It’s natural to want to share food with your dog. You likely know about the bad reputation that chocolate has for being devastating to a dog’s health, but there’s not as much information out there on pretzels. So, as you settle in to watch a football game or have a picnic in the park, you might be wondering-can dogs eat pretzels?
In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know before you share your pretzel bag with Fido.
Are Pretzels Damaging to a Dog’s Health?
The short answer is that you can feed your dog a couple of pretzels without causing them major health issues. So, it’s not so much a question of whether you can feed your dog pretzels, rather than if you should feed it pretzels.
It may come as no surprise to you, but like for humans, pretzels aren’t nutritious for dogs. Furthermore, a dog’s digestive system functions differently than a human’s. For that reason, it’s best not to feed your furry love pretzels.
Salted and plain pretzels are non-toxic for dogs. However, if you feed your dog pretzels with flavoring or covered in chocolate, then you could find yourself missing halftime or leaving your picnic early to take your dog to the vet.
That said, if you absolutely feel compelled to give your dog a pretzel, then the best thing you can do is to remove as much of the salt as possible. I’ll cover the health implications of too much salt in a dog’s diet shortly so that you have a better grasp of salt’s negative impact.
The Risks of Feeding Your Dog Pretzels
Assuming that you’re not giving your dog pretzels with flavoring, which can have harmful ingredients, the most significant risk to feeding your dog a soft or hard pretzel is its salt content.
There are a variety of factors that determine how well a dog can handle salt intake. They include:
- Your dog’s size
- The breed of your dog
- History of eating salty foods
The high salt consumption that humans eat isn’t natural for dogs. Some dogs may even vomit shortly after eating pretzels due to their high sodium concentration. On the other hand, many dogs may have no issues after gobbling up this snack.
Nevertheless, even in dogs that handle salt well, a lot of salt in their diet over time is damaging to their health. The reason being is that salt interferes with how dogs stay hydrated.
At best, your dog will feel thirsty the rest of the day after eating some pretzels. At worst, they could get sodium poisoning. Salt poisoning results from a dog’s body having too much sodium and not enough water to counterbalance it.
If your dog is experiencing sodium poisoning, it will drink huge quantities of water and thus, expel huge quantities of water. That’s its natural way of trying to get rid of the dangerously high levels of salt in its bloodstream.
Salt poisoning can cause permanent issues for your dog, such as neurological conditions, and can even lead to death.
An important item to watch out for is that sodium can build up in a dog’s system over time since it can’t properly process it. Therefore, it’s possible that feeding your dog a small pretzel can instigate salt poisoning.
Pretzels and Obesity
Aside from salt, another big concern with feeding your dog pretzels is its carbohydrate content. Dogs are meat eaters by nature, so their bodies aren’t equipped to digest carbs well.
As a result, a dog’s reaction to a high carbohydrate consumption is to turn it into fat. Therefore, if you feed your dogpretzels often, it can lead to weight gain.
Just like with people, weight gain is the gateway for various other medical issues. Your dog may develop diabetes or heart disease, among many other conditions.
How Many Pretzels Is It Safe to Feed a Dog?
Ideally, you shouldn’t feed your dog any pretzels (soft pretzel OR hard pretzels) However, if you feel the need to do so, you should only give your dog one small, hard unsalted pretzel per day.
Purchasing low-sodium pretzels are best for humans, and about the same for dogs. Nevertheless, rubbing off the granules of salt is also helpful to make the pretzel dough more digestible for your dog.
There are plenty of alternative dog-safe treats (like long lasting dental chews or hypoallergenic dog treats) on the market that mimic human food, so I recommend choosing that instead of feeding your dog pretzels. Dog food intended for dogs is the safest and best.
SOS! My Dog Ate a Bag of Pretzels
No matter how careful you are with keeping your kitchen pooch-proof, every dog owner knows that Fido is ready to sneak some food if the opportunity presents itself. (Just like dogs that get into kitchen bins zzz)
Therefore, if you discover that your dog got into a bag of pretzels, the first thing you should do is make sure it has access to plenty of water. Then, figure out what kind of pretzels your dog ate.
If they contain any of these ingredients, you should call your vet immediately:
- Peanut butter (with sweetener)
- Articficial sweeteners like xylitol (this is why dogs shouldn’t eat things like jelly beans and caution must be taken with soy milk or almond milk)
In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend that you bring your dog in right away for a check-up. In other cases, they may ask that you keep your dog at home under close watch for any signs of distress.
If your dog consumed a lot of regular unsalted pretzels, it’s most likely okay to take the wait-and-see approach. However, it’s always a good idea to contact your vet to get their opinion.
Signs That Your Dog Ate Too Many Pretzels
Technically, one pretzel is too many for a dog, but if you find that your furry love broke into a whole bag, you should stay near them so you can watch for signs that they’re not handling the so-called treat well.
Signs that your dog has an adverse reaction from eating too many pretzels include:
- Tongue swelling
- Excessive thirst
If your dog is displaying these symptoms, he likely feels dizzy and nauseous too. You should bring him in to see the vet immediately so they can help your pooch get back on his paws.
Is Pretzel Eating Always Bad for Dogs?
Here’s some good news-even if your dog devours an entire bag of pretzels single-handedly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have to add a vet bill to your stack of payments due.
In fact, some dogs can consume excessive amounts of pretzels and feel just fine. Not all versions of this tasty snack have toxic ingredients that will land your pup a upset stomach.
Nevertheless, you should do everything in your power for it not to get to that point; there’s no reason to put your dogthrough the potential risk of having a bad reaction.
Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Pretzels?
You should never give your dog flavored or coated pretzels under any circumstances. However, if you give your pooch (or if he gets into) a bag of hard or soft salted pretzels once in a while, it’s unlikely that he’ll suffer significant side effects.
Nevertheless, your dog’s age and size can play a part in how your dog will react to eating pretzels. If you discover that your dog consumed many pretzels, keep a close eye on his behavior and be ready to call the vet.
Above all, I recommend keeping safe dog treats on hand. That way, you can satisfy the begging eyes that Fido gives you by feeding him a treat that’s both safe and nutritious.