Can Dogs Eat Bread?

dog-with-bread-on-face

Can Dogs Eat Bread?

All over the world, many people consume bread frequently, even daily, making it a staple of the human diet. You can easily incorporate bread or one of its counterparts into any meal of your choosing. Bread is also a convenient way to prepare a meal as it becomes the vessel for any sandwich you wish to create. It can be a relatively quick, convenient, and easy way to prepare a snack for yourself and others. If you have owned a dog, then at some point, you may have witnessed the inevitable puppy dog eyes. These puppy eyes and the accompanying drool seemingly appear whenever you eat a snack or meal in front of them.

While your pet stares longingly at your plate, begging for a tiny bite of food, you may have considered giving in to their plea. Then you may have wondered if certain foods are safe enough for them to eat. Unfortunately, the foods you eat can cause gastrointestinal irritation or can be highly toxic to your dog. It is a good idea to stay informed on what is safe and unsafe for your pet to consume without any adverse reactions. The following is a comprehensive guide that will review the safety concerns of your dog consuming bread and whether it is a healthy choice. In general, dogs can eat bread without complications, but that is highly dependent on the kind of bread, the amount that they consume, and whether they have a wheat allergy. bread

Is Bread Safe for Dogs?

The topic of consuming bread can be a sensitive subject for humans and dogs. Many people combat gluten allergies or intolerances daily, which involves avoiding bread altogether. In this case, they will sometimes choose bread alternatives to enjoy some culinary treats like sandwiches, french toast, or grilled cheese. Some people can consume a few types of bread but must monitor how much they tend to consume it. The same is true for dogs, where preference, dietary needs, and allergies play a significant role in the safety of bread consumption.

The overarching rule for dogs and bread consumption is that though it may be safe to consume, it is not recommended to give to your canine continuously. The only exception is in an emergency situation when ingesting bread can be medically beneficial for your dog.

Bread Is Not Designed for Dogsloaf of bread

One of the main reasons not to allow your dog to consume bread regularly is that a dog’s gastrointestinal tract is not designed to digest bread. It is also not recommended since bread offers no nutritional value to your dog’s diet. The sad truth is that bread is full of carbohydrates that are not readily broken down in a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Dogs lack the enzyme amylase, essential to breaking bread down during digestion. When your dog consumes too many carbohydrates, it will put a lot of pressure on the digestive system, which can cause many health issues later on.

A diet too high in carbohydrates can lead to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Your dog will do best on a complete and balanced diet. Your dog’s daily nutrition must consist of a diet that is not processed but is as fresh as possible. A good diet bears a close resemblance to the naturally evolved diet of their species. Ultimately, a dog’s body isn’t necessarily equipped to process bread efficiently. Many veterinarians state that if you must, for any reason, feed your canine companion bread, you do so in the best way possible. If you don’t want to sacrifice your dog’s bread consumption, the type of bread you feed them is very important. Here, veterinarian Laura Robinson talks about what bread to feed your dog and the importance of bread’s ingredients:

“While [bread] is not bad for dogs, it is typically not recommended unless there may be a medical benefit from it, as dogs are not meant to digest bread,” says Laura Robinson, DVM, Lead Veterinary Advisor to Pawp. “In general, it is safe if you are feeding plain white or wheat bread, but some ingredients are not recommended because they are either toxic or can make them sick.” – Laura Robinson, Veterinarian

Bread Types That Are Safe for Dogs

Luckily there are quite a few types of bread that are safe and not toxic for your canine friend to consume. It is a good idea to keep this list in mind if you ever need to know the types of bread acceptable for your pet. Some additives or additional components in relatively safe bread can render it unsafe for your dog. These items added to your regular white, whole wheat, or rye bread may be toxic to your dog and ultimately dangerous for them to eat. Any bread containing nuts, chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and xylitol should be avoided by your dog at all costs. These items are dangerous due to the toxicity these ingredients can cause in your dog. As mentioned previously, white bread, whole wheat bread, and rye bread are safe types of bread for your dog to ingest. Banana bread is another safe choice as long as it does not contain too much sugar or toxic ingredients such as chocolate chips, nuts, or xylitol. These types of bread on their own are safe in moderation, but you must also inspect the ingredients used in making the bread.dog with bread on face

