If you’ve ever met someone who has been on a low-carb diet, you know how irritable they get. Don’t ever eat bread in front of a “low carber” or you’ll likely see their wrath as they go through withdrawals. Bread in any form is incredibly delicious, and you’ve definitely been guilty of giving your dog pieces of bread, bagels, or muffins.
Can Dogs Eat Bread?
Your dog is primarily a carnivore, so they don’t need quite as many carbohydrates as people do. That doesn’t mean bread isn’t safe for them, it just means they need it in moderation. No matter how delicious it is, bread just isn’t all that nutritious. Even whole grain breads don’t offer much more than fiber and a few minerals. Fiber is good for the digestive system, regulating the digestive process and making bowel movements more regular. Some vets recommend giving your gassy, bloated dog small pieces of wheat bread to move things along.
Carbs are great for helping the body produce quick bursts of energy. Complex carbs, which are found in whole grain foods, are designed to give the body energy over a period of time. Simple carbs, like those found in white breads, give the body quick bursts of energy that are followed by a rapid crash afterwards. Too many carbs, especially simple carbs, create weight gain. Sedentary or older dogs shouldn’t eat too many carbs to avoid significant weight gain.
The Dangers of Different Types of Bread to Dogs
You can pretty much buy or make bread with any kind of ingredient you want. Sweet to savory, bread comes in a myriad of recipes. Plain bread is okay, but when you start getting into different kinds of baked goods, you should start practicing caution.
Muffins are loaded with sugar, an ingredient that will definitely put extra pounds on your pup. Chocolate muffins are to be avoided at all costs. Baking chocolate is actually more toxic than milk chocolate, so the consumption of a chocolate muffin definitely warrants a visit to your veterinarian. Skip the “healthy” or “low calorie” muffins; those are filled with artificial sweeteners that can be deadly to dogs, especially xylitol.
Definitely avoid bagels or breads that are covered in cheese or flavored in other ways. Garlic and onion powders are popular for flavoring prepared foods. You’re aware that garlic and onions are very dangerous to dogs, but you might not be aware that garlic and onion in powdered form are more toxic than their whole, fresh forms. If you can’t read the label, then you should avoid letting your dog have it.
Alternative Fiber Choices for Dogs
When you have concerns about how much fiber your dog is getting, most people will tell you to give your dog bread. Bread is a viable choice, but there are other options that are better for your dog, especially if there’s a preexisting weight condition. For constipation, it’s possible that your dog isn’t getting enough fiber. Instead of giving them bread, you have a few other options. Pumpkin is packed with fiber and it’s a more natural choice. Fiber-packed vegetables like green beans are also a low-calorie choice.
Before you assume your dog needs fiber, you should consult with your veterinarian. Sometimes there are other reasons why your dog is constipated, has diarrhea, or seems hungry all the time. Your vet will give you an idea of what’s appropriate for your dog’s health. Bread as an occasional treat is more than okay as long as you aren’t making it a major part of their diet.