Can Dogs Eat Toast?
Dog Food Safety Guide
Tasty to eat and even easier to prepare, toast is an everyday staple in most Australian households. But is it safe to share a bite with, or leave your toast corners for your dog? Can dogs eat toast? Before sharing a bite with your pup, here's what you need to know:
Is Toast Safe For Dogs?
In its most basic form, toast is plain bread toasted to achieve a satisfying crunch. Incredibly easy to find, prepare and eat, your dog might be begging for a taste every morning… but should you give in?
It all comes to the ingredients. Toast from store-bought bread usually has wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and extra ingredients: other flours (soya, rye, oat…), oils, preservatives and emulsifiers.
This means that, much like for humans, toast shouldn't be toxic for most dogs. The small amounts of oil, preservatives and emulsifiers shouldn't be an issue. However, since toast is high in carbs and low in micronutrients, it can put your dog at risk of obesity.
Nevertheless, there are some basic precautions to keep in mind before giving toast to your dog.
Is Toast Bad For Dogs? Risks Of Feeding Toast To Your Pup
- Low nutritional value: The main issue with feeding toast to dogs is its nutritional value. Toast from plain white bread is rich in carbohydrates and little else. Most breads are relatively low in fibre, and have few micronutrients to justify giving some to your pup. As an occasional snack, it shouldn’t harm your dog, but it shouldn’t be offered more than once or twice a week.
- Toast is too high in carbs: As stated above, the main macronutrients in toast are carbohydrates from wheat. While not bad on their own, carbs are easy to go overboard with. Bread also lacks fibre, protein and fats, key elements of a balanced diet. Most owners struggle to feed their dogs a balanced diet with at least 30% protein and less than 40% carbs, so a carb-heavy snack like bread won’t help improve that ratio!
- Toppings are a no-go: While plain white or whole-wheat toast is ok, toast toppings or spreads are not. Most spreads are high in oils, sugar and spices. The strawberry jam toast you love? It’s too sweet for your dog and it’s best avoided. And our favourite Australian spread Vegemite, contains a lot of added salt. Peanut butter is also quite high in fats that, although healthy, can contribute to obesity. Generally speaking, plain toast bites with minimal or no toppings are the best option – think just the corners with no spread.
- Some dogs might be allergic: According to the vets at VCA Hospitals, the most common source for dog food allergies are proteins . However, this doesn't mean it's impossible for dogs to be allergic to other things. In fact, a 2016 literature review showed that around 13% of dogs could be allergic to wheat, and around 6% of dogs could be allergic to soy . If your dog is allergic to wheat or gluten-intolerant, skip toast altogether.
PRO TIP: Most food allergies in dogs present cutaneous symptoms. These include persistent scratching, itching, redness, inflammation and dermatitis. If you see any of these, take your dog to the vet and try to figure out if something changed in their diet. Maybe you tried a different food or a new treat that's causing the allergies. Avoid self-medicating and follow your vet's advice.
Why You Might Want To Give Toast To Your Dog
Now that you know the possible risks of feeding toast to your dog, you might be wondering why you would ever cave in. It could be easier to just say no to the pleading eyes under the table!
However, as with most things in life, feeding toast to your pup depends on your specific circumstances. In our experience, here are some of the reasons why you might share a bite with your dog:
- Toast works great to hide medicine: If you've ever had a fussy dog that hated taking pills, you know how hard it is to medicate them. Fortunately, toast can be a great help. It's pretty easy to camouflage a pill inside a toast piece, the crunchy texture of the toast also helps disguise the crunch of a hard pill. Before they know it, your dog will have eaten their medicine without even realising.
- As a training snack: For food-motivated dogs, a little treat is the best way to teach them anything. If your dog is a carb lover, then using a few toast bites during training sessions is a smart move. Make sure to cut up the toast in small pieces to avoid overfeeding them!
PRO TIP: If you’re training your pup with carb-heavy snacks, try to feed food that’s light in carbs the rest of the week. We recommend going for raw or air-dried recipes that are naturally low in carbohydrates. This will keep your dog’s weekly intake balanced and lower the risk of overfeeding.
- Make it an occasional treat: It's super normal to give "just because" treats to your dog, especially if they have been particularly good! Toast is mild enough to be used as a once-in-a-while treat, meaning it should be given twice a week at most.
How To Feed Toast To Your Dog
Step 1. Choose the right toast
Most toast is fine for dogs as long as they aren’t allergic to wheat or gluten. However, choosing whole-wheat toast can be a better option. Whole wheat is higher in fibre and complex carbs, which means your dog will digest the bread slower and it might keep them full for longer. More fibre can also help keep their blood sugar lower and avoid hunger spikes.
