Sago may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to providing nutrition for your dog. After all, isn’t sago a starch-rich plant mainly consumed by humans as a sugary dessert? Absolutely true, and I’m not necessarily saying you should feed it to your best friend. The fact is though, there’s no reason why you couldn’t feed your dog sago pearls if you wanted to. Yes, it’s mainly carbohydrate, but then so too are the vast majority of dry commercial dog foods. So while you could feed sago to your dog, don’t do it all the time. Occasionally though, without the sugar, your canine pal might actually enjoy sago for dogs. Mine do!

What is sago?

Sago is a highly-versatile, gluten-free, grain-free starch extracted from the core of the sago palm. It’s commonly used in baking and for making sugary desserts for humans. And while it admittedly has very little protein and few vitamins and minerals, it sustains a lot of people and is a primary source of carbs and a good source of energy in various parts of the world.

It also offers various other low-cost benefits. It contains antioxidants. Polyphenols like tannins and flavonoids, plant-based compounds that function as antioxidants in your dog’s body.

It also contains resistant starch, starch that ‘resists’ digestion in the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine. The colon. It doesn’t break down into glucose (sugar) like so many other carbohydrates.

This makes sago for dogs a good source of prebiotic fibre, which means it becomes food for good bacteria in the gut. So it improves gut health by feeding good bacteria which then goes on to crowd out bad bacteria.

It can also make a dog feel fuller for longer which makes it an excellent food choice for any dog needing to lose weight. It can also reduce cholesterol, reduce the likelihood of constipation and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Other sources of resistant starch include oods that contain resistant starch include: green bananas, plantains, beans, peas and lentils, oats and barley. All of which incidently, can also be included in your dog’s diet. So too is rice, but only if has been cooked and allowed to cool before being fed to your dog.

Health benefits of sago

As we’ve already established, sago contains antioxidants and resistant starch linked to many benefits including:

Protect against oxidative stress from free radicals
Reduce cholesterol
Protect against heart disease
Reduce the risk of cancer
Help with the management of diabetes
Provide energy
Help with weight management

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To sum up sago for dogs

In case you are still asking yourself the question, can my dog have sago, the answer is yes. Your dog most certainly can have sago. I am not by an means saying that sago is an outstandingly good source of nutrients for your dog. It isn’t. But it is a fact that your dog can eat sago and sago pearls in moderation.

Most of the negative connotations attached to sego for dogs come from the pet food industry and veterinarians trained by them. Many will say that sago is toxic to dogs, which is not. But the vast majority of commercial pet foods, certainly dry dog foods, are not healthy for dogs, so why should sago be singled out. It is a starch resistant carbohydrate, and most dry commercial dog foods are made of carbohydrate so is there really any difference?

Gerald Pepin

Gerald Pepin

Canine Nutritionist

Gerald Pepin is a qualified canine nutritionist, writer, speaker and homemade dog food advocate. Gerald believes that good nutrition can improve or cure most canine health problems and that the natural way is always the best way when it comes to healing man's best friend. A life-long lover of German Shepherds, Gerald and his wife The Dog Chef have two GSDs and live in rural Somerset.


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