Pasta is a guaranteed comfort food. You make it light and loaded with veggies, or you can make it cheesy and drowning in a rich tomato cream sauce or a white cheese sauce. However you take your pasta, you’ll take it as long as it’s delicious. Before you give your dog a heaping serving of your favorite pasta dish, take a few things into consideration.
Is Pasta Safe for Dogs?
Pasta isn’t harmful to dogs as long as it’s fed in moderation. It’s definitely not healthy for dogs, but it won’t kill or hurt them in any way. Pasta, particularly white enriched pasta, is mostly flour and water with some eggs or oil added. None of these ingredients are harmful to your dog, but none of them are absolutely necessary for optimal health. As long as your dog doesn’t have any wheat or grain allergies, pasta won’t harm them. If you’re making the choice between white or whole grain pasta, whole grain noodles are a better choice than enriched pasta made with white flour.
Pasta has a few small health benefits in dogs. It’s a carbohydrate, so it provides glucose, which is essential for giving the brain and muscles the energy they need. Whole grain pasta is an easy way to get complex carbohydrates that slowly release energy so there isn’t a quick energy surge followed by an inevitable crash. They’re low in sodium and free from cholesterol while providing several essential nutrients like iron and B-vitamins. Whole wheat pasta provides up to 25 percent of the daily fiber requirement in a one cup serving to help regulate digestion and improve the consistency of the stool.
Whole wheat pasta is also considered a low Glycemic Index food, so it doesn’t cause the blood glucose level to rise quickly, making this a good carbohydrate option for diabetics. Being low glycemic doesn’t prevent weight gain, though, especially in overweight or diabetic dogs, so watch how much you’re giving your dog.
Pasta should be nothing more than a treat because it isn’t providing your dog with anything they aren’t already getting in their normal dog food.
The Dangers of Pasta Sauces for Dogs
If someone asked you to name the main ingredients of your favorite pasta recipe, your answer will include garlic. If you didn’t already know, garlic is incredibly toxic to dogs. Garlic attacks the red blood cells and causes them to rupture and create a potentially fatal condition called hemolytic anemia.
Almost all pasta sauces, including the jarred kind you purchase in the store, contain garlic in some form. Keep in mind that garlic powders are actually more potent than whole garlic, and garlic powder is snuck into a large amount of prepackaged foods. Onions have the same toxic effects, so it’s best if you just skip giving your dog pasta sauce of any kind and give them plain noodles.
Before you hand your dog a plate of spaghetti, you should remember that there’s no nutritional need for canines to eat pasta. It was awfully cute in a certain animated movie, but it’s not an ideal food. Your dog doesn’t need any additional carbohydrates aside from the ones found in their dog food.
Much like you, too many additional carbohydrates can lead to weight gain, especially if your dog is most sedentary or older. Spare your dog the extra pounds and only give them pasta as a snack or treat. Regularly making it part of their meal isn’t going to do them any good. Always consult with your veterinarian before you introduce a new food, especially if your dog has a preexisting medical condition.