Being a bit overly obsessed with food is a doggie thing; we all know that, right? However, it seems like they are always more interested in munching on human snacks than getting a taste of their food. They want it so much that they even tend to create a puddle of drool while patiently waiting to have a bite.
Anyhow all dog parents know that some ordinary people’s food is bad for the pooches tummy; some may even be toxic. So it is always the best idea to inform yourself if a certain type of food is risky for your furry best friend.
One of the most popular snacks among humans is pretzels. No matter if we talk about small, hard, and salty kind or larger, soft-baked and flavored kind, the question is, can dogs eat pretzels? In today’s article, I will try to answer this question in as many details as I can.
Can Dogs Eat Pretzels?
The only right answer is not really. The problem is not in the pretzels on their own; the problem is in salt, sodium, and flavorings that most of the pretzels contain no matter if they are homemade or store-bought.
Whether it’s a soft-baked or hard pretzel, your dog should only eat small amounts of unsalted, unflavored pretzel occasionally. But only if you are 100% sure there are no flavors and salt in them.
Okay, so let’s not over-dramatize it; even if your dog takes a bite or two of salted pretzel, he will be fine since that amount of salt is not worrisome. The problem will occur if you do not know how to resist your pooch’s puppy eyes, and in those cases, it is effortless to overdo it.
Remember, dogs are very sensitive to sodium!
For example, a 33-pound dog should never consume more than 100mg of sodium per day, and just 1oz serving of hard pretzels has 359mg of sodium! That is three times more than the recommended daily limit. If your dog consumes more sodium than it should, it will lead to salt poisoning, and in most cases, that ends up as a medical emergency.
Why Are Pretzels Not Recommended For Dogs?
So I already stated how pretzels aren’t necessarily bad for your dogs, but they are not recommended, nor are they the healthiest snack choice for your pooch. But why?
Pretzels are bread, but the problem is that they are sprinkled with little rock salt, and sometimes they are even heavily coated with it. Sometimes they are covered and sprinkled with ingredients like garlic, cinnamon, sugar, chocolate, etc.
As you may already know, all those ingredients are on the no-no list for your furry friend. So, before you let your doggo nibble on some pretzel, make sure to look at the list of ingredients and avoid toxic reactions at all costs.
Salt Poisoning In Dogs
In cases when dogs intake too much salt, they will drink more water to counteract the effects, which is great since this will prevent any damaging effects. You must be aware that there is a difference in how much salt is too much for different breeds.
If you have a smaller dog and he only took a nibble or two of your pretzel, he will for sure drink more than usual, since, with them, even a tiny amount of salt can be too much. If you have a large dog, a bite or two won’t even affect him in most cases.
Also, you need to know that when dogs ingest a lot of salt, and there is no water available for them to drink, their body will start releasing water to balance out the salt in the blood. This can be fatal to your doggo since the lack of water destroys brain cells and triggers neurological symptoms.
Signs Of Salt Poisoning In Dogs
If you notice any of these symptoms and you assume your dog overdosed on salt, take him to the vet immediately:
- Lack of energy
- No appetite
- Extreme thirst
- Fluid build-up
- Stomach ache
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle spasms
- Tongue swelling
- Respiratory distress
To diagnose the condition, the vet will need to perform complete blood and urine chemistry. In some cases, they will also need to do EKG, MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, and X-rays to estimate the damage that has been done to the brain, heart, and lungs.
After they are diagnosed, the dogs are given IV fluid therapy, oxygen, and electrolytes to prevent further dehydration. The salt level in blood must be lowered gradually to avoid brain swelling or heart attack.
Depending on how severe the poisoning is, it can take up to three days to bring the salt level in the blood to a normal range. In the case of severe poisoning, vets may give warm water enemas every few hours to make the process easier.
You will need to visit your vet after a month for a follow-up blood test to check sodium levels. If the levels are acceptable and there is no sign of any damage to the organs mentioned above, the prognosis is good, and your doggo is fully recovered.
Other Ingredients That Can Harm Your Dog
Let’s discuss what may be problematic in unsalted varieties of pretzels. Any type of flavored pretzel is a potential danger for your tail wager. Some may even contain toxic ingredients that can be even more harmful than salt. Those include:
- Garlic and onions
- Poppy seeds
- Buffalo sauce
When you think things can’t go worse, you need to remember that most pretzels have salt plus the harmful ingredient from this list. This is a fatal combination for your best friend, and never let them eat a pretzel that is flavored.
So How Many Pretzels Can A Dog Eat Per Day?
In case you are thinking about small, hard-baked pretzels that are easy to toss to your pooch as a treat, never give more than one per day! If you have a puppy or a small breed dog, make sure you provide only half of the pretzel since you tend to do this daily.
In case we are talking about soft-baked, large homemade pretzels, giving them to your dog regularly is not so wise considering the ingredients that are in it. Those pretzels are full of carbohydrates. Let’s not forget that they can build up in your dog’s system and harm your dog as much as the salt can.
Dogs do not process carbs very well! Usually, they convert it into fat, which leads to weight gain. Weight gain in the long term will cause more significant risks for their health and can even lead to diabetes. Make sure you always have a lot of freshwaters ready and available to your dog when you plan on feeding them with pretzels, especially if this is the first time they will eat them.
What To Do If Your Dog Ate A Pretzel Without Your Permission?
There are many possible situations in which your doggo can go mischievous and eat pretzels without your permission or knowledge. You should treat this situation as an emergency, especially if you know he has been munching on pretzels that are flavored with onions and garlic, raisins, or chocolate.
Contact your vet ASAP and ask for advice. Usually, you will be recommended to monitor your dog to see if any symptoms develop. In case he ate a significant amount of pretzels, take him for a check-up immediately, especially if your dog is very young or a member of a smaller dog breed.
Those extreme amounts of salt can cause stomach aches and throw up, dehydration, and disorientation, which is more than enough to trigger you to visit the vet and let him examine your dog. On the other hand, there is a possibility that nothing will happen to your dog but make sure you show him that he did a bad thing and do not let food-stealing grow into a habit.
So, in the end, my recommendation to all of you is to avoid feeding your pup with pretzels, both hard, salty ones, and homemade soft-baked kinds since human food is not beneficial to animals at all. If he/she accidentally eats some of the pretzels no need to worry since having a small amount of this food from time to time can’t harm them.
Just because some human food is okay for doggo’s to consume does not mean they should! Only a healthy dog is a happy dog. As owners, you are responsible for their health so do everything in your power to maintain them healthy and prolong their lives.
Human food is delicious, and sometimes it does not seem like you are doing a bad thing when sharing your snack with your peppering but remember this way, you only encourage him to ask for it next time as well.
Learn More: What Can Dogs Eat? A Comprehensive List Of Dog-safe Foods