Blackstrap molasses is the sugar industry’s waste product, the dark liquid that remains after sugar is extracted from sugar cane. The blackstrap is loaded with nutrients, while the main product, sugar, has had all of its healthy goodness stripped away.
In a nutshell, molasses can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, whether you give it to them in the form of treats or mix it into their regular food. However, not all molasses are created equal, and dog owners should know the difference between light, dark, and blackstrap molasses.
In addition, molasses may have trace amounts of xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can cause serious gastrointestinal problems in dogs.
Some molasses (like blackstrap) may be better for your dog than others, but all of them share the same risk due to the sugar content.
In the United States, one-third of dogs are overweight and one-fifth are obese, so it’s important to limit the amount of sugar your pet consumes. Consequently, if your dog has a history of being a couch potato, you should avoid feeding it molasses.
In today’s article, we’ll go over the steps necessary to transform molasses into a treat that’s both healthy and delicious for your dog.
Let’s get right to the point: molasses is safe for dogs to eat.
As long as the molasses is free of artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which can be toxic to dogs, there is nothing inherently bad or toxic about molasses when it comes to dogs.
Keep in mind that even with a natural ingredient like molasses, moderation is key.
What is Molasses?
Molasses is a form of sugar that can be extracted from either sugar cane or sugar beets. Although it’s not widely consumed in the United States, in the United Kingdom it’s common and is sometimes even given to children due to its high nutritional value. What I mean by that will become clearer in a moment.
Sugar is produced by crushing either sugar cane or sugar beets. Sugar cane juice is pressed, then reduced to a syrup.
The thick, dark syrup known as molasses is what remains after sugar has been extracted from fruit juice.
A variety of molasses, which we’ll get into below, can be made by repeating this process multiple times.
Types of Molasses
Although there are many varieties of molasses, the two most widely available brands in supermarkets are shown here.
If you decide to include molasses in your dog’s diet, it is important to select the “unsulphured” variety.
Sulphured molasses is molasses that has had sulfur dioxide added to it as a preservative.
Chemically altering the flavor of younger sugar cane to make it taste more like mature cane is a faster and more cost-effective alternative to aging the cane.
In addition to “light molasses,” you may hear the terms “golden molasses” or “original molasses” used. Even “treasure” is used occasionally. The first boiling produces a type that is milder in taste and appearance.
Since its taste is less intense than that of dark or blackstrap molasses, your dog may find it more agreeable.
However, if you choose this type for making homemade dog treats, you should use it sparingly due to its high sugar content.
The “Grandma’s” brand of light molasses depicted here is typical of what can be found in grocery stores.
It’s a common ingredient in baked goods like granola, muffins, and cookies.
Dark molasses is produced when sugar beets or sugar cane are reboiled to increase sugar extraction.
What’s left after boiling is even darker and less sweet than what was originally boiled.
It has an even more impressive nutritional profile in addition to a much more intense flavor.
Many savory dishes, such as homemade BBQ sauce, call for dark molasses instead of light.
The third boiling produces the most bitter flavor, and blackstrap molasses is the result.
The high iron content is a major reason why it is the most nutritious choice.
Because of its low sugar content, blackstrap molasses is widely considered to be the best molasses to give to your dog. However, most humans avoid this type of molasses unless it’s being used to add depth of flavor to extremely savory dishes.
Since canine obesity is on the rise (much like human obesity these days), it’s important to keep an eye on how much table sugar your pet gets.
How Can I Safely Give Molasses To My Dog?
There are three varieties of molasses; unfortunately, two of them are not suitable for canine consumption. One has a significantly lower sugar content than the others, but still manages to preserve all the beneficial nutrients found in sugarcane. Let’s start with the two worst kinds.
Molasses, both light and dark, should be kept away from dogs, with the former being the more dangerous of the two.
The molasses most commonly found in supermarkets is the light variety. It’s the first thing you get when you boil sugarcane, and it’s the sweetest because the sugar didn’t have a chance to boil down. It has the highest sugar content and should not be given to dogs.
After additional reduction, light molasses becomes dark molasses. The sugar content is reduced and the nutrient content is increased, but not by enough for the dog to benefit.
Last but not least, there is Blackstrap Molasses, which is made by reducing dark molasses. The sugar content of this molasses variety is minimal, and it packs a hefty nutritional punch.
