Sweet graham crackers. That high-carb snack that we all love to eat. By itself, or by a bonfire with some marshmallows and chocolate. Can’t say no to some good old’ smores. Graham crackers come in various flavors, including cinnamon, honey, chocolate, and heck – even the plain ones are tasty as hell.
If you’re a graham cracker lover and a dog owner – there’s a great chance that your dog has already snacked some with you. Even though he was very likely okay afterward, you probably asked yourself – can dogs eat graham crackers?
Graham crackers are generally a bit healthier than cookies and other candies. They provide whole grains and even some fiber. On the other hand, they are still human snacks, filled with sugars, carbs, and lots of artificial flavors and additives. Dogs have different food necessities and, with that, special diets. So, unfortunately, a lot of human food isn’t right for our canine companions. The question is served – Is that the case with graham crackers?
Here we’re going to unwrap all the questions behind graham cracker consumption in dogs. Should you give him some, and if yes, how much? You’re going to find all the answers to your questions in this article. So grab some crackers and read along!
Can Dogs Eat Graham Crackers?
The short answer is – yes, kind of. But, there’s always a “but.” And with graham crackers, it’s a big one.
Graham Crackers Common Ingredients
Before we start analyzing graham cracker consumption in dogs more deeply, we should dissect the ingredients these crackers are made of and how they can affect our pooches.
The most common ingredients in store-bought graham crackers are:
- Graham flour
- Brown sugar
Flour is one of the few main ingredients in graham crackers. Flour contains gluten, and dogs have a problem digesting it. Besides digestive issues, gluten allergies are common in dogs. If, by any chance, you suspect your dog has a gluten allergy, contact your veterinarian and avoid gluten-containing products.
Furthermore, even though cinnamon is not toxic for dogs, just like gluten, cinnamon is a common spice allergy trigger. If there’s any chance your dog is allergic, a skip on the graham cracker is a must.
Other Cracker Varieties
Besides graham crackers, there is a variety of other crackers that humans consume often. The most common is the seasoned, dry one that we usually dip in different sauces.
Crackers are mostly made out of flour and water, with added seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, and some other herbs. Seasonings like garlic can be dangerous for canines.
Garlic and onions contain thiosulfate, which isn’t harmful to humans but is toxic for dogs. Even with no garlic, crackers aren’t the healthiest choice for humans, let alone dogs. Flour has no nutritional value, and overconsumption can only lead to obesity or other health issues.
Here’s the nutritional value for 100 grams of graham crackers:
Just like every store-bought product, ingredients and nutritional value depending on the manufacturer. Some are better than others, and that’s why you should always read labels carefully.
No wonder graham crackers are so tasty with all that sugar in them! Even though they’re not high in calories, graham crackers are very high in sugar relative to their serving size.
Sugar found in sweets, in general, is not suitable for dogs. Eating sugary foods can upset your dog’s stomach and even his mood. When consuming sugar, dogs go through highs and lows, hyperactivity, followed by depression.
In the long run, sugar can lead to obesity and even diabetes. Furthermore, just like in humans, it can cause cavities.
Which Type Of Graham Cracker Is Safe For Dogs?
Honey is all right for dogs to eat in small quantities. It consists of small amounts of vitamins and minerals, and of course, natural sugars. With that said, honey graham crackers are completely safe for your pup, just in moderation.
Cinnamon is a common ingredient in plain graham crackers, but completely cinnamon flavored ones are also a thing. Just as we said before, cinnamon is not toxic to our canine friends. Your dog will not suffer any poisonous effects by consuming it. Just watch out for cinnamon allergies.
What Type Of Graham Cracker To Avoid?
Chocolate is indeed toxic to dogs. It contains a chemical named theobromine, which can be fatal for our four-legged friends. Cocoa powder is the most harmful ingredient in chocolate.
Besides that, chocolate has caffeine, which is poisonous for dogs because it speeds the heart rate.
Don’t give anything with cocoa powder or chocolate to your dog, and that includes chocolate graham crackers. If you think that your dog ate anything containing chocolate, call your veterinarian.
How Much Is Too Much?
Graham crackers can negatively impact your dog’s health if he eats too much of it. On the flip side, a few graham crackers once in a while isn’t going to do any harm. But then again, how can you know how much is too much?
The tip is: read labels and follow your dog’s sugar intake. A one-time sugar excess won’t harm your pup if you don’t give him more in the next few days or weeks.
The problem lies in regular sugar intake. If you really want to award your pup some graham crackers, you can – but just very rarely.
|Larger breeds||1-2 graham crackers, once a month|
|Medium to small dogs||1 graham cracker, once a month|
|Aging dogs||half a graham cracker, once a month|
Most of the health risks come from the high sugar content in graham crackers.
Dogs get diabetes when they ingest more sugar than they can quickly get rid of through their digestive system. When a dog continually eats more sugar than he should, diabetes knocks on the door. Because of the high sugar content in graham crackers, this is a risk if you give him too much and very often.
Again, flour and sugar – what a perfect pair. Because of no nutritional value in flour, and with added lots of sugars, your dog can become overweight just from graham crackers. And there’s nothing cute about obesity. It only leads to more health issues.
Just like humans, dogs can get cavities. It’s just that in their case, it’s much rarer. But, with lots of sugar intake – they can happen. You can prevent dental issues with:
- Brushing your dog’s teeth
- Giving your pup chew toys and dental treats
- And the most important one – not giving your dog sugary foods.
As mentioned before, allergies are certainly something to look out for when giving any human food to your pup. Graham crackers consist of common allergy triggers like gluten, cinnamon, and some other spices, so read labels carefully.
Some common symptoms of allergies in canines are:
- Runny nose
- Red or watery eyes
- Itchy nose, throat, or roof of the mouth
What About Sugar-Free Graham Crackers?
If sugar is the biggest problem, why not skip sugar-free graham crackers? There’s plenty of them, and they’re just as delicious.
Well, hate to burst your bubble, but sugar-free graham crackers often contain a substance named xylitol. Xylitol is a natural, common sweetener used to replace sugar, and it could be poisonous for your dog. This substance is often found in sugar-free products, so watch out and skip on the “all-natural” sugar-free stuff with your dog. It’s even more dangerous than sugar.
Xylitol poisoning can occur 15 to 30 minutes after consumption, and it can be life-threatening for your dog if not treated on time. You can find xylitol in thousands of products, including gum, breath mints, and most sugar-free desserts. If you suspect that your four-legged friend ate a xylitol-containing product – call your vet immediately.
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include:
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of coordination
Potential Benefits – Are There Any?
Nutritionally – none. Generally, you’re going to make your puppy happy and maybe spoil him more, which certainly isn’t a benefit.
He’s going to be as equally happy when given dog treats, and you’re going to avoid all worries that come with graham cracker consumption.
Yes, one cracker once in a while isn’t going to do any harm. But the question is, how disciplined is your dog, and are you able to say no to him?
Many dog owners slip a snack or two when their dog is whining and begging. That snack can quickly turn into more snacks daily. That’s where the problems arise, even with the best of intentions.
Not only that, you risk your dog’s health. You teach your pup that with whining – he can get whatever he wants, which leads to behavior problems.
So there you have it. You know all the essential facts about graham cracker consumption in dogs and even a little more about graham crackers. This human guilty pleasure can be a real risk for our canine friends if not consumed in moderation.
At least now you know: That one graham cracker is undoubtedly not going to harm him, but after that one, don’t fall on the “puppy eye” trick! Enjoy your snacking, and give him some dog treats instead.