Is Maltodextrin Safe for Dogs

Information at a glance

    In 2017, AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) approved the use of maltodextrin in pet foods, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies it as a Generally Recognised As Safe (GRAS) nutritional food additive. 


    However, the keyword “maltodextrin safe for dogs” introduces an important question regarding its safety for canine consumption, which warrants closer scrutiny.


    When assessing a food additive, weighing its long-term risks and benefits is essential. 


    For instance, while fast food might be considered safe for occasional consumption, relying on it as a staple of one’s diet would be ill-advised due to its nutritional deficiencies and health implications. 


    Similarly, despite maltodextrin being approved for use in pet foods, there is no compelling reason for it to be a daily part of your dog’s diet, whether in pet foods, pet treats, or dog supplements.


    When evaluating if maltodextrin is safe for dogs, you should consider its potential for long-term health effects, just as we consider the impact of diet on human health.



    What is Maltodextrin?


    Maltodextrin is a carbohydrate sugar compound (polysaccharide) that’s widely used as a filler or thickener in many processed foods and pet products. It is derived from modified starch and easily digestible, quickly absorbed as glucose in the bloodstream. 


    While not inherently toxic to dogs, there are several reasons why Maltodextrin can be considered harmful for some dogs, particularly when consumed as a regular part of your pet’s daily diet. Maltodextrin can have several drawbacks when it comes to pet nutrition and health.


    Is Maltodextrin Safe For Dogs? Spoonful Of Maltodextrin



    6 Reasons Maltodextrin Can Be Considered Bad for Dogs:


    1. Contributes to Poor Gut Health and Disruption of Gut Flora


    An animal’s gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that play a critical role in your dog’s digestion, immune function, and overall health. Maltodextrin can disrupt this balance by promoting the growth of harmful bacteria over beneficial ones. This imbalance, known as dysbiosis, can lead to gastrointestinal issues and may weaken the immune system. Maltodextrin can be rapidly fermented by bacteria in the colon, which may produce gas and cause bloating, discomfort, and diarrhoea which is especially problematic for dogs with sensitive digestion or those prone to gastrointestinal issues.


    2. High Glycemic Index


    Maltodextrin has a high glycemic index, meaning that its empty calories are quickly broken down into glucose and absorbed into your pup’s bloodstream, which can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Blood spikes are particularly problematic for dogs with diabetes or those prone to obesity, as it can be difficult to manage.


    3. Contributes to Weight Gain


    Like all sugars, Maltodextrin’s high caloric content and the rapidity with which it is converted into glucose can contribute to unwanted weight gain and obesity in dogs. This is especially concerning in pet foods and supplements marketed towards dogs with a sedentary lifestyle or those already overweight.


    4. Allergic Reactions


    Although relatively rare, some dogs may have allergic reactions to Maltodextrin. Symptoms could include skin rashes, itching, or gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea and vomiting.


    5. No Nutritional Value


    Maltodextrin is considered a filler because it provides no nutritional benefits to dogs. It does not contain any vitamins, minerals, or fibre. Its primary purpose in pet food is to add bulk and texture, not enhance its nutritional value. Its inclusion in dog can displace more nutritious ingredients, potentially leading to a diet lacking essential nutrients. This nutritional inadequacy can weaken the gut’s health over time, as it requires various nutrients to maintain its lining and support the beneficial gut flora.


    6. Exposure to GMO’s


    The potential health risks associated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) extend to our canine companions.Maltodextrin, a common additive in pet foods, is frequently derived from genetically modified plant sources.While the use of GMOs contributes to cost reduction in agricultural and food production, it introduces significant health concerns for dogs by increasing their exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide, Roundup.

    Glyphosate is a hazardous chemical associated with a range of negative health outcomes in humans and animals, including the development of cancer.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which operates under the World Health Organisation (WHO), has identified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen”.

    “The decision by 28 European nations and a total of 38 countries globally to prohibit GMO crops underscores the potential risk that glyphosate poses not only to human health but also to animals exposed to GMO-derived products containing this chemical.

    The presence of glyphosate in pet foods, particularly those containing ingredients like Maltodextrin produced from GMO crops, raises concerns about dogs’ long-term health and well-being.

    Considering the potential link between glyphosate exposure and severe health issues, it is prudent for pet owners to be informed about the ingredients in their pets’ foods and to consider the implications of GMOs and associated chemicals like glyphosate on their pets’ health.



    Reasons for Manufacturers Use of Maltodextrin in Pet Products:


    Despite these potential health concerns and drawbacks, Maltodextrin is widely used in pet foods and products for several reasons:


    1. Cost-Effective: As a filler, Maltodextrin is less expensive than high-quality ingredients like meat proteins. This makes it an attractive option for manufacturers looking to reduce costs while maintaining the product’s bulk.
    2. Texture and Palatability: Maltodextrin can improve the texture and palatability of pet foods, making them more appealing to dogs. It can help create a desirable consistency in wet foods and can also be used as a coating on kibble to enhance taste.
    3. Binder and Thickener: In pet foods and treats, Maltodextrin serves as a binder and thickener, which helps maintain the shape and structure of the product. It is especially useful in semi-moist pet foods and treats.
    4. Shelf Stability: Maltodextrin can contribute to the shelf stability of pet products, extending their shelf life and preventing spoilage.


    Minimise Your Dog’s Maltodextrin


    In conclusion, the FDA considers Maltodextrin safe for consumption in limited amounts. It provides functional benefits and is very cost-effective for use in pet products.


    However, its potential to raise blood sugar levels, disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, and cause gastrointestinal discomfort may adversely affect the gut health of dogs. This is especially concerning for dogs with specific health issues like obesity or diabetes.


    Given these risks, if you can’t eliminate Maltodextrin from your dog’s diet, it’s wise to limit their exposure wherever you can.


    Opt for fresh, whole foods over processed options, particularly avoid moist dog treats, as they are more likely to contain maltodextrin.


    Additionally, scrutinise the ingredients list of any dietary supplements you provide to your dog to ensure they do not contain this unnecessary additive and unwanted filler which essentially amounts to money wasted.


    This proactive approach helps maintain your dog’s health by reducing their intake of unnecessary and potentially harmful additives.


    Is Maltodextrin Safe for Dogs?


    Pet parents are encouraged to read labels carefully and choose products prioritising high-quality, whole foods and nutrients over unwanted additives and potentially harmful fillers like maltodextrin.

    Although maltodextrin can be an economical choice for pet food and pet supplement manufacturers, aiming to reduce costs and improve product texture or shelf life, NutriFlex prioritises pet health over profit, a guiding principle that significantly influences our product formulation decisions, including the choice not to use maltodextrin or GMOs for that matter in any of our products.

    This decision stems from a commitment to offering high-quality, nutritionally beneficial options dedicated to improving the well-being and longevity of your cherished pets, grounded in an understanding of the potential issues associated with maltodextrin and GMOs.


    NutriFlex stands at the forefront of holistic pet nutrition and is dedicated to elevating the health and well-being of pets across the globe. Our dedicated team of veterinarians, nutritionists, researchers and animal lovers brings together cutting-edge science, innovation, and care to deliver effective, scientifically validated natural alternative pet supplements that make a genuine difference. NutriFlex is more than just a brand; it promises to provide your cherished pets with the premium nutrition they rightfully deserve. Trust NutriFlex because we recognise that your pets are more than just pets—they're family. Their health and longevity are our priority and passion.
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