This is the molasses to use if you want to give your dog a little sweetness in his or her food or make some homemade dog treats. In any case, check with your vet first.
Health Benefits of Molasses
Now that you know the distinctions between molasses varieties, let’s examine what each kind adds to your diet. Right off the bat, there is good reason for including molasses in our Natural Diet; it is loaded with nutrients and provides many health benefits.
Sugar cane roots can extend as deep as 15 feet, reaching unharvested soil layers rich in minerals.
Thus, sugar cane is able to take in a wide variety of nutrients. And because the nutrients are removed from processed sugar, the blackstrap is still relatively rich in them.
I’m curious as to what makes up the bulk of this molasses.
- B vitamins and folate: for strong blood cells;
- Bone and nervous system health, as well as cardiovascular health, benefit from magnesium and calcium.
- Free radicals are fought by manganese, blood sugar is maintained, and fatty acids are used.
- Metals such as copper and zinc.
Molasses is the first thing we suggest trying for dogs that have had stomach problems in the past. As a natural stool softener, unsulfured Blackstrap molasses is especially useful for geriatric canines.
Plus, it contains a high concentration of vitamin B6, which aids in fat digestion, and is simple to break down.
Second, this all-natural sweetener has many positive effects on the health of senior dogs. It’s possible that molasses will help your geriatric dog’s aching joints and weak bones, and that it will restore your dog’s mobility and agility.
Third, is your dog’s coat becoming dull and lifeless? It turns out that molasses is the solution once again. As a rich source of copper, molasses aids in hair restoration and growth. The coat color of your dog will also return to its youthful state.
Most importantly, however, molasses (and blackstrap in particular) can help reduce the likelihood that your dog will develop type 2 diabetes.
Blackstrap molasses is far better for your pet than any man-made sweetener because of its extremely low glycemic index.
How Much Molasses is Enough?
However, because molasses is a byproduct of sugar production, it shouldn’t be the focus of your dog’s diet despite the many benefits it provides.
Our canine nutritionists advise not giving your dog more than 1 teaspoon of this ingredient for every 10 pounds of their body weight per day.
Observe the molasses’s origins with care as well. Because of its low sugar content, blackstrap molasses is the best option for dog parents.
However, commercially available molasses has more sugar and other ingredients that may upset your dog’s stomach. Choose an authentic blackstrap that hasn’t been adulterated in any way.
Make Your Very Own Dog Treats with Molasses
Trouble figuring out how to incorporate molasses into your dog’s regular diet? Take a look at this recipe for a dog treat that uses only a few basic ingredients.
It will take 40 minutes to get everything ready and into the oven.
The components are as follows: 4 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses, 1 cup of water, 1 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats, 1 1/2 teaspoons of Brewer’s yeast, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 6 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 2 cups of whole wheat flour.
- Turn on the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Blend the peanut butter, coconut oil, molasses, and water with a whisk.
- Toss in the rest of the ingredients and stir to incorporate.
- You can then roll the dough out to 1/2 in. thick and use cookie cutters to make a variety of shapes. Place the dough on a baking sheet-lined tray and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the dough is no longer pliable.
- Put in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to feed to your dog.
Use Molasses as a Natural Sweetener for Your Dog’s Food!
Including molasses in your dog’s diet has many positive effects on their health. Sugar-free molasses is used in Volhard NDF products due to its high potassium content. As an added bonus, it’s a good source of minerals and vitamins from the B-complex family.
Traditional dog breeders fed their dogs a diet of molasses and seaweed or kelp to preserve the dark coloring around the nose, eyes, and mouth.
This extract of cane or beet sugar is a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners that reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time.
You should not make molasses the main part of your dog’s diet, as giving too much of it will exacerbate the problem.
Contact us and peruse our blog for additional information on canine diet, health, and training.
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How To Incorporate Molasses Into Your Dog’s Diet
Blackstrap molasses and coconut oil come together to create these adorable dog treats.
A little bit of research will also turn up commercial dog treats that use molasses as a natural sweetener.
Even if your dog doesn’t like the taste (and you shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t), you can try mixing it into their regular food or baking it into a treat.
The natural bitterness can be masked by mixing it with applesauce or another food, such as peanut butter.
Pumpkin, another common baking ingredient that is safe and healthy for your dog, is often combined with this spice.