Toxic Bread and Ingredients

The following are specific bread types and ingredients you’ll want to avoid feeding your dog

Bread Types Unsafe for Dogs To Eat

  1. Garlic bread: Garlic bread may be the perfect accompaniment to an excellent Italian meal for most human beings but could be potentially fatal to your canine companion. The garlic used in garlic bread is detrimental to dogs since it causes damage to your dogs’ red blood cells resulting in anemia.
  2. Sourdough bread: This is not generally a good choice for your dog because of the yeast it contains. The presence of yeast will cause the bread to expand in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract leading to blockages.
  3. Raisin Bread: This type of bread is too sugary for your dog to consume, along with the presence of raisins, which are highly toxic and can result in kidney failure.

Ingredients Unsafe for Dogs To Eat

  1. Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine which causes it to be poisonous to your dog since they cannot metabolize this cacao alkaloid effectively. 
  2. Garlic and Onions: Garlic and onions should be avoided no matter what since they both cause anemia. Anemia develops due to its damaging effects on your dog’s red blood cells. 
  3. Grapes and Raisins: Many studies have shown that grapes and raisins are not good for your dog since they are both toxic and may lead to kidney failure. 
  4. Xylitol is a highly popular artificial sweetener safe for human consumption but extremely toxic to your dog. 
  5. Nuts: Nuts are not necessarily toxic to dogs but are incredibly high in fats which can cause be detrimental to your dog’s health. A diet high in fats for your canine friend can lead to obesity and pancreatic problems. It is also best to avoid nuts since they are generally salted and cause water retention and other life-threatening complications.
  6. Macadamia Nuts: It is fascinating that many nuts can be toxic to dogs due to their high-fat content but none are more severe than the macadamia nut. Even the smallest amount of a macadamia nut can produce symptoms ranging from diarrhea and lethargy to fever and tremors.puppy on bread and flour

Raw Bread Dough is a No-No

One of your dog’s most dangerous food mistakes is consuming a relatively large amount of raw bread dough. Like with any of these ingredients that are toxic to dogs, a small amount dependent upon your dog’s size may not yield anything more than a few mild symptoms. However, it is essential that you must never regularly feed your dog uncooked or raw bread dough. This practice is unsafe due to the continued rise of the raw dough from its yeast content. Bread dough requires warm, moist, and drought-free conditions in which the yeast allows the dough to reach its optimal production. Unfortunately, your dog’s stomach produces an ideal environment for bread dough to rise and balloon. The rising dough will continue to expand inside your dog’s stomach, which will cause abdominal distention and, in time, bloat. 

Emergency Situation

It is essential to look for signs or symptoms that may present thirty minutes to two hours after your dog’s raw dough consumption. Symptoms include nonproductive vomiting, elevated heart rate, distended abdomen, weakness, and respiratory failure. These symptoms can be quite concerning since, unlike in humans, bloat can be potentially fatal if left untreated. In dogs, the increasing size of the stomach from bloat can cause your dog’s stomach to twist in on itself. Sadly, this puts pressure on the surrounding organs, restricting the blood flow to the rest of your dog’s body. This restriction, if left untreated, will also cause a build-up of toxins in your dog’s body since they have nowhere else to go. Subsequently, your dog’s body will go into shock and possibly shut down. In this situation, it is critical to contact your veterinary office immediately. Time is of the essence as you seek emergency assistance for your dog.dog eating from hand

Alcohol Toxicosis

Another fatal occurrence of the consumption of raw bread dough is alcohol toxicosis. As the uncooked bread dough rises inside the stomach, it releases a substance into your dog’s bloodstream. This substance is called ethanol or ethyl alcohol which is also highly toxic to your dog. It is similar to alcohol poisoning and is referred to as alcohol toxicosis in the medical field. There are a few symptoms to watch out for with alcohol toxicosis, including vomiting, low blood pressure, increased heart rate, or seizures. These symptoms should be treated as an emergency. They should be responded to immediately if you suspect your dog has consumed uncooked bread dough. You must contact your vet if your dog has consumed toxic foods and is behaving abnormally. It is also a good idea to have the number of the Animal Poison Control Center at hand. They are available if you have any questions or concerns about anything you think your dog may have ingested: (888) 426-4435.

