Is black-strap molasses safe for dogs to eat? If you have a sweet tooth, you probably know how delicious regular molasses is. The rich, dark, velvety texture is a prime ingredient in many recipes.
Black-strap molasses is a totally different beast. It has the same dark, rich appearance, but the taste is nowhere near as sweet as the usual stuff. Dogs, of course, are drawn to the smell and taste. The question is, should they eat it?
This post explains the difference in sugar content of various types of molasses. You’ll learn how much is too much and ways to incorporate small amounts into your dog’s diet.
You might be surprised to learn just how nutritious molasses can be!
Where Does Molasses Come From?
Molasses is found naturally in sugar beets and sugar cane plants. To create the thick syrup, it goes through a refining process where it is spun in a centrifuge. The amount of times it spins through the centrifuge directly relates to the type of molasses you get.
Molasses that has only had one spin (known as the first spin) has a high sugar content.
All types of molasses are available for purchase, but some are better for your dog than others. The following is a brief explanation of the types of molasses including the level of purity.
You might recognize light molasses by the name “Grandmas Molasses” in the grocery store. It can be sold under a variety of brand names. In fact, it’s the most popular type of molasses because of the high sugar content.
Light molasses can be used in a variety of recipes. It can also be used on pancakes or as sugar in coffee.
When molasses is boiled twice, it leaves dark molasses. This type if much thicker and darker. The flavor is rich and deep with a hint of bitterness.
If you’ve ever mistakenly purchased blackstrap molasses you may have been shocked by its somewhat bitter taste. It’s not nearly as sweet as regular molasses but contains the same vitamin content.
When molasses goes through a third spin, you’re left with blackstrap molasses. What’s left is a very dark, bitter version of molasses. This is the best type of molasses to use when baking dog treats because of the nutritional value.
This is the best type of molasses with the least amount of sugar.
Health Benefits of Molasses for Dogs
Unlike highly processed white sugar, molasses has enough nutritional value to warrant a second look. Of course, the best way to ensure your dog gets the best diet possible, it’s important to stick with a veterinarian-recommended low-sugar diet.
Black molasses is thought to be better for you and your dog due to the vitamin content. It’s important, however, to understand that the body treats all sugars the same way. Consider it a “healthier” alternative to refined sugar rather than a “healthy” option.
That said, some of the health benefits of blackstrap molasses for dogs include:
Calcium will help your dog maintain healthy bones.
Blackstrap molasses has lots of iron which helps prevent anemia in dogs.
Magnesium help your dog to absorb calcium, vitamins C, E, and B vitamins.
Manganese is not processed naturally in the body. This mineral helps your dog to digest and absorb proteins and carbohydrates.
Potassium helps muscles contract and relax. This affects your dog’s overall muscle strength and growth. This is particularly important for a growing puppy.
B6 vitamins go along way in helping your dog digest fat and metabolize the amino acids in protein.
Molasses contains chromium which can help improve your dog’s glucose tolerance.
The Dangers of Too Much Blackstrap Molasses
Too much sugar in a dog’s diet can increase blood sugar levels in dogs with diabetes . In addition, too much sugar contributes to weight gain in dogs.
Overweight dogs are more at risk of heart disease, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.
Health Risks You Might Not Be Aware Of
Did you know that blackstrap molasses can act as a laxative in people? Dogs with sensitive digestive systems or underlying health conditions could be at risk of developing diarrhea.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep molasses-based treats to a minimum. Balance is key.
Calorie Content of Molasses
One tablespoon of molasses contains 60 calories. Depending on the size of your dog, this could take up a fair amount of the dog’s daily caloric intake. For example:
Small dogs (12 pounds) only require about 350 calories a day. A single treat should be no more than 35 calories.
Medium dogs (20 pounds) only require about 514 calories per day to maintain an ideal weight. A single treat should be no more than 51 calories.
Large dogs (50 pounds) require about 1019 calories per day. A single treat should not be more than 102 calories.
Extra-Large Dogs (80 pounds) require 1582 calories a day. A single treat should not be more than 158 calories.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?
In order to maintain your dog’s healthy immune system, a well-rounded diet made especially for dogs is optimal.
It’s probably fair to say that treats can be part of a dog’s overall healthy diet. The trick is to limit the amount of sugar treats given to a dog. If you’re worried about the ingredients in commercial dog treats, consider making your own.
Making your own dog treats is a good way to control the food your dog consumes with the least amount of sugar.
Homemade Dog Treats
Dog owners love to treat their dogs for a variety of reasons. It’s part of the bonding process and it makes us feel good. Of course, our dogs love it too!
Molasses Peanut Rewards Dog Treats (recipe by The Daycare Lady published on food.com)
- 4 tablespoons molasses
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup water
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350
- Whisk the molasses, peanut butter, water, and vegetable oil
- Combine the oats and flour. Slowly add to the wet ingredients.
- Mix and drop tablespoon amount onto a baking sheet.
- Press down
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm
The Sweet Finish
Molasses comes in a variety of forms and can be used in dog food to provide a sugary treat. Of course, too much of a good thing can lead to weight gain and other health problems for our pets.
Black strap molasses has the least amount of sugar with the highest nutritional value. While it shouldn’t be fed on a regular basis to dogs, small amounts should be fine. A