Rainy and cold October nights are perfect for some Netflix and snacks. So, you’ve decided to nibble on some salty crackers, and you’ve even made different side dips.
A few seconds after you’ve opened the box with your fingers coated in salt – Milo comes running towards the bed, begging with his puppy eyes to get some. Can you share some with your pup? Can dogs eat crackers? Are crackers bad for dogs?
You know that crackers aren’t exactly the most healthy food choice since they are made with flour and other added ingredients that do not provide any nutritional value for humans, let alone dogs. Not to mention how salt and other seasonings like garlic can be dangerous for dogs, and they are often found in crackers. However, will a few plain crackers harm your dog?
As a responsible dog owner, you’ve decided to search the internet for some answers. Luckily you’ve stumbled upon our article, as we will be discussing whether dogs can eat crackers, what are the possible risks, and what to watch out for. Let’s get started!
Can Dogs Eat Crackers?
Yes, dogs can eat crackers. But that doesn’t mean they should, especially if we’re talking about seasoned crackers, with dips aside.
On the other hand, a few crackers now and then won’t harm your dog. However, if your dog eats a whole bunch of crackers or eats them daily, there could be some potential health risks. Usually, if a dog eats too many crackers, he could suffer from stomach pain and gastrointestinal issues, which in some cases may require a visit to a vet clinic.
A cracker is a baked, dry food typically made with flour and water. Crackers are usually small and round or square-shaped. Also, seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, onion, or other herbs are added to the dough before baking.
Crackers can be eaten independently, but the most popular way is to eat them with some kind of dips such as guacamole, salsa, cheese, peanut butter, jam, or meat and cheese slices.
Let us look at the nutritional value per one serving (5 crackers, 16 grams):
|Total fat||4,1 grams|
Most of the fats in crackers are saturated, which can cause a problem for your dog. Too many unhealthy fats in a dog diet can lead to inflammation of the pancreas, also called pancreatitis.
However, the more alarming thing is the level of salt in crackers. Even low sodium crackers can cause a problem. Dogs already get their sodium, protein, and fat content from their regular dog food. Too much sodium can cause your canine to drink an excessive amount of water, which can then lead to a life-threatening condition called bloat.
Can Dogs Eat Unsalted Crackers?
Unsalted crackers or low sodium crackers are also not recommended for your dog. That’s because these crackers are made out of flour that has no nutritional value for dogs. This kind of snack will only raise your dog’s weight and lead to obesity or other health problems.
Can Dogs Eat Graham Or Sweet Crackers?
Graham crackers won’t offer any nutritional benefit for your dog. Besides, they contain a few grams of sugar and carbs, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and dental problems. However, 1-2 graham crackers once in a while won’t harm your dog’s health; just don’t let it turn into a habit.
How Many Crackers Can My Dog Eat?
Giving your dog cracker on rare occasions is fine, but it is bad when it turns into a habit. In general, dogs are omnivores and have to eat both meat and plant-based foods. Dogs will get all of the necessary nutrition from high-quality dog food, as well as some essential vitamins and minerals. Treats need to represent only 10% of their balanced diet. Anything above that can cause health problems and lead to serious health conditions.
Dogs are not meant to process human foods; too many crackers can cause gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Ingredients in crackers are not nutritious for dogs in any way and are not safe for them to consume. Yet, a few crackers now and then won’t be toxic for your dog, but you should still keep in mind that crackers are human food.
If you really want to share some crackers with your pup, you can do so every once in a while, but in moderation.
|Larger breeds:||1-3 crackers, every once in a while|
|Medium to small dogs:||1-2 crackers, every once in a while|
|Aging dogs:||1 cracker, every once in a while|
Can Crackers Be Bad For Your Dog?
As we’ve already mentioned, crackers are full of unhealthy ingredients such as refined flour, excessive salt, fat, and preservatives. High sodium levels can lead to bloat, while too much fat content can lead to pancreatitis.
Another concern with crackers is that some will contain ingredients like garlic, cayenne paper, or onion, which can be very toxic for dogs and lead to anemia and possible death. Thus, saltine crackers and seasoned ones should be avoided at all costs when it comes to your dog.
Lastly, dips that usually go with the crackers and give them an extra kick of flavor should not be a part of your dog’s diet. Dips and sauces like guacamole, ranch, hummus, and some nut kinds of butter contain ingredients like garlic, onion, salt, sugar, and sweeteners like xylitol. Xylitol is very toxic for dogs, and even small doses can cause spikes in blood sugar, liver failure, seizures, and even death. It is a typical ingredient in nut butter like peanut or almond butter, so keep that in mind.
Are There Any Health Benefits Of Crackers For Dogs?
No, there are no health benefits of crackers for your dog. In most cases, crackers don’t contain any meaningful and healthy foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, or fruits. They are usually made with processed starch and unhealthy fats that only raise cholesterol levels. Not to mention the ones that contain added sugar, corn, and fructose syrup. These are all unhealthy ingredients not only for dogs but for humans too.
If you’re going to treat your pup with one or two low sodium crackers every once in a while, that’s not a problem. However, if you notice that your four-legged friend is really into crackers, you should perhaps consider switching to dog crackers. These could be quite healthy and provide some nutritional value.
In conclusion, you shouldn’t share crackers with your four-legged friend. Yes, occasional cracker treats won’t harm them, but it won’t provide any health benefits. That’s because crackers usually contain a lot of salt, additional ingredients (seasonings, toppings), and empty calories that won’t benefit your dog in any way.
If you still wish to share a few crackers with your dog, make sure you keep the serving size as small as possible and don’t make it an everyday snack. In addition, avoid crackers that contain garlic, onion, salt, and sugar.
Also, avoid giving your dog crackers with high-calorie and high-fat dips. There are many healthy but natural foods that you can give your dog as a treat, such as apples, carrots, and pineapples.
Learn More: What Can Dogs Eat? A Comprehensive List Of Dog-safe Foods