Bread is a staple in most households, but can your dog have it too?
The answer is yes, dogs can have a little bread … but with several cautions. For example, one big problem with giving your dog bread is the amount of unnecessary carbohydrates. Dogs don’t need starchy foods, and we’ll talk about that in more detail below.
Can Dogs Eat Bread Safely?
Yes, dogs can eat small amounts of bread safely. But not all types of bread are safe for dogs, and dogs should only eat bread in small amounts, as a treat..
Some bread contains ingredients that can be harmful to your dog. It's important to check to make sure there are no harmful ingredients. Many store-bought breads offer few nutrients, but contain unhealthy chemical additives or synthetic vitamins and minerals.
Some harmful ingredients may be more obvious. For example, cinnamon raisin bread is popular for humans … but raisins are toxic to dogs. Even a few raisins can cause problems, so you should never share raisin bread with your dog.
What Kind Of Bread Can Dogs Eat?
If you give your dog bread, give plain bread, without any added ingredients. White or whole grain breads, as well as crusty white breads like French or Italian are okay, and sourdough breads in small amounts are also safe in small amounts as a treat.
Avoid bread with macadamia nuts, poppy seeds or onions, which are toxic to dogs. Other seeds or nuts are unlikely to cause a serious problem, but they increase the risk of digestive upset or an allergic reaction, so it’s best to avoid them and keep it simple, with plain bread.
This also means you shouldn’t give your dog bread with nut butters or jams and jellies. Some nut butters are safe in small amounts, but most peanut butter is bad for dogs. Some peanut butter even contains xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can be deadly for dogs. And your dog doesn’t get any benefit from sugary spreads like jam or jelly.
The Dangers Of Uncooked Bread Dough
Raw bread dough can kill your dog. So if you make your own bread and leave raw bread dough to prove on the counter, be extremely careful that your dog can’t get to it.
Your dog’s warm, moist stomach is an ideal environment to ferment bread dough, and that can cause dangerous bread dough toxicosis. There are two ways this can harm your dog
- The fermentation creates ethanol, an alcohol that can get into your dog’s blood stream and make him “drunk.”
- As the dough expands, it can cause blockage or bloat (gastric dilatation & volvulus).
If your dog eats raw bread dough, watch for symptoms, and rush him to the vet if you see any of these signs …
Signs of inebriation or drunkenness …
- Ataxia (staggering)
- Inability to get up
Signs of blockage …
- Loss of appetite
- Acting depressed
- Abdominal pain
Signs of bloat …
- Panting, whining or pacing
- Head hanging, stiff movement
- Shaking or shivering
- Burping, drooling
- Trying (unsuccessfully) to vomit
- Bloated abdomen, abdominal discomfort or pain
- Collapse/loss of consciousness
Death from bread dough toxicosis is usually due to the effects of alcohol, rather than blockage or bloat … but these are all very dangerous conditions that need emergency treatment.
Should Dogs Eat Bread?
So, dogs can eat some bread in moderation … but should they?
The answer is … no, bread isn’t ideal for your dog. Most bread is high in carbohydrates, which dogs don’t need at all. Any carbs in your dog’s diet should come from non-starchy vegetables or fruit that offer some nutritional benefits.
So even though your dog can eat bread, the nutritional value is low compared to other snacks you could give him.
Bread is also high in calories, and high on the glycemic index. Whiter breads offer less fiber and nutrition … and more harmful sugar. So for dogs who need to lose weight, or dogs with diabetes, bread is not a suitable food.
Is Bread Good For Dogs?
Bread doesn’t have much nutritional benefit for your dog.
Some breads contain a good amount of fiber, and dogs can benefit from fiber in the diet. But there are much better ways to give your dog fiber than bread ,,, like non starchy veggies.
As a quick snack, bread might be a fast source of energy for dogs who are very active or who need an extra boost during training or exercise. But higher protein treats are a better option, so if you use bread, be sure to balance it with high-quality proteins and fats in your dog's overall diet.
RELATED: The best veggies for dogs …
How Much Bread Can Dogs Eat?
Keep bread to a minimum. While dogs can eat bread, it shouldn't be part of their regular diet. Bread is high in carbohydrates and can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.
If you decide to feed your dog bread, it's best to feed it as a rare treat or perhaps as a way to hide medication.
Does Bread Help Dog Diarrhea?
Bread has a reputation as a remedy for upset stomachs and some vets may even recommend it. But bread is not the best solution and it may even worsen some digestive issues.
If your dog has diarrhea, bread may help absorb excess water in the digestive tract and firm up the stool. Just remember this is a temporary solution, so if the diarrhea persists, you need to find the underlying cause.
If your dog is constipated, feeding him refined bread may actually make it worse. White breads are low in fiber that helps move food through the digestive system.
A better choice would be to give your dog whole foods that are higher in fiber, such as pumpkin.
RELATED: How to stop dog diarrhea ...
Bread For Dogs | Bottom Line
Dogs can eat bread as an occasional treat, but it shouldn't be part of their regular diet. If you do decide to share a slice of bread with your dog, be sure to check the ingredient list to avoid any harmful ingredients or chemical additives.
If you're looking for a training treat or even a snack, small pieces of cooked chicken or beef, or freeze dried or dehydrated organ meats are a much better choice than bread for most dogs.
RELATED: The best dog training treats …
Here are some other questions dog owners often have when they wonder “can dogs eat bread?”
Can Dogs Eat Wholemeal Bread?
Yes, dogs can eat wholemeal bread in moderation. It's a good source of fiber that may help with digestion.
Can Dogs Eat Seeded Bread?
Use caution with seeded bread for dogs, as some seeds (such as poppy seeds) can be toxic to dogs. Check the ingredients carefully and make sure there’s nothing harmful.
Can Dogs Eat Stale Bread?
Yes, dogs can eat stale bread as long as there is no mold present. But fresh bread is a better choice.
Can Dogs Eat White Bread?
White bread is safe for your dog in small amounts, but has minimal nutritional value ... and many white supermarket breads have artificial additives that could be harmful.