Can dogs have tapioca? Is it safe to give it to them? Tapioca and tapioca pudding are some of the delicacies we enjoy and you may be wondering whether our four-legged friends can enjoy it as well. If that’s you, you are definitely in the right place.
In short, Tapioca is a cassava based starch and is safe for your dog to eat. It is not toxic at all. In fact, it is used as a filler in a lot of dog food products or can be used instead of grain based starches in your dog’s food. Some dog owners have actually stated that their dogs prefer tapioca over other grain starches.
What is Tapioca?
So, what is exactly is tapioca? Tapioca is a starch extract from the root of the cassava plant. It contains nor fiber and is just about 100% pure starch.
This is where the naysayers have a problem with it. 100% starch is the same as sugar and offers little nutritional benefits and some would argue that it’s actually harmful in the long term.
Its gluten free qualities though are the redeeming factor that holds it high over other alternatives. So, he big question; is it safe for my dog? Let’s dig a little deeper into that now, shall we.
Can Dogs Have Tapioca?
Tapioca is 100% percent safe for dogs. It is not in any way toxic and is used in a lot of dog food products as a starch base.
Some dogs and pets have negative reactions to grain based starches in their diet. There are cases where dog and cat owners have noticed that the hair on their pets began to fall off when they ate grain based starches.
This changed, however, once they switched over to tapioca as the starch base. Processed tapioca is usually sold as flour, flakes, or pearls.
The flour is usually used as a thickening agent for your dog’s food like soups and the flakes and pearls can be used for pudding among other things.
As a thickener, it is a great gluten free alternative to using flour. Not only is it great for dogs but it’s also excellent for human consumption. If you or a loved one is allergic to glutten, here is an alternative for you.
Can Dogs Eat Tapioca Pudding?
Tapioca pudding usually consists of the following:
- 2% or Whole Milk/Coconut Milk
- Vanilla Essence
Let’s look at each of these ingredients individually.
We’ve already established that tapioca is safe for your dog to eat and is already included in a lot of dog food and dog treats. It poses no known harm and is gluten free meaning that your dog will not react to it in the same way they may react to grain-based start.
Unless your dog is lactose intolerant, there is no danger in them drinking cow’s milk. It can be argued that there are some benefits and disadvantages to it.
It’s not a necessary part of a dog’s diet as the same nutritional benefits of milk are usually derived from other sources.
Dogs may react to it and this manifests trough gastro intestinal upset and other symptoms like diarrhoea. You want to give any dairy based products in moderation to your dogs.
Coconut milk is non toxic to your pooch and has a lot of nutritional benefits that it offers to your dog. The only down side is that some nutritional benefit is lost during the processing of coconut milk.
Other than that, it is good for your dog in moderation.
Sugar is something that you want to keep away from your dogs. Though it is not toxic to dogs, eating it over a prolonged period can lead to your dog developing diabetes. A good way is to substitute sugar with honey but stay away from artificial sweeteners especially xylitol. Xylitol is lethal to dogs and cats.
Eggs contain essential nutrients which are great for your dog. Coconut milk and eggs will give your pooch that nice shiny fur. Just like all other ingredients listed here though, they need to be taken in moderation.
Salt poses no harm to your dog as long as it is taken in moderation. It provides essential minerals which help in your dog’s normal bodily functions.
Vanilla extract contains alcohol which is dangerous to dogs. Dogs cannot naturally break down alcohol and when it is consumed in large amounts, it will poison or kill them.
It’s up for debate whether the amounts in a tapioca pudding are enough to pose any danger to your dog but it’s not worth the risk.
An alternative would be to use an alcohol free vegetable glycerine variant. Now, based on the above information, can dogs eat tapioca pudding? If you can substitute the sugar with honey and use an alcohol free vanilla extract, I don’t see why your dog can’t enjoy tapioca pudding.
Conclusion on can dogs eat tapioca
So, can dogs have tapioca? The answer to that is an absolute yes. There is no reason whatsoever that your dog can’t have tapioca. It’s a great gluten-free alternative to grain-based starches.
Your dog is most likely having it anyway as it is a part of a lot of dog food products. Tapioca pudding is also safe for dogs to consume as long as you give it to them in moderation and you substitute alcohol-based vanilla extract and replace it with alcohol-free vanilla extract.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.