Typically, most dogs get all the nutrients they need to nourish their bodies from a well-balanced diet consisting solely of dog food. As such, most veterinarians have advised to keep table foods to humans and, of course, dog food to dogs with few exceptions. However, if you’re like most pet owners, you simply can’t resist the urge to share your food and from time to time you’ve tossed your puppy pal a little morsel. In most cases, sharing small bits of human food with your dog, depending on the type, is harmless. However, when it comes to bread, the lines between harm and harmless can be muddled. It is important to understand how the quantity, quality, and types of bread affect dogs and to what extent.
Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Bread?
Is it safe for dogs to eat bread? The short answer is yes. In general, bread in small amounts is not toxic to dogs. Bread is not particularly healthy for dogs but again, it is typically not harmful. That being said, there are several factors to consider including what types of bread, portion sizes, and each dog’s unique reaction to ingredients that may be present. Much like humans, dogs are all biologically slightly different and can have unique reactions to the ingredients in food. For example, some dogs have wheat or grain allergies, while others can process those without harm. Therefore, it is important to check with your veterinarian before serving any unusual table food to your dog. Provided that there are no allergies present, the types of bread that are typically safe for dogs to consume are plain white and wheat bread. If you are going to share a piece of bread with your pup, it is also best to make sure it is a brand containing a low amount of sugar. White or wheat bread served every once in a while, in small amounts, is safe and should be measured against a diet consisting of around 95% dog food.
What Types of Bread are Unsafe for Dogs?
The types of bread that should be avoided at all costs are those that contain raisins, nuts, seeds, and garlic. Raisins are highly toxic and can affect dogs even if the portion they ingest doesn’t have a raisin present. The same concept exists with bread containing garlic and nuts. If your dog ingests even a small amount of garlic, it can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, and collapse. This includes bread that contains garlic in powder form as well.
Nuts, more specifically macadamia nuts, have a high-fat content and if consumed in large quantities can lead to canine pancreatitis and stomach irritation. Despite the safety of nut butter such as peanut butter for dogs, a good rule of thumb is to avoid giving your dog any bread containing nuts. In addition to the additives in bread, the dough itself is hazardous to dogs. The yeast in dough causes it to rise and if consumed can cause intense bloating. The bloating and expansion of the canine intestine can even result in rupture of the stomach and intestinal tract. Furthermore, as the dough continues to rise, it results in the creation of toxic levels of ethanol that are released into the dog’s bloodstream. The symptoms associated with canine consumption of dough include vomiting, nausea, weakness, sudden behavior changes, gas, and even coma. If you suspect your dog has consumed dough, you should call a veterinarian immediately.
Generally, the same mantra that serves humans best works for dogs as well. That is, everything in moderation. If you would like to give your pup a small morsel of bread from time to time, it will most likely not harm him, given that he does not have any allergies to any of the ingredients in the bread. It is best to stick to plain white or wheat bread because those are most easy to digest and have the least amount of questionable ingredients. Bread containing nuts, seeds, garlic, onion, and raisins are hazardous to dogs and should always be avoided. Overall, your dog should be maintaining a diet consisting primarily of dog food and the occasional dog treat. If you are yearning to share something a little special with your dog that will keep him preoccupied for a while, you can always forego the bread and reach for a spoonful of peanut butter instead!