Can Dogs Eat Bread?
If you enjoy a delicious peanut butter sandwich or a grilled cheese on sourdough bread, you may notice your dog’s eagerness to take a bite. While dogs don’t typically need human foods, as they receive most of their required nutrients from a quality dog food formula, they can occasionally enjoy a treat.
Healthy treats include a slice of freshly baked bread, cheese, cooked meats, or fresh fruit and vegetables. Bread is an everyday staple in most households, from standard whole wheat bread and white bread to multigrain bread and artisan loaves containing dried fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Can Every Dog Eat Bread, and How Much?
Most dogs enjoy a slice of toast or bread as an occasional treat, though there are some reasons why your pet should avoid this food or specific versions of it. If your dog is diagnosed with food sensitivities, allergies, or a digestive condition, some types of bread may cause stomach upset or an allergic reaction.
If your dog quickly digests plain white bread but reacts to a multigrain bread or loaf with herbs and spices, there may be an underlying reaction to one or more ingredients. Like humans, some dogs have wheat allergies or intolerance to gluten, impacting a dog’s stomach and digestion.
The amount of bread you can feed your dog is based on their size, age, and breed. In most cases, it’s best to limit the serving to a small portion, roughly half or quarter slice, to determine if your pet can handle it without developing an upset stomach.
If your dog is a small or miniature breed, such as a Toy Poodle or Chihuahua, the portion of bread should be less than for a medium or large breed dog, such as a German Shepherd or an Australian Shepherd, or Golden Retriever. A small quantity is ideal for determining how much you can feed your pet and if they can digest bread without difficulty.
Since dog food formulas are designed to provide all the required nutrients for your pet, including high-quality protein, omega fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, bread shouldn’t become a meal replacement. It contains little nutritional value for your pet. Instead, a tiny morsel of a slice of bread is best served as a tasty reward or treat once in a while.
Which Bread Options Are Best for Your Dog?
When you feed bread to your dog, it’s crucial to choose a quality loaf that doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners or toxic ingredients that can be harmful to your pet. If you’re a new pet owner, plain bread with no added ingredients or flavors is the best option.
There are many varieties of bread to consider as an occasional treat, which is essential to ensure that you select the healthiest option for your pet.
Organic, Natural Bread
Freshly baked bread from a local bakery is an excellent option for your pet since most organic bread contains natural ingredients without artificial flavors or additives.
Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Options
Natural food stores may offer specialized bread products that are gluten-free, wheat-free, or high in dietary fiber, suitable for your pet. You may also find some of these options in local supermarkets or bakeries.
Bread With Little or No Sugar
Without added chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, or sweeteners, plain bread is ideal because sugar can be harmful to dogs. Sweetened bread and baked treats can impact your dog’s health, especially if they have high blood sugar, heart disease, or require weight control.
For this reason, it’s best to avoid any baked treats with ingredients that include chocolate, honey, sugar, dried fruits, and nuts.
White Bread, Brown Bread, and Rye
If you’re uncertain which bread is the best option, plain white bread, brown bread, and rye are ideal choices for your dog. Unless your pet has an allergy to wheat or gluten, they will enjoy these types of bread without any adverse reactions.
Whole Grain Bread
Bread rich in grains offers a good dose of dietary fiber, supporting a healthy weight and active lifestyle in dogs.
Suitable Toppings for Bread
If your dog enjoys bread with extra flavor, it’s safe to add unsweetened peanut butter, a few banana slices, or butter. While treating your pet with some marmalade or fruit jelly may be tempting, these toppings are typically high in sugar or may contain artificial sweeteners or additives that are harmful to dogs and should be avoided.
It’s also essential to avoid toppings or spreads that contain nuts, chocolate, or caffeine, and skip avocado or fruit with stones or pits, as these can be toxic to your pet.
Bread to Avoid Feeding Your Dog
While most plain bread options are safe and healthy for your dog, specific types of bread should be avoided, as they can prove harmful and toxic to your pet. Sweetbread or loaves, such as fruit cake, banana bread, baked goods with nuts, or raisins, should be skipped altogether.
Raisins are dangerous for dogs as they can contribute to kidney failure. In contrast, banana bread often contains added sugar, nuts, and chocolate chips, considered toxic ingredients to your furry friend.
Savory baked goods, such as scones, croissants, and bread containing garlic, herbs, chives, or onions, can be harmful to dogs, negatively impacting their red blood cells and overall immune function.
Even if there is a trace amount of onion or garlic in a loaf, it’s best to avoid it altogether to prevent health problems in your pet. These include garlic bread, glazed buns or pastries, or fruit-filled loaves.
Your dog should only consume fresh bread to minimize the risk of mold, which is highly toxic. At the most, give your pet a slice of bread that’s been purchased or baked on the same day or is one day old.
If you freeze or refrigerate your bread, you can safely feed your pet from the loaf for up to two days. Moldy bread should be discarded immediately, as it is dangerous for humans and pets to consume.
When Is It Best to Stop Feeding Your Dog Bread?
Bread is a great snack or treat, though it should not take the place of a regular meal for your dog. If you feed your pet too much or react to even a tiny amount, you may notice indigestion, lack of appetite, bloating, and intense stomach pain.
When one or more of these symptoms occur, it’s best to stop entirely and choose an alternative to bread, such as sliced apples, a banana, or a spoonful of peanut butter.
If your pet struggles with maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and consulting with a veterinarian are best before choosing bread or a similar treat for your pet. It’s especially crucial to avoid feeding much bread, if at all, to puppies, as they require a nutrient-dense diet within the first twelve months.
The Risks of Bread Dough and Dogs
Raw bread dough contains yeast, which can quickly become toxic when your dog ingests it. When your pet consumes this dough, it can ferment in their stomach, increasing the toxic level and proving severe, even fatal, in some dogs.
While treating your dog to a taste of bread dough is tempting, especially if you bake from scratch, it’s best to keep any mixing bowls or dough, including residue from baking utensils, far from your pet to reduce the chances they may try a sample. If you bake bread at home, it’s crucial to ensure bread is baked thoroughly, so there is no uncooked bread dough in the center of the loaf.
When your pet consumes food with toxicity, there is a high risk of bloating, digestive problems, and expansion to their intestines, which results in severe pain and discomfort. Your dog may vomit or experience diarrhea, or in some cases, lead to seizures and coma.
If you notice any signs of discomfort or a reaction in your dog, it’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately for urgent assistance.
Dogs enjoy snacks, and bread can be one of the most accessible and pleasant treats to give your pet. While bread isn’t a significant source of nutrients, it’s a great way to reward your dog during training or when your pet plays outdoors.
Ideally, homemade bread with few natural ingredients is the best option and poses little or no risks while giving your pet a tasty treat.