Can Dogs Eat Bread?
The Essential Guide
Dogs usually want to share their people’s food, but before giving them a little bite, it’s your job to make sure your snack won’t harm them!
Many human dishes are off-limits for dogs, but is your sandwich one of those?
If you’re wondering "can dogs eat bread", here’s what research has to say about it.
Can Dogs Eat Bread - Yes or No?
Yes, but in moderation. This means bread can’t be the foundation of your dog’s diet, but once in a while is ok. However, keep in mind a few pointers before sharing that sandwich with your pup.
Dogs Eating Bread: Things You Should Know
A balanced diet is key
Yes, dogs can eat bread, but it can’t be the main food in their diet. Ideally, a dog’s diet should be based on high-quality protein, healthy fats, some carbs and the necessary vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies. In general, bread should be offered as an occasional treat and represent at most 5% of their daily intake.
Dogs can eat carbs
In the last few years, there’s been a tendency to promote a carnivore diet for dogs, considering the natural diet of wolves as their direct ancestors. However, this is a very simplified version. Wild wolves were domesticated more than five thousand years ago and this domestication process included getting used to eating scraps, including plenty of carbs. Because of it, dogs are more omnivorous than carnivorous. This means bread won’t harm your dog and even a carb-based diet shouldn’t pose great health risks .
PRO TIP: Sourdough bread can be too harsh on your dog’s GI system, so avoid it if possible.
Too much bread can cause health issues
Even though carbs by themselves won’t harm your dog, they still need a balanced diet. Too much bread can be bad for them! It all comes down to how bread is digested. During digestion, bread turns into simple sugars. In turn, simple sugars can spike your dog’s blood sugar levels and put them at a higher risk of conditions like diabetes or obesity. Being overweight can expose your dog to many dangerous conditions, so keep an eye on their sugar intake.
PRO TIP: Only offer bread occasionally to avoid making your dog overweight.
Some dogs are allergic to bread
This doesn’t happen often, but just like people, some dogs are allergic to wheat and bread. If your dog has eaten dry dog food with wheat or bread without any allergic reaction in the past, it’s probably fine. If you’re not sure, just give your dog some bread and watch them carefully. Keep an eye on their skin and examine them for any red patches, bald spots or itching. If any of these appear, your dog is probably either allergic or sensitive to wheat.
Be aware about additives
If you’re giving bread to your pup, try to stick to bakery bread. This specific type has little to no preservatives, dyes or additives. If going for store-bought, only get low-sodium, low-sugar, plain bread. Other common add-ins that can be harmful are:
- Raisins: we’ve already covered the dangers of raisins and grapes for dogs here, but it’s important to remember it! even a few raisins can cause toxicity, so just avoid offering breads that have them.
- Onion or Garlic: these two ingredients can cause serious side effects and gastrointestinal distress, including pain, loose stools, and vomiting.
- Chocolate chips
- Vanilla extract
- Nuts: nuts and seed can be allergens to dogs. Take care to avoid macadamia nuts in particular.
- Xylitol: this artificial sweetener is most commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum and some baked goods. Xylitol is toxic to dogs, so be sure to check the ingredients on the label.
Mouldy bread is toxic to dogs
Bread mould is a type of fungus. This white or green substance makes toxins that can be very dangerous to dogs. If your pup gets into mouldy bread and eats it, try to make them throw it up. This will ensure they don’t get ill from the mould. If you only realised later on that your dog ate mouldy bread, keep an eye on them. Intoxication is rare but it can happen, especially with young or small dogs. If your dog throws up more than twice, get them to the vet straight away.
Is it Healthy to Give My Dog Bread?
There are some benefits of yeast-fermented bread for dogs, mainly in the form of a healthier coat. Recent research suggests yeasted products, including regular bread, may improve your pup’s gastrointestinal health, strengthen their immune response and feed their gut microbiome.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet if you want to add a new item to your dog’s diet. They’ll be the best judge to make sure your dog stays healthy and happy.
Bread, while mostly harmless, can cause some issues if your pup is overweight or prone to diabetes, so treat it as an occasional thing. Overall, you can share a small bite of your sandwich, but take care to avoid the fillings and sauces!
Want to learn more about what types of food dogs can and can't eat? Check out our below guides:
No! toast or grilled bread is a choking risk, because your dog cannot chew it properly. Keep your dog safe by only giving regular, un-toasted bread.
Bread should be considered an occasional treat, not an everyday occurrence. Make sure it makes up less than 5% of your dog’s diet.
Baking soda can be toxic if eating in large quantities. While this ingredient is harmless in small amounts, is very dangerous if eaten regularly. However, baked items made with baking soda should be fine if you only offer them in small amounts.
- Rankovic, A., et al. (2020). Glycemic response in nonracing sled dogs fed single starch ingredients and commercial extruded dog foods with different carbohydrate sources. Journal of Animal Science, 98(8). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32770217/
- Sarkar, R., et al. (2019). Scavengers can be choosers: A study on food preference in free-ranging dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 216, 38-44. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159118305914?casa_token=6QjkGZ57lx0AAAAA:KzedAW_wQvOb-4VZaH74wHEJOC24yoyTa98NH88pJynpvGzmlYEQSCPRN5FvhknEgXU3FwoAT2vf
- Thorne, C. (1995). Feeding behaviour of domestic dogs and the role of experience (pp. 104-114). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.
- Bhadra, A., Bhadra, A. (2014). Preference for meat is not innate in dogs. Journal of ethology, 32(1), 15-22. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anindita-Bhadra/publication/240918011_Preference_for_meat_is_not_innate_in_dogs/links/0c9605294c2593ae61000000/Preference-for-meat-is-not-innate-in-dogs.pdf
- Lin, C. Y., et al (2020). Supplementation of Yeast Cell Wall Fraction Tends to Improve Intestinal Health in Adult Dogs Undergoing an Abrupt Diet Transition. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, 905. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2020.597939/full
- Beloshapka, A., et al (2013). Fecal microbial communities of healthy adult dogs fed raw meat-based diets with or without inulin or yeast cell wall extracts as assessed by 454 pyrosequencing. FEMS microbiology ecology, 84(3), 532-541. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jan-Suchodolski/publication/235381908_Fecal_microbial_communities_of_healthy_adult_dogs_fed_raw_meat-based_diets_with_or_without_inulin_or_yeast_cell_wall_extracts_as_assessed_by_454_Pyrosequencing/links/5bcfb72ea6fdcc204a035256/Fecal-microbial-communities-of-healthy-adult-dogs-fed-raw-meat-based-diets-with-or-without-inulin-or-yeast-cell-wall-extracts-as-assessed-by-454-Pyrosequencing.pdf