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Can Dogs Eat Mac and Cheese? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & Safety Guide

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Mac and Cheese

Can Dogs Eat Mac and Cheese? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & Safety Guide

VET APPROVED

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

When you’re sitting at the kitchen table, it’s a common sight to have your dog giving you puppy eyes, begging for food. But just because they want something doesn’t mean you should give it to them.

That’s the case with mac and cheese. While mac and cheese isn’t toxic for dogs, it has very limited nutritional value. You should avoid letting them eat any because it can lead to digestive problems and weight gain. Should you take your pooch to the vet if they get into mac and cheese? Generally, the answer is no. We’ll break it all down for you below.

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Why You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog Mac and Cheese

While a little bit of mac and cheese doesn’t usually mean you need to rush your pup to the vet, that doesn’t mean you should give them any. There are several issues that mac and cheese can cause for your dog, starting with allergies and weight gain.

Mac and cheese contains higher amounts of carbohydrates, grains, and dairy, all of which can lead to digestive problems, various allergic reactions, and weight gain.

Not only do you need to worry about these issues, but, depending on the additional ingredients in the mac and cheese, it could be toxic. A common additive to mac and cheese recipes that is toxic for dogs is onions.

chow chow dog eating
Image Credit: Ivan Marjanovic, Shutterstock

When to Take Your Dog to the Vet if They Eat Mac and Cheese

Typically, you don’t need to take your dog to the vet, even if they get a hold of a larger amount of mac and cheese. While there might be a bit of a tummy upset, this is usually the extent of the problem.

3 reasons that eating mac n cheese might land your dog at the vet:
  1. Toxic ingredients – as mentioned previously, onion is sometimes added to mac and cheese by non-purists, and if there is a significant amount of this, or if you have a small dog, then it’s best to contact the vet.
  2. Severe vomiting or diarrhea – mild gastrointestinal distress will usually subside within a day or so, but if your pooch is unable to keep food or water down, or if their diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours, you should call the vet.
  3. Pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas can be severe and life-threatening, and can be caused by eating rich or fatty foods. The signs of pancreatitis can be similar to those of gastrointestinal distress, but are usually accompanied by a lack of appetite, lethargy and abdominal pain. If your dog is experiencing any of these signs, it’s off to the vet for you.

If you have any doubts about when you need to take your dog to the vet, you should always err on the side of caution. It’s better to take your pup to the vet and not need it, than for your pup to need it, and you don’t take them!

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Safer Treat Options for Your Dog

While you shouldn’t feed your dog mac and cheese, there are plenty of safe treat options you can feed your pooch. We’ve highlighted five safe treat options you can give your pup to mix things up for them!

giving treats to bernese dog
Image Credit: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

Carrots

Carrots are a great sweet treat that many pups love chowing down on. Depending on the size of your dog, offering a whole raw carrot can be great for their teeth as well.

Watermelon

If it’s a hot summer day, few fruits make a better treat for your pooch than a watermelon. Not only does it contain a ton of water to help keep them hydrated, but it’s also super sweet! Just ensure you remove any seeds for little ones, and don’t feed them the rind.

Broccoli

Broccoli is another super healthy treat you can give your pooch. Don’t add any additional seasonings, and your dog can eat broccoli both cooked or raw, although cooked broccoli is a bit easier for them to digest.

Bananas

If you’re looking for a low-cost treat for your pup, bananas are a great choice. Many dogs love the sweet taste of bananas, although they don’t last quite as long as many of the other treats on our list.

Pumpkin

Remove the skin and the bulk of the seeds and your pooch will love the sweet taste of this seasonal veg (which is technically a fruit!). It’s low in fat and great for aiding digestion.

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Summing Up

While you shouldn’t intentionally feed your dog mac and cheese, if they happen to get into some, it usually isn’t a big deal. But when in doubt, play it safe and contact your vet, especially if they start to exhibit any adverse side effects after eating.

In the meantime, find a healthier treat option you can give them the next time they start begging for food when you’re chowing down on your mac and cheese.

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Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory

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