Staffy eating pasta.

Can Dogs Eat Pasta? Fact Checked By Our Vet

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 18th January 2024

Traditionally made from wheat, pasta is a staple in many kitchens. We love it for its ease, taste, and versatility as a carb-heavy comfort food! Loaded with cheese or served with seafood, most of us have a go-to pasta dish.

However, should your dog eat pasta? Can they eat it often? Here’s what experts have to say about it:


Is Pasta Bad For Dogs?

Pasta on its own is only made from water and wheat, occasionally adding eggs or semolina. These ingredients mean pasta is a safe food for dogs, as long as they eat it in moderation.

According to veterinarians, wheat pasta can be a great source of simple carbohydrates for your dog, meaning it provides them with plenty of energy [2]. This is especially useful if you have an active or working dog that expends a lot of energy in their daily life.

The main concern with dogs eating pasta is not the pasta itself, but the extras that usually accompany it. The sauces and condiments we’re used to eating might contain ingredients that are outright dangerous for dogs, such as onion and garlic.

Remember that while plain cooked pasta is safe for dogs, any pasta that has been mixed with other ingredients is not.

PRO TIP: Overweight dogs should not eat pasta or any other carb-heavy treats. This food doesn’t offer many nutritional benefits compared to other treats (like carrots or pumpkin), and will only add simple carbs, unnecessarily bulking your dog’s diet.


Is Wheat In Pasta Bad For Dogs?

You might wonder if the wheat in pasta can be harmful to your pup, particularly now that grain-free foods are more popular than ever.

Wheat and other grains are not toxic to dogs [2]. Research suggests dogs became omnivorous by evolving alongside humans. Man’s best friend was gracious enough to eat what humans served, despite the carnivorous diet of his wolf ancestors! This means they can survive eating meat, but also carb-rich foods like grains.

However, while not toxic, grains should be eaten in moderation and not make up the main component of your dog’s diet. Dog foods that limit the amount of grain are generally of higher quality. Conversely, meat and animal protein should comprise the majority of your dog’s food intake.

This means that while wheat pasta is not inherently “bad” for your dog, it should be fed in moderation and not form the base of their diet.


What Types Of Pasta Can Dogs Eat?

Nowadays, classic wheat pasta is only one among many options. In a sea of different shapes, sizes and ingredients, are all kinds of pasta safe for dogs? Here’s what the research says:

  • Rice pasta: Your dog can eat plain rice without any issues, and rice pasta is no different. Rice can help if your dog has an upset tummy and has even been found to alleviate mild gastrointestinal troubles.
  • Lentil, chickpea and/or other legume pasta: These gluten-free pasta alternatives have gained popularity in recent years. Generally speaking, veterinarians consider lentils and legumes to be safe for dogs. However, in recent years grain-free dog foods (often rich in legumes) were linked to a higher frequency of heart disease [1]. Even though the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dropped the investigation due to insufficient findings, it might be something to consider if your dog is at risk of heart disease.

As a rule of thumb, gluten-free pasta is safe for dogs, so long as you offer them plain and without any sauce. The same guidelines apply to both grain and gluten-free pasta: it should be offered, if ever, in moderation.

Staffy eating pasta again.

How Much Pasta Can Dogs Eat?

As with other human foods, pasta should be considered an occasional treat and not an essential part of your dog’s diet.

Dropped a couple of noodles on the kitchen floor? Let your pup eat them. Your kid is slipping plain noodles to the dog? It will be fine as long as it’s not an everyday occurrence.

Overall, one or two noodles, up to twice a week are fine. Any more than that, this carb-heavy treat could cause your pup to start packing on the kilos.

PRO TIP: If your dog is slightly overweight, try skipping all treats. You’d be surprised by how often we give treats to our dogs, which (like human ‘treats’ of cake and sweets) tend to be high in calories.


Can Puppies Eat Pasta?

Most puppies can eat pasta every once in a while, without much cause for concern. However, it’s important to keep pasta as an occasional treat, and not let it form the base of their diet.

Limit your puppy’s pasta intake to once or twice a week maximum, and never more than a couple of noodles at a time. You don’t want them filling up on carbohydrates, especially since it is vital growing pups eat adequate amounts of protein and fat.

Since young dogs are particularly sensitive, pasta should be presented plain, without any oils or seasonings.


FAQ

Can dogs eat ramen noodles?

Ramen noodles are made from wheat, so they are safe for dogs. Nevertheless, only plain ramen noodles should be given.

Ramen soup is full of seasonings that can be extremely dangerous to dogs. The broth usually contains soy sauce and miso, which are both high in sodium and can cause kidney failure among dogs. Other common ramen ingredients, such as seaweed, garlic, and onion, should not be given to dogs, even in small quantities.

Make sure to never give your pup a taste of your ramen unless it’s plain and hasn’t touched any broth!

Can dogs eat spaghetti?

Spaghetti is merely the name for a specific pasta shape, but it has essentially the same ingredients as any other shape: wheat and water. It may also contain eggs, depending on the recipe.

Therefore, yes, dogs can eat spaghetti as they can any other pasta! Penne, capellini, linguini and others are all acceptable, provided that they are offered plain, without sauces or condiments.

References 

  1. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). December 23, 2022. Questions & Answers: FDA’s Work on Potential Causes of Non-Hereditary DCM in Dogs.https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/questions-answers-fdas-work-potential-causes-non-hereditary-dcm-dogs
  2. T. J. Dunn, DVM. March 8, 2011. Contrasting grain-based and meat-based diets for dogs. PetMD. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_contrasting_grain_based_and_meat_based_diets

Eloisa Thomas


Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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