As you prepare a meal with your dog nearby, you may wonder if dogs can eat bread. If it’s plain white or wheat bread, a small piece is safe, as long as your dog doesn’t have any wheat allergies. Avoid breads with toppings or additional ingredients, such as raisins, onions or garlic, which are common in breads and toxic to dogs, says Dr. Nicole Savageau, who works with mobile veterinary service The Vets.
“Additionally, some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to certain grains or ingredients commonly found in bread. It is best to monitor what your dog eats and avoid giving them bread as a regular part of their diet,” she says.
Can dogs eat wheat bread?
Though wheat (and white) bread typically won’t harm your dog, it also won’t add any nutritional value to his diet, regardless of your dog’s nutritional requirements, based on his age, existing health conditions and medical history, especially if your dog is on a prescription diet.
If your vet okays the bread as a treat, stick to plain white and wheat, and give your dog only an occasional small piece. Avoid breads with added ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as:
- macadamia nuts
- xylitol (an artificial sweetener)
- peanut butter that contains added sugars and salts
So, don’t give your dog avocado toast, garlic bread or raisin bread, no matter how much she begs. If you’re not sure what ingredients are in your bread, don’t give it to your dog.
Can dogs eat sourdough bread?
Yes. Just like white and wheat bread, small pieces of cooked sourdough bread are safe for dogs once in a while, although it also does not add any nutritional value to his diet. Raw sourdough is not safe for your dog, so keep him away from the dough before it’s baked.
Help! My dog ate a loaf of bread
Monitor your dog closely. “It is not necessarily an emergency (unless toxic ingredients are involved), but it is still a cause for concern,” says Dr. Savageau. Bread can cause bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, depending on the type of bread and the size of the dog. If you notice these symptoms, or your dog seems like he’s in pain, call your veterinarian.
In serious cases, dogs can develop a condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary attention, says Dr. Savageau.
The dangers of feeding bread to your dog
If you’re baking a loaf of bread, no matter the type of bread, keep your dog away from the dough — it’s extremely toxic to dogs. Yeast-based bread dough can cause a serious condition in dogs called bread dough toxicosis. If you think your dog has eaten some dough, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Symptoms of bread dough toxicosis include:
- bloating of the abdomen
- dry heaving
- decreased activity
- weakness and seizures
The Merck Veterinary Manual lists more information on dough toxicity in animals.
Bottom line: Your dog can eat a small piece of plain white or wheat bread once in a while, but nutritionally speaking, it won’t enrich his life. Treat your dog to a game of fetch or a walk around the block instead!