, aspartame is shown to have no adverse effects on dogs in dosages up to 4,000 milligrams per kilogram -- or 2.2 pounds -- of body weight. Memory and learning skills began to be affected in dosages exceeding 5,000 milligrams. If your dog happens to ingest aspartame on an accidental basis, it is unlikely he would be able to consume enough to endanger his life, as 8 ounces of artificially sweetened yogurt contain only 124 milligrams.

    Often found in the same products as aspartame, the sweetener xylitol causes a rapid decline in blood sugar in dogs, as well as seizures, liver failure and death when consumed in even small amounts, such as the equivalent found in one sugar-free cupcake. Read product labels carefully and keep sugar-free products out of pets' reach or eliminate them from your household altogether.

    Photo Credits

    • Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Jodi Thornton O'Connell has been an outdoorswoman for more than 45 years. She shares her love of adventure in columns for "Out-and-About Magazine," "Adam’s Rib," "Senior Christian Lifestyles," "Creede Magazine" and various websites.

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