If your dog isn’t allergic to any of the ingredients, whole wheat multigrain toast is likely a better option than plain white bread.
Step 2. Skip toppings
As we mentioned above, toppings tend to add unnecessary sugar, salt and oil to your dog’s diet. If possible, skip spreads and butters.
If you must share the toppings with your dog, it’s best to stick to the less-processed options: plain butter, vegemite or peanut butter. Only add a very thin layer of your chosen spread, and make sure to avoid other carb-, sugar- and fat-heavy snacks.
Step 3. Cut up in small pieces
Toast can be too tough and easily get stuck in your dog’s throat, especially if your pup tends to swallow their treats instead of chewing. After lightly toasting the bread, cut it up in bite-sized pieces. It’s best to keep the pieces 1 centimetre big or smaller, depending on your dog’s size.
PRO TIP: Don’t give burnt toast to your dog! It will be too tough for their mouth and can also cause stomach upset. Lightly toast bread to make it crunchy but not inedible. Plain bread is also ok.
Step 4. Only give 2-3 bites
Toast should be considered a very occasional treat. Feeding bread to your dog in large quantities, or more often than once or twice a week will put their carbohydrate intake too high to be healthy.
Generally speaking, stick to an 80/20 proportion. This means treats should represent up to 20% of your dog’s weekly intake. All toppers and snacks should be considered a “treat”: it’s best if you only give them once a week.
PRO TIP: During puppy training, it’s easy to go overboard with treats. Keep a log on your phone to tally up the treats you give per day and week to avoid overfeeding. Another option is substituting one meal a day with a training session (or two shorter sessions).
Step 5. Skip toast if you feed traditional kibble
Here at Gentle Dog Trainers we’re big proponents of feeding your dog a diet with moderate to low carbohydrates and high in protein. Unfortunately, traditional kibble often packs 40%-70% carbs in the form of grains (wheat, corn, rice…) and cellulose. This kind of diet is already unadapted to your dog's needs and way too high in carbs for their health, but it’s understandable if your budget is too tight to splurge on raw or air-dried options.
But if you’re feeding traditional kibble with that percentage of carbs, skip the carb-heavy snacks (like toast). If your dog only gets kibble, stick to simple boiled chicken or beef as a training snack. It will help balance your dog’s intake and lower their obesity risk.
If your dog is asking for a piece of toast, it’s ok to give in every once in a while. As long as you’re feeding them a balanced diet the rest of the time, a small snack or two shouldn’t be harmful to their long term health.
Curious about whether you should feed other common foods to your dog? Check out our other articles here:
- What Food Can't Dogs Eat?
- Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
- Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
- Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?
- Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?
- Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
- Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
- Can Dogs Eat Mushroom?
- Can Dogs Eat Cauliflower?
- Can Dogs Eat Eggs?
- Can Dogs Eat Bread?
- Can Dogs Eat Nuts?
- Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
- Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?
- Can Dogs Eat Orange?
- Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?
- Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?
- Can Dogs Eat Garlic?
- Can Dogs Eat Apple?
- Can Dogs Eat Mandarin?
- Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?
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- Can Dogs Eat Capsicum?
- Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
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- Can Dogs Eat Cucumber?
- Can Dogs Eat Peas?
- Can Dogs Eat Potato?
- Can Dogs Eat Beetroot?
- Can Dogs Eat Vegemite?
- Can Dogs Eat Onions?
- Can Dogs Eat Yoghurt?
- Can Dogs Eat Pasta?
- Can Dogs Eat Rockmelon?
- Can Dogs Eat Macadamia Nuts?
- Can Dogs Eat Sausage?
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Yes, but in moderation. Toast is ok for dogs to eat once or twice a week, provided they don’t eat an excess of carbs in their normal diet. Vegemite, on the other hand, is very high in salt, which can be a problem if fed too frequently.
Generally speaking, unless your dog is allergic to a specific ingredient, a fine layer of vegemite on a couple toast bites should be fine once a week.
We recommend speaking to your vet before sneaking vegemite toast to your dog if they are seniors or have renal issues.
Dogs can usually have a small piece of buttered toast once or twice a week, if they eat a balanced diet the rest of the time.
Butter is rich in healthy fats, but shouldn’t be part of your dog’s daily diet. As a training aid or an occasional snack, buttered toast is ok.
- Llera, R., Barnette, C., Ward, E. “Food allergies in dogs”. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved May 25, 2023. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/food-allergies-in-dogs
- Mueller et al. 2016. “Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (2): common food allergen sources in dogs and cats.” BMC Vet Res. 2016; 12:9. Retrieved May 25, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4710035/