Is Vegetable Glycerin Safe for Dogs?
When looking for a pet supplement in liquid form, you will often find it is based in vegetable glycerin. The majority of liquid pet supplements as well as many treats and food contain this ingredient. So you may have wondered about the safety of vegetable glycerin based tinctures for dogs and pets. Let’s dive into this supplement base and understand what to look for when choosing your pet’s next liquid supplement (or treat).
What is Glycerin?
Glycerin is a type of sugar alcohol. When used in combination with herbs or medicine, the product is called a glycerite. Glycerin can be derived from many sources, including animal fats, petroleum by-products, or vegetables. Most people think of soap when they think of glycerin, and that’s because it originally was just considered a byproduct of soap making.
It is generally a colorless and odorless liquid with a sweet taste that makes it quite palatable for ingestion and can mask the taste of less desirable tasting supplements. You can find glycerin in almost anything, from foods, drugs/supplements, and even cosmetics. Even though it is very commonly included in many products, its quality and purity can be questionable, especially in supplements. For this reason, it’s important to know your company’s sourcing and to make sure you know how to decipher what products are safe and high quality vs. low-quality, unsafe products.
What is Vegetable Glycerin?
Vegetable glycerin is glycerin made from plant oils, such as coconut, soybean or palm oils. It is widely used in the food industry and is the most commonly used form of glycerin in the pet supplement industry.
Is Vegetable Glycerin Safe for Dogs and Pets?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vegetable glycerin is safe and well-tolerated by pets. Since it is a sugar alcohol, dogs don’t absorb or use glycerin for calories or fuel. This makes it ideal for pets with health concerns, especially with diabetes, since it does not affect blood sugar or add calories to the diet. In addition to vegetable glycerin being safe for diabetic dogs, it is also easier on the liver in comparison to alcohol-based tinctures, making it suitable for just about any pet.
What are the Benefits of Vegetable Glycerin for Dogs?
Vegetable glycerin helps prevent microbial contamination in liquid supplements since it has antimicrobial properties. This is helpful when pets’ mouths may contaminate a dropper used to administer supplements. It’s also commonly used in treats like jerky for this same reason, as well as keeping the treats more moist and chewy compared to without glycerin being added. Glycerin (regardless of type) is a humectant, meaning it holds moisture, so it’s very beneficial for skin health. It is even used in artificial tear drops for this reason. It has been studied in certain forms and shown to benefit cardiovascular health as well.
Side Effects of Vegetable Glycerin for Dogs
In very large amounts, vegetable glycerin can cause some gastric discomfort, like cramping, gas, and diarrhea. This would only occur if a pet ingested an inappropriately large amount of vegetable glycerin, and would not occur if given a proper supplement dosage.
How to Choose a Pet Supplement with Vegetable Glycerin
Since vegetable glycerin can be sourced differently, it’s important to look for brands that use organic plant sources, since your pet will be ingesting these products. Many companies will use cheap sources that are byproducts of biodiesel production or are sourced from pesticide-laden crops like corn. Other low-quality sources include soybean or palm oil, or worse: soap.
Make sure you do your homework when choosing a tincture. A good company will be transparent with you and tell you the source of their glycerin. If they do not, then steer clear. One of the best sources of vegetable glycerin is organic coconut glycerin. Organic coconut glycerin will yield every benefit of glycerin, while being completely safe and pure for your pet to consume on a daily basis. This is the type of glycerin used in all of the MycoDog mushroom extract tinctures, to ensure the purest and highest quality product possible.
The use of vegetable glycerin in pet products is quite common due to its palatability, safety, and preservative properties. Finding a high-quality, well-sourced glycerin-based supplement can require some effort, but there are many companies who thoughtfully source and manufacture their supplements for your pet properly. Mycodog mushroom extracts tinctures use organic coconut glycerin in combination with triple-extracted, wild-harvested mushrooms and adaptogenic herbs; setting an example for how the best pet supplements should be formulated.