A delicious staple across the globe, where would we be without bread? Well, we’d be living in a world with no sandwiches, nor smashed avo on toast, nor eggs and soldiers – and what a sad, sad world it’d be. But even though bread is such a tasty treat for us humans, does the same apply to our pooches? Do they love it as much as we do, and can dogs eat bread at all?
Let’s explore whether bread is a good option for dogs, or if it makes their digestive systems go a-rye.
Can dogs eat bread?
In short, yes – dogs can eat bread. In fact, in answer to our earlier question, dogs tend to quite like bread. And if given the choice, they’ll also likely want to devour a whole lot of it.
But even though they can and will eat it, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and buy them an entire loaf of sourdough. Dogs should only eat bread as an occasional snack. And it’s best if it’s plain white or wholemeal bread (toasted or untoasted), at that.
As long as they’re not allergic, a tiny piece of bread here and there likely won’t pose any issues to your pupper. But bread doesn’t offer dogs a whole lot in terms of nutrition. Fed in excess, it can also lead to weight gain.
Is bread good for dogs?
While bread does contain fibre (which is good for keeping your dog regular), there’s really not much else to it that benefits your pooch’s health. Bread is basically a filler, and your dog’s usual diet should meet all of their nutritional needs.
Bread is also very energy-dense, so your dog is effectively eating a high number of calories for not much nutritional gain. This is important to note if they’re already suffering weight issues.
Can dogs eat bread with spreads or flavourings?
We know it’s best to stick to plain white or wholemeal when feeding bread to your dog. But what if you want to mix it up and hand them a piece of toast with avo? Or a bit of your raisin bread? Can dogs eat bread that’s been spruced up a little?
This is where you need to be a little more careful. There are plenty of human foods that dogs can eat, but some bread additives are dangerous. If your dog ingests any of these, it can lead to a nasty stomach upset or even poisoning.
Here are some toxic ingredients to avoid:
- Onions, garlic, and chives
- Avocado (here’s the 411 on whether dogs can eat avocado)
- Sultanas, raisins, and currants (that means no fruit bread!)
- Macadamia nuts (note that while other nuts may be safe, too many of them isn’t good for your dog – their high fat content can lead to weight gain and other health issues)
- Chocolate chips (here’s why chocolate is toxic to dogs)
If your dog accidentally eats any of these, even in small amounts, keep a close eye on them and watch for signs of poisoning. If you notice vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, tremors, or any other concerning symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
And while the below aren’t necessarily toxic, it’s still best that your doggo abstains from them:
- Sugar. It’s a surprisingly common ingredient in bread and shouldn’t really be consumed by dogs
- Butter. A small amount of butter probably won’t harm your dog, but it contains a lot of saturated fat – which isn’t great for anyone
- Jam. It’s simply too high in sugar
Things to note when feeding bread to your dog
If you reckon a bready snack here and there is fine for your dog, that’s totally fine. Just make sure to keep these tips handy, and pass them on to your trusted Dog Sitter so they can stay mindful when feeding bread to your dog, too!
Always check the ingredients list
This one bears repeating, because if your pooch ingests a toxic ingredient, the results can be pretty horrific. Even if you think the bread you’re buying is perfectly plain, a scan of the ingredients list will ensure you don’t accidentally feed your dog something dangerous or bad for their health.
Use the 10 percent rule
Like any treat, dogs should only eat bread in moderation. A good rule of thumb is to ensure treats make up 10 percent or less of your doggo’s diet. The rest should consist of healthy, balanced meals that cover all of your dog’s nutritional needs.
Never feed them unbaked dough
If you’re a keen baker, this is definitely one to take note of. Bread and toast are perfectly safe for your dog, but bread dough isn’t.
This is because their tummies are basically the ideal environment for dough to continue rising. After a dog has eaten the dough, the yeast keeps developing. Not only does this bloat their stomach, but it also releases ethanol into their bloodstream – at very toxic levels. This can lead to something called ethanol toxicosis, which is as bad as it sounds.
Here are some of the signs of ethanol toxicosis to look out for. If your dog displays any of these, get them to the vet straight away.
- Staggering, or abnormal movements
It’s best avoided if your dog has health issues
Because bread is effectively a filler, dogs with weight problems or health issues like diabetes should steer clear of it. They likely won’t get much nutritional value from it, and will instead be prone to further weight gain.
Like any food you give your dog, your vet can advise whether bread is a suitable addition to their diet. Even if your dog doesn’t suffer from weight issues or other health problems, a quick consult with your vet is always a good idea.
They could have an allergy
While rare, food allergies do exist among dogs. Your doggo may very well be allergic to wheat, which is obviously the primary ingredient in bread. If you plan to feed bread to your dog, give them a small amount first to check for a reaction. If they can’t tolerate wheat, you may notice the following:
- Red or itchy skin
- Shaking their head
- Constantly licking their paws
If these pop up, you’re best removing wheat from your dog’s diet and chatting to your vet about a safe and healthy food plan.