Can Dogs Eat Bread? Yes – But Should They?

Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Bread is a staple to the human diet, with most of us consuming it in some regard daily. Whether it’s toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, or a big slice of crusty bread to go alongside a stew or soup for dinner, it’s safe to say that as a species, we eat a lot of bread!

Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Is Bread Bad For Dogs?

 

Bread is safe to eat, but it won’t give your pup any particular benefits. It certainly isn’t “good” or healthy for a dog to eat regularly or in large quantities. Being a filler food, bread is high in carbohydrates but doesn’t offer much nutrition. It can make a dog feel full and cause them to skip eating their dinner, which isn’t ideal as they need to eat a complete, balanced diet to ensure they ingest all the essential nutrients they need to stay healthy. (And they certainly won’t be getting any vitamins or minerals from the bread unless it is fortified.)

Because bread is packed full of carbohydrates and sugar, it can contribute to weight gain and obesity if your dog is overfed. If your pooch is on a controlled diet and you want to give them a tasty treat, paw-haps offer them a stick of carrot instead of a slither of bread.

 

Can Bread Give Dogs Diarrhoea?

 

You may have heard people tell you that bread is good for dogs with upset stomachs. While this may sometimes be the case, LikeablePets recommends feeding a bland diet of rice and boiled chicken for dogs with upset stomachs, or better yet, calling your veterinarian for expert advice.

As with table scrap, bread adds calories to your dog’s diet. If your dog is overweight, talk to your veterinarian about moderating their diet and discuss a plan to keep them healthy, happy, and active. Bread packs a high glycemic punch and is high in calories, so feed your dog only very small pieces of bread at a time to avoid obesity-related diseases like diabetes.

Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Bread Contains Toxic Ingredients

 

Never feed your dog any bread that contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Obvious examples of bread to avoid are seeded loaves, chocolate brioches, cinnamon, and raisin bagels.

Many kinds of bread contain ingredients that are dangerous to dogs. Some of these are ones many owners already know are harmful, such as chocolate and raisins, while others are less well-known.

If your bread contains the following, do not feed it to your dog.

  • Chocolate
  • Raisins
  • Nuts (Macadamia nuts are especially toxic to dogs.)
  • Seeds
  • Xylitol (A common sweetener.)
  • Onions
  • Garlic

These ingredients are all toxic to dogs on varying levels and will almost certainly make your pet ill. Reactions to these ingredients range in severity too. Mild cases can cause stomach upset and diarrhoea, while more serious cases can lead to conditions such as acute pancreatitis and kidney failure.

If severe or left untreated, these illnesses are potentially fatal. That’s why it’s best to completely avoid these ingredients, never feed them to your dog, and never feed them any bread containing these toxic foodstuffs.

The Benefits Of Bread

Today, we eat pizza crust, bagels, croissants, tea bread, whole-grain bread, and refined white bread, to name a few. Their nutritional value depends on the ingredients, but for dogs, bread has no nutritional value (apart from the unbridled joy they feel when we share our food with them).

Even so, there are some benefits to offering your dog bread. Here’s a rundown on the benefits your dog may enjoy by eating a small bit of bread.

It soothes an upset stomach

Dogs with IBS or an upset stomach can have a small amount of white bread. The high starch content absorbs the gastric acids irritating their stomachs, giving these dogs relief from pain and discomfort. One-quarter of a standard slice is enough to relieve the symptoms, but you should ask your vet for guidance on portion size.

It pads indigestible foreign objects

Bread binds, or pads swallowed foreign objects like sharp bits of bone – or indigestible objects – enabling them to pass through the digestive tract. This is not true for all foreign objects or shards of bone, but bread can help your dog digest small pieces. Always check with your veterinarian for advice on using bread in this way.

It relieves constipation

The fiber in whole-wheat bread helps the digestive tract keep everything moving. It binds with water and adds bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass.

What You Need To Know About Bread And Dogs?

Vets don’t consider most bread toxic to dogs. The trouble for your pooch lies in the ingredients, toppings, and form in which it’s consumed.  

Dogs require high-protein diets. They’re facultative carnivores (some consider them omnivores), meaning they can digest plants and proteins as long as they are the principal ingredient in their daily diet. 

As dogs evolved from their ancestors, their digestive systems barely changed. Their bodies still require high protein, low fat and carbs, and very few grains. 

