Can Dogs Eat Bread? Is Bread Bad for a Dog

Bread is a delicious food that we eat every day. Although it gets a bad rap for all of the calories, sugars, and carbs it contains, there’s no doubt that bread can be a part of a healthy and well-balanced diet. As good as it is for us, is it safe to share bread with our dogs? Many dogs love sandwiches and slices of bread. The staple makes up a large part of human diets, and dogs tend to get their fair share of it as treats, but is it ever harmful for them?

It turns out that bread is perfectly safe for dogs to consume—in small amounts. Like many human foods that don’t supplement protein, dogs shouldn’t have a lot of bread and it’s not a natural aspect to their diet. Dogs are carnivorous in the wild and their meals should consist of mainly protein. As with any special or human food, you should only give bread in moderation as an occasional, special treat.

Before feeding your dog bread, you should consult with your veterinarian to make sure it’s safe for your pet specifically. Your vet will inform you of your dog’s medical history, and will be able to say for sure whether bread is safe for canine consumption.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Bread?

The short answer to whether it’s safe for dogs to eat bread is yes. They can safely eat the stuff in the same way as humans: in moderation. Just like us, it’s not good for dogs to take in too many carbs or sugar. Plain white and wheat bread is good for dogs to eat, provided they don’t have any allergies, and this type of bread general doesn’t cause any stomach upset.

Tossing your dog a piece of wheat toast as a treat now and then won’t hurt them at all, as long as they’re getting a complete and balanced diet, along with plenty of exercise. However, bread also won’t help their nutrition. Bread is essentially a filler food, and doesn’t contain any nutrients that shouldn’t already be steadily supplied by your dog’s specially made pet food. The carbs in bread especially can lead to obesity, if you’re not careful.  

The Risks of Feeding Bread to Dogs

If dogs consume a large amount of bread, or they eat it consistently over a long period of time, the answer to the question of whether it’s safe for them becomes more complicated. Bread itself is typically not toxic, but there can be exceptions. You should take care to understand all the risks of feeding bread to dogs, to make sure that your dog stays as happy and healthy as possible.

Risks of Feeding Dogs Bread Dough

There can be some particular dangers when it comes to bread dough. If you’ve ever made bread from scratch, then you understand that dough rises in a warm, moist environment. When it comes to dogs that are fed bread dough, their stomachs unfortunately offer optimum conditions for rising dough.

Some veterinary manuals list bread dough as a food hazard for dogs, because if a dog eats a large amount of bread dough, the yeast in the dough will continue to make the dough rise. This will end up distending your dog’s stomach, as it also releases toxic levels of ethanol into your dog’s bloodstream. The pressure can cause a lot of bloating in your pet, but the real and worrisome danger is from alcohol toxicosis.

If your dog is fed bread dough or you think they might have stolen some as you were making bread in your house, call your vet immediately. Watch for these symptoms of alcohol toxicosis:

  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Depressed central nervous system
  • Unsteady, drunken gait
  • Hypothermia
  • Weakness
  • Depression

If your dog receives treatment promptly, they will be fine. However, you should take care to watch your pet, and even if they eat only a small amount of bread dough, call your vet or take them in, just to make sure they’re safe.

Toxic Ingredients in Bread

Typically, plain white and wheat bread is not harmful for your pet unless they have an allergy to wheat. If you do feed them bread, take caution that plain slices are best, and not all breads are harmless given their ingredients; some breads to contain toxic ingredients that should never be fed to dogs.

The biggest hidden culprit that may be in your bread is xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is commonly found in chewing gum, peanut butter, and baked goods. This sweetener is extremely toxic to dogs. If you feed your dog bread, make sure to check the ingredients so you don’t accidentally cause harm to your pet.

Another big danger is raisins. Raisins and grapes are highly toxic to dogs, and many breads contain them. Even just a couple of raisins can cause a lot of problems, so raisin bread should be kept out of reach of dogs at all times and never fed to them, even as a small treat. Garlic is another hidden ingredient that makes bread very tasty for humans, but is actually toxic for our pets. Garlic can cause serious side effects such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. Watch out for any nuts and seeds as well.

Can Dogs Eat Bread Conclusion

As with any human food, you should only feed bread to your dog as an occasional treat. Bread will add unnecessary carbs and calories and are not an essential part of your pet’s diet. Don’t feed bread if your dog is overweight or obese, and always moderate their diet. Certain ingredients such as garlic, raisins, and xylitol are dangerous ingredients that you should always take care not to accidentally give your dog, so stick to plain bread in order to stay on the safe side.

Before you feed your dog any new human food, talk to your veterinarian about your planned modifications to your dog’s diet. Together, you can develop a plan to ensure your dog will stay healthy, happy, and active.

Can Dogs Eat Bread?
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