Ketchup is so delicious it can be addictive. Can you imagine your potato fries without it? Definitely not! Your mozzarella sticks will not taste the same without a good squirt of ketchup.
When you are a huge fan of ketchup, it’s needless to say you often use it as a condiment for most meals. Because of that, there is a chance your dog already ate some ketchup from your leftovers. Is that something to be concerned about? Is ketchup bad for dogs?
Before getting through all these questions, let’s first enumerate the ingredients of ketchup. This way, you will clearly understand why it is best to keep those leftovers with ketchup away from your dog.
What’s in your ketchup?
The ketchup from a popular fast food chain has the following ingredients:
- Tomato concentrate
- Distilled vinegar
- Onion powder
- Natural flavoring
- Corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
When a tomato is concentrated, it was cooked for several hours to reduce its water content. Do note that tomato concentrate is just another term for tomato paste. The concentrate alone may already have preservatives and most sauce recipes already have onion and garlic in them.
It is noticeable that corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup were labeled as two different ingredients. In reality, they both function as refined sweeteners. The only difference between them is that corn syrup is entirely glucose while a high-fructose corn syrup had some of its glucose turned to fructose. In simpler terms, the good old ketchup has a lot of artificial sweeteners. You might be getting by now why ketchup can be bad for your pooch!
Another ingredient to be concerned about is the distilled vinegar which usually comes from genetically modified corns. GMOs have been the subject of debate for years now. Most experts believe they are bad for our health while there is a minority emphasizing genetically modified organisms benefit humans.
Either way, vinegar may still be harmful for your pet. Many canine nutritionists do not recommend giving vinegar to dogs because it might trigger some allergies. It can also unfavorably affect your puppy’s pH levels. In general, vinegar is non-toxic to dogs but it can still post a potential harm when ingested.
Most of the time vinegars contain alcohol but they only have around 2% of it. That small amount will not harm your dog. It is the salt and sugar content of ketchup that is more bothersome.
Among all the ingredients of ketchup, the onion powder really caught our attention. You must be aware that all forms of onions, regardless if they are raw or cooked, are poisonous to dogs due to the thiosulphate in them that is toxic to canines and may even cause hemolytic anemia. This condition can impair your dog’s red blood cells.
What are the other ingredients to watch out for?
Ketchups are all different. Did you know that there are other fruit ketchups other than tomato ketchup? There’s one made from sweet cherry, one with blueberry-chipotle, and one from green tomatillo. Because ketchups vary, it would help to check the label. Here are some ingredients to keep an eye on when buying ketchup:
1.Xylitol – there is a brand selling sugar-free ketchup that uses xylitol as sweetener and according to some, it tastes like the leading brand of ketchup they usually buy. Xylitol is also found in many diabetic snacks, baked goods, and candies. While this sweetener is deemed to be a healthier sugar alternative that can benefit humans, it can be deadly for dogs by affecting the insulin throughout their body. When ingested, it can affect your dog in as fast as 30 minutes.
2.Stevia – like xylitol, stevia is often used as a sugar replacement. But unlike xylitol, stevia is non-toxic for canines. Your only concern is that stevia can cause osmotic diarrhea in dogs. In general, it is better to limit their exposure to non-sugar sweeteners because high doses of them call for gastrointestinal problems.
3.Garlic powder – you might have heard that garlic is not totally poisonous for dogs. In fact, it is one of the best home remedies for getting rid of parasites and fungus from your dog’s body and is also capable of preventing formation of blood clots in canines, thanks to its anti-platelet properties. But just like onions, garlic is also not safe for your dog in excessive amounts. Any form of it can kill your dog’s red blood cells which can lead to anemia if untreated.
4.Paprika – certain brands use this spice as one of the ingredients. You should avoid exposing your pup to paprika because it is known to cause eye and skin irritations. It is not really deadly for dogs but vets warn that it can harm their lungs if inhaled.
5.Grapes – just in case you haven’t heard, there is grape-based ketchup and it is made of concord grapes. In general, grapes, as well as raisins, can harm your dog. Even a small amount of them can make your puppy ill. The worst thing to happen is for your dog to develop kidney failure because of grapes.
6.Bacon – there is a leading ketchup brand selling their condiment with bacon as the main ingredient. It looks inviting for us humans mainly because of that added taste of bacon, but this sauce can actually harm our dogs. Bacon is very high in fats that can cause pancreatitis in dogs.
Is there a healthier version of ketchup?
Yes, you can make your own version of ketchup at home. The good news is that there are a few recipes out there that do not use garlic or onion powder. It can be a relief if you’re worried about your dog being exposed to ketchup.
These recipes use a bit of pepper and salt, as well as apple cider vinegar. A little bit of these will not harm your dog. Like the store-bought version, DIY ketchup also has tomato paste as the main ingredient.
What To Do If Your Dog Accidentally Ate Ketchup?
Don’t panic. He’s going to be fine! Occasional licking will not really harm your pup. Just be careful how you store your ketchup in the future. There were dogs that accidentally ingested a packet of ketchup. This can cause an obstruction in their intestines so you should be extra careful when disposing of them.
Safety in Giving Ketchup to Dogs
Almost all dog owners don’t really offer ketchup to dogs. It’s just that they sometimes have the habit of raiding the trash can and eating leftovers. That’s where they mostly get access to different kinds of condiments.
It is best to keep those small packets of ketchup away from your dog. However, if he accidentally ate one, you should not worry as that little amount of ketchup will not cause him any problems. The main concern here is if he happened to eat the whole thing, including the packaging. Believe it or not, there are dogs that even ingest the cap of a ketchup bottle! Put those condiments out of his reach.
Can dogs have ketchup? Is ketchup harmful to dogs?
No, a little of it will not hurt. However, you are not supposed to let him consume it regularly or in very large quantities. Just like for us humans, it is not recommended for your dog to eat too much ketchup.
Ketchup tastes great. It makes most of our food more inviting but behind its yummy goodness there is excessive sugar. It can make gain weight so consuming lots of ketchup isn’t recommended if you are trying to shed some pounds.
A tablespoon of regular ketchup contains around 3.4 grams of sugar. With that very small amount, it is noticeable that it has a whopping sugar content. An entire bottle of ordinary ketchup equates to 33 tablespoons of sugar. Just like you, your dog also needs carbohydrates to survive and do his daily routine, but he is not supposed to consume sugar like we do.
You might not see any negative side effect on your dog right away but sugary treats can have a long-term effects on canines. Dogs can also experience sugar highs so you might find them erratic or hyper after eating foods loaded with sugar.
In the long run, sugar can contribute to obesity and joint problems. There are also worse problems that may arise from consuming sugar, such as insulin resistance and even an increased risk of cancer.
Ketchup is non-toxic for dogs but it does not offer any nutritional value so it is not really a good idea to let your dog have it. Ketchup contains salt, sugar, and preservatives that can harm your dog.
There are brands that manufacture types of ketchup using ingredients that can be toxic for canines. That includes xylitol, onion powder, and garlic powder. Sugary treats may cause an upset stomach in dogs, while salty foods can also harm them if given in high quantities.
However, if you are trying to eat healthy, it is best to avoid ketchup at all cost. A packet of it has as much as half a teaspoon of sugar. When you practice healthy living, Dogs can benefit from it, too!