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Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Bread — it seems so simple and it’s such a staple in our own diets, that it should be fine to share with dogs, right? Can dogs eat bread? The answer depends on a few different factors.

Sassafras Lowrey  |  Aug 8th 2018


Bread is believed to be one of the oldest prepared foods in the world. It’s commonly eaten in cultures around the world for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But not all human foods are safe for dogs to eat — even something that seems benign like bread. So, can dogs eat bread? Let’s take a look.

First, Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Woman eating room service with dog on the bed.

Can dogs eat bread? Think twice before sharing bread with your dogs! Photography © Rasulovs | iStock / Getty Images Plus

There is nothing inherently unsafe about sharing plain bread with dogs. However, there are a few things to remember when sharing bread with your dogs. For one, it’s important to monitor the quantity of bread that they eat. “In snack-sized amounts, [plain] bread isn’t going to cause any problems for a dog,” director of claims with Embrace Pet Insurance, Jenna Mahan, explains.

“Bread can be fed to dogs, but it can be calorically dense,” says Dr. Tina Wismer, Medical Director of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center APCC. Talk to your veterinarian if you feel like your dog is underweight and you want to help him gain weight — in a healthy and safe way.

Can Dogs Eat Bread That Isn’t Plain?

When it comes to answering the question, “Can dogs eat bread?” it’s important to remember that not all bread is the same. While most breads are safe for dogs, some breads may make your dog very sick, or could even kill him. Bread is dangerous when it contains ingredients that might be toxic to dogs.

For example, Dr. Wismer cautions that it’s important to avoid raisin bread because raisins — like grapes — can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Bread With Nuts?

Breads that contain nuts are also dangerous for dogs to eat. “Macadamia nuts, specifically, are toxic to dogs, and all nuts are high in fat,” Jenna explains. High-fat treats can lead to gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or vomiting in dogs. Jenna cautions that too many high-fat treats can even lead to a dog developing pancreatitis.

Can Dogs Eat Bread … Before It’s Baked?

When responding to, “Can dogs eat bread?” bread dough is a different story. “Rising bread ingested by a dog can continue to rise in the stomach and cause pain, bloating and other issues,” Jenna advises. In addition, Jenna explains that bread dough can actually make your dog drunk because of the ethanol in dough, which is a by-product of yeast used to make bread.

Can Dogs Eat Bread for Health Reasons?

Can dogs eat bread for its dietary benefits …  and should they? First, talk to your vet before adding bread to your dog’s diet. If you’re trying to add more fiber to your dog’s diet, Dr. Wismer suggests that whole-wheat or grain-based breads are best to share with your dog. Other types of bread like plain white bread or French bread aren’t harmful to your dog, but they contain less fiber.

Can Dogs Eat Bread in Other Circumstances?

Does your dog need to take a prescription but won’t swallow the pills? Dr. Wismer suggests using plain bread to create “teeny-tiny peanut butter sandwiches” for your dog (make sure the peanut butter is xylitol free!).  These little sandwiches can be a great place to hide pills for a stress-free way to make sure your dog gets the medication that he needs.

Thumbnail: Photography © KonstantinGushcha | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Sassafras Lowrey is an award-winning author. Her novels have been honored by organizations ranging from the Lambda Literary Foundation to the American Library Association. Sassafras is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor who lives and writes in Brooklyn with her partner, a senior Chihuahua mix, a rescued Shepherd mix and a Newfoundland puppy, along with two bossy cats and a semi-feral kitten. Learn more at sassafraslowrey.com.

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