How Much Bread Can Dogs Eat?

The amount of bread your dog should eat is relatively small compared to the amount of bread acceptable for humans. The proper amount is closest in size to a treat and nothing more. Many veterinarians recommend that if you give your dog some bread to eat for any reason, it be a small amount. They suggest that it should not exceed two to three bites a few times a month. It is easy to give your dog too much bread to eat, which will ultimately cause a sleuth of adverse reactions in your pet.

You can expect to witness diarrhea, vomiting, and intestinal blockages from overdoing the amount of bread your dog ingests. It is also important to note that the yeast in the bread production will cause it to expand inside your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. This expansion of the bread will inevitably lead to blockages in your pet’s stomach and intestines. Another reason to avoid your dog’s consumption of bread is that it can lead to additional weight gain. This weight gain varies depending on your dog’s size, diet, and activity level. Still, it could be a factor that affects their health. Typically a slice of bread can be about 100 calories which can be too much for a smaller-sized toy breed or a dog suffering from obesity.

Can Bread Help Your Dog’s Upset Stomach? 

One thing you have learned throughout your life is that if you are feeling unwell or even nauseous, certain routines may aid your recovery. Sometimes it may be challenging to eat while you are sick, or you may find that you cannot keep regular food in your stomach while you are nauseous. In this case, it is best to eat bland food such as crackers or bread to settle your upset stomach. Logically, you may look to this tried and true method when your canine companion is showing distress or signs of gastrointestinal upset. Unfortunately, this is not the answer for your dog’s recovery. If your dog starts experiencing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, it is best to contact your vet. It is not beneficial to give them any bread to soothe their gastrointestinal symptoms. Instead, you should contact your veterinary office immediately if such symptoms occur. After a quick examination to rule out any other disease or illness, your veterinarian will have the best solution moving forward. scared dog

How to Cure Your Dog’s Upset Stomach?

A veterinarian may recommend putting your dog on a bland diet to help them overcome gastrointestinal upset symptoms. A bland diet will include boiled lean meat such as turkey, hamburger, or chicken, as well as cooked starch like white rice or sweet potato. This particular diet is temporary and should only be used to assist your dog in dealing with an upset stomach. Long term, your dog’s diet should be more nutritionally balanced. A short-term bland or long-term nutritious diet for your dog should never include bread consumption. You should consult your veterinarian’s office if you require assistance discovering the best diet available for your dog. They are open to offering any recommendations.

Bread in a Medical Emergency

There is only one instance in which bread is utilized in a medical procedure in an emergency. Sometimes bread consumption is used if your dog has swallowed anything sharp that could cut your pup’s intestines. Your dog can quickly and accidentally eat many sharp objects. A few of these can include wood chips along with shards of bone from pork or beef. Using bread as a buffer is not a guaranteed practice, but it may sometimes yield the best non-invasive results. The bread will act as a buffer or pad and shield your dog’s intestines from the sharp object as it travels through the digestive system. A large amount of bread may wrap around the sharp object, which will protect your dog’s gastrointestinal tract as the object passes through its body. This procedure may be a painless process and an alternative to costly and invasive surgery.dog with bowl

Should You Feed Your Dog Bread?

Dogs have different needs than humans, and certain foods that are healthy for us don’t necessarily offer them any health benefits, bread being one of them. While a little bread may not be too harmful to your dog, it may be best to keep it out of your dog’s diet altogether. There are plenty of healthier options to feed your dog. The next time your dog begs for a piece of your sandwich, opt for a treat; their stomach will thank you. 

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