When excess carbs turn into sugar

When the ancestors of modern dogs consumed excess carbohydrates and fats, their bodies stored them for energy use when food wasn’t plentiful. In domestic dogs, those excess carbs get stored too. But since our dogs get regular meals, those carbs build up, causing weight gain.

Bread is a high-carbohydrate food. Its carbs turn into sugar (energy) in the body. If you feed your dog balanced dog food and healthy dog treats and give them enough exercise, there’s no need to feed them bread as a treat or as a regular part of your dog’s diet.

Wheat allergies and gluten 

Wheat bread contains gluten, which many dog parents try to avoid. Some dogs can have an allergic reaction to wheat, although vets consider wheat bread to be a healthier option for your dog. If your dog is allergic to wheat, you can offer them bread made with rice or coconut flour.

Too much bread can lead to weight gain

White bread can relieve stomach pain or bind to foreign objects. But eating too much can cause weight gain, leading to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and joint pain.

Bread and tooth decay

The sugars in bread can cause havoc with your dog’s teeth because they adhere to the teeth and gums. The sugars attract bacteria to the teeth, creating tooth decay. As the decay advances, it becomes periodontal disease. Veterinarians and studies have proven that most dogs have dental disease by age three. 

 

How Much Bread Can Dogs Eat?

 

While some of us may love snacking on slices of bread in one sitting, it’s a different story for our canine companions. It may even surprise you how much (or little) bread they can eat! Or, in this case, should eat.

Bread can also cause weight gain in your dog if fed often. Depending on the kind, a slice of bread is typically 100 calories. It’s best to keep your dog’s size in mind and portion accordingly.

Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Can Dogs Eat Brown Bread?

Yes, dogs can eat brown bread as long as there are no seeds or other potentially harmful ingredients. Brown bread is seen as the “healthier” choice of bread for people, and the same is true for pooches. Brown bread has higher amounts of fiber and fewer carbs. However, your dog should only be eating very small amounts of bread, regardless of if it is white or brown.

Some bread can harm your dog

While most bread is not harmful to your dog, some types of bread have harmful and toxic ingredients. Let’s look at those now.

Bread dough

Your dog’s stomach contains the perfect set-up for the yeast to activate. The dough will expand just as it would sitting out in your kitchen. This can lead to Bread Dough Toxicosis or bloat. 

Bread with garlic and onions

Garlic and onions are members of the allium plant family. They contain an organic compound called n-propyl disulfide, which causes oxidative damage to red blood cells and leads to hemolytic anemia. This dangerous illness requires emergency vet care right away to avoid kidney failure or death.

Banana bread

Bananas are healthy for your dog, but the sugars and fats we add to make banana bread tasty are not. Added sugars can lead to tooth decay, diabetes, and weight gain. If you only offer banana bread in tiny amounts, your dog will appreciate it.

Raisin bread

Grapes and raisins are very toxic to dogs. Studies on this fruit have not proven why they’re so toxic, but we know there’s no safe amount for your dog. Some dogs can eat a raisin or grape or two and be fine, while others can develop acute kidney failure after eating just one grape. For this reason, bread containing raisins is not healthy for your dog and may even harm them.

Nuts and bread

Bread containing peanuts or roasted cashews is fine for dogs, but dogs can’t eat every type of nut. Any bread containing black walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans, and almonds can cause acute pancreatitis, requiring immediate vet care.

Chocolate and bread

Your dog can not have chocolate. Chocolate has theobromine, which affects the central nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. A dog suffering the effects of theobromine needs emergency vet care as soon as possible.

Artificial sweeteners

Bread labeled sugar-free may include an artificial sweetener called xylitol. We also find xylitol in some peanut butter. This sweetener is extremely toxic to dogs. Even a tiny amount can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, or death. Any food product containing artificial sweeteners can threaten your dog’s health.

Recap: Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Yes, dogs can eat bread, provided it is a plain white or brown loaf. It doesn’t matter if the bread is as-is or toasted. Make sure it is kept plain. Please do not feed your dog a lot of bread, though, as it is carb-heavy and provides very little nutrition. Rather than feeding your dog bread to fill them up, please give them a complete and balanced meal.

Check out the 9 foods for dogs with diarrhea or upset

Dr Bryan Goodchild,” has spent his life working toward better health for pets and the people who love them. He is the founder of Likeablepets.com , which works to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.

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