With bread being one of the most common household foods, it is important to know whether it's safe for dogs to eat it! You've likely seen dogs chowing down on sandwiches or stolen buns from the picnic table, but can dogs eat bread? What are the risks of feeding bread to your dog?
Can Dogs Eat Bread?
The short answer- Yes! Plain bread with no added ingredient is not toxic to dogs. However, there are a few things you might want to be cautious of when giving bread to your dog. And if your dog has known wheat or gluten allergies, it's best to avoid wheat bread and offer them alternative options.
Like us people, a dog should avoid eating any stale or moldy bread as they too can suffer from the toxic effects of mold.
Is Bread Good For Dogs?
Bread contains no nutritional value for dogs, and it is packed with carbohydrates. When you give too much bread to your dog, it can cause them to gain unwanted weight.
In addition, due to its high glycemic index, bread can make a diabetic dog's blood sugar spike. Therefore, you should avoid feeding bread to diabetic dogs.
Dogs are carnivores, and they can live happily without bread. A high-quality dog food eaten daily may seem like a bland diet to us, but we shouldn't let our human foods get in the way of the nutrition a dog needs.
How Much Bread Can Dogs Eat?
Moderation is key when it comes to any filler food. A dog's diet should be proper and balanced. A balanced diet for dogs doesn't include bread, as it doesn't offer any nutritional benefits for dogs as it does for us.
However, every dog sneaks some tidbits from a human diet from time to time. It's important to keep it "from time to time" truly. A dog fed too much bread too frequently will start having issues with unnecessary weight gain and blood sugar deregulation. Eating bread needs to be an occasional treat.
Gluten In A Dog's Diet
If your dog has gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy, most bread is going to be unsafe for your dog to eat. If you don't know if your dog has wheat allergies, feed your dog a small amount of whole grain bread or wheat bread. Look for signs of an allergic reaction - upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting are the most common signs.
If your dog does have gluten intolerance, that doesn't mean that bread is entirely off the menu. There are many gluten-free bread options available now. However, you need to ensure that your gluten-free option uses rice or quinoa-based flour rather than nuts or seeds flour. Nuts and seeds can irritate a dog's stomach and cause other health issues.
Five Bread That Should Never Feed To Your Dog
Some popular bread should never be fed to your dog - not so much because of the bread itself, but because of the added ingredients. Some of the elements to avoid include chocolate, raisins, nuts (macadamia especially), seeds, xylitol, onions, and garlic.
Many breads found on store shelves also contain additives and xylitol, an artificial sweetener. And these ingredients should be avoided by pets and pet owners alike.
This bread is not only higher in sugar than other bread, but raisins are highly toxic to dogs and can lead to kidney failure in dogs.
Onion and Garlic Bread
Onions and garlic may damage a dog's red blood cells. This includes garlic powder, not just whole or minced garlic.
While bananas are just fine to eat, most banana bread recipes contain nuts or chocolate chips. Sometimes, both.
Nut and Seed Bread
It can be tempting to assume that bread with nuts and seeds will be good for dogs because they are healthy for humans. However, nuts cause stomach irritation and pancreatitis in dogs.
Macadamia nuts, in particular, are toxic to dogs.
As a dog parent, you already know chocolate is poisonous to dogs because of its theobromine content, which dogs cannot metabolize. Therefore, avoid anything bread that contains chocolate.
What Bread Can Dogs Eat?
With those dangers out of the way, let's look at what breads are safest to feed your furry friend when he gives you those puppy dog eyes.
Generally, plain white bread and whole wheat bread are safe for many dogs. Brown bread has a decent amount of dietary fiber, which helps with digestive regularity. That's about the only nutritional value bread can have for dogs, so opt for brown bread over plain bread when you can!
Try to pair a slice of bread with something more nutritious to help support your pet's health. Some bread crust or a small slice with peanut butter are good options. Toasting the bread can add a unique texture and create a firmer base for toppings like avocado and yogurt. You can also find recipes online for special "dog bread" that mimics bread in texture but provides more health benefits.
Can You Give Bread To Dogs With An Upset Stomach?
While it is common for a human to have a dry piece of toast to settle an upset stomach, this is not the case for dogs. If your dog has stomach upset or a dog suffers from bowel issues, do not give it bread or fiber-rich food. Instead, boil some chicken breast with rice. However, if your dog is feeling sick and not acting like herself, it's best to contact your veterinarian first.
Can Dogs Eat Bread Dough?
While cooked bread is typically safe for dogs to eat, bread dough is a different story. The American Kennel Club lists uncooked bread dough as one of the top foods to avoid feeding your dog. This is because yeast, an important ingredient in bread, makes the raw dough rise during baking.
When the bread is unbaked, the yeast is still active by feeding on sugars and bacteria to generate air. If a dog eats bread dough, the yeast in the dough could cause the stomach to become distended. However, this intense stomach ache isn't the most significant concern if your dog has eaten bread dough.
Yeast creates ethanol as it ferments, and it doesn't stop fermenting just because your dog consumes it. You could soon see toxic levels of ethanol in the dog's bloodstream. This alcohol toxicosis can result in a depressed central nervous system, general weakness and lethargy, seizures, excessive gas being passed, a drop in blood pressure, unusually bladder issues, and an unsteady and drunken gait. If left unchecked, a dog with ethanol toxicosis will slip into a coma. If your dog ingests rising dough, you need to bring them to the vet immediately.