Is it healthy to feed a dog bread?

Many people share bread with their dogs as a treat. You might have fed your dog a bite or two of your sandwich while you were finishing lunch, or maybe peeled the crust off your toast to give them a morning snack. Bread is a staple of the American diet and one of the most popular foods worldwide, but is it safe for your dog to eat bread?

Is it safe to feed my dog bread?

According to the American Kennel Club, the answer is yes, but only as long as you make sure the bread is dog-friendly. If your dog has a balanced, nutritious diet, it’s safe to let them snack on white or wheat bread occasionally. Watch out for any signs of an allergic reaction or an upset stomach afterward, as dogs can have food intolerances just like humans can.

Unless your dog has allergies or a sensitive stomach, plain bread isn’t harmful to dogs. It’s also not remotely nutritious, either. Bread consists of carbohydrates, which break down into glucose in the body, which can lead to weight gain if it isn’t eaten in moderation.

When shouldn’t I feed bread to dogs?

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Some dogs are allergic to wheat, so you should never feed bread to a dog with a known wheat allergy. But some breads contain ingredients that are potentially toxic to dogs, like cinnamon raisin bread. Even just a couple of raisins can cause kidney issues — and potentially kidney failure — in dogs, so you should never give your dog any foods containing raisins or grapes.

Another ingredient to keep an eye out for? The artificial sweetener xylitol, which is commonly used in nut butters, sweets, and baked goods. Many artificial sweeteners, such as stevia, aspartame, and monk fruit are generally well-tolerated by dogs, but xylitol can be toxic even in small amounts.

Breads containing fatty nuts should also be avoided, as the high fat content may cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, and they can even cause pancreatitis if your dog eats nuts in large quantities.

Keep an eye out for onions — including scallions and shallots — as well as garlic. While the pungent aromas might have your dog begging for a bite, both are toxic to dogs and should never be given to your pooch.

Can I give my dog bread if they need a bland diet?

If your dog has an upset stomach, the Merck Veterinary Manual advises feeding them a bland diet. That doesn’t necessarily mean bread is your best bet. Plain, white rice and boiled chicken or turkey are easily digestible, so they should help your pooch feel better a little sooner.

If your dog has tolerated bread well in the past, a few little bites won’t necessarily hurt an upset stomach. But because of bread’s high glycemic index, it’s not all that helpful, either. Stick to what your veterinarian recommends for your dog’s tummy troubles, but don’t worry too much if you’ve already given them a little bread.

Can I feed my dog bread dough?

This one is a big no-no. If you’re into baking, you have plenty of experience waiting patiently for your bread to rise. The problem with feeding a dog bread dough is that the bread will rise in their stomach, which can have serious ramifications.

Consuming bread dough can cause dangerous levels of ethanol to flood your dog’s bloodstream, which may lead to alcohol toxicosis. You should always contact your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has eaten bread dough, especially if you notice symptoms like seizures, muscle weakness, or lethargy.

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Bread is generally safe for dogs to eat, but just like it is for humans, it’s nothing but filler. Bread has very little nutritional value and a lot of sugar, so if your dog is overweight, it’s not the best treat you can give them. Make sure your dog eats a nutrient-dense, balanced diet that’s high in protein and fiber instead.

If you’ve never given your dog bread before, keep an eye on them the first time to make sure they don’t have any tummy troubles after. Bread can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea in some dogs, especially if they have a sensitive stomach. But if your dog tolerates bread well, a little piece every now and then won’t hurt them.

If you’d like to learn more about your dog, check out our guide to find out what to do if your dog has smelly ears.

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