Pet parents everywhere only want the best for their dogs, especially when it comes to finding them tasty and wholesome treats. You probably want to share what’s on your plate with them when they give you those puppy dog eyes!
But can dogs eat croutons?
In general, croutons can make for a tasty treat for your pup. They can be a great alternative to store-bought dog treats, and many dogs go wild for the crunchy texture.
However, it’s not quite black and white – you have to be mindful of the ingredients in the croutons you’re giving your dog. Some croutons may contain high levels of salt or garlic, which can be harmful to dogs in large amounts.
In this blog, we’ll explore the ingredients in croutons and discuss which ones are safe for your furry friend to enjoy. And if you’re wondering what else dogs can and can’t eat, our post on can dogs eat sweet potato might be up your street.
Let’s dive in and learn more about this tasty human food and how it can fit into your dog’s diet. You’ll be sharing a caesar salad with your canine companion in no time!
Table of Contents
- 1 Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Croutons?
- 2 Symptoms of Garlic Poisoning
- 3 Should Dogs Eat Croutons?
- 4 The Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Croutons
- 5 How to Incorporate Croutons into Your Dog’s Diet Safely
- 6 How Many Croutons Can Dogs Eat?
- 7 What Are Some Dog-Safe Alternatives to Croutons?
- 8 FAQs
Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Croutons?
If you feed your dog the wrong type of croutons then yes, it can be bad for them. Croutons are often high in salt, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances if consumed in excess. This is especially true for dogs with certain health conditions such as kidney disease or heart disease.
Another risk is that croutons can be a choking hazard if they are not properly chewed. Small pieces can become lodged in a dog’s throat, causing breathing difficulties or even requiring emergency medical attention.
Types Of Croutons That Are Unsafe for Dogs
You must steer clear of any croutons that contain ingredients considered toxic to dogs. Onion or garlic croutons are the major ones to watch out for – many store-bought croutons contain one or both of these flavors. Delicious for us, potentially deadly for your furry pal. Look out for garlic powder in the ingredients list.
You’ll also want to avoid anything with spices and seasonings that aren’t dog-safe. Many croutons are finished with Italian seasoning. You might think it sounds innocent, healthy even, but there are risks involved.
Some Italian herb blends contain marjoram, which is toxic to dogs. While other ingredients in this blend are safe (and even beneficial), marjoram can lead to gastric irritation (vomiting and diarrhea).
Black pepper is also best avoided as too much can be spicy for your pup. It also contains a chemical called piperine which can affect how medicines interact with the body – which can be harmful for dogs with health conditions controlled by medicine.
Symptoms of Garlic Poisoning
The team here at Barks in the Park can’t stress this enough – dogs should never eat garlic or onions. The severity of symptoms varies depending on the amount of garlic eaten and the size/weight of the dog. If you suspect that your dog has eaten garlic or onions or is showing any of the following symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Gastrointestinal upset: Including vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or loss of appetite
- Anemia: Garlic contains compounds that can damage red blood cells, leading to anemia. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, lethargy, pale gums, and shortness of breath. However, this won’t happen shortly after onion poisoning takes place – it will likely develop over a few days or even weeks, depending on how much was eaten.
- Elevated heart rate and breathing: Garlic toxicity can cause increased heart and breathing rates in dogs.
- Collapse: In severe cases of onion poisoning, a dog may collapse or have seizures.
So if you’re wondering, can dogs eat garlic bread? – absolutely not!
Should Dogs Eat Croutons?
So, dogs can eat croutons (provided you avoid the ingredients listed above), but should they? Well, stale bread doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrition, but the crunch is pretty enjoyable to many dogs.
You Shouldn’t Feed Croutons to These Dogs…
There are no specific breeds of dogs that shouldn’t eat croutons. However, it’s important to note that dogs with certain health conditions shouldn’t be given high-salt and high-fat treats like croutons.
If your dog has these conditions, try to avoid excess salt:
- Kidney disease
Similarly, if your dog has a history of these conditions, the fat in croutons could trigger a flare-up:
- Digestive issues
The Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Croutons
While it would be a stretch to say that croutons should form a regular part of your dog’s diet, there are a few handy benefits of this crunchy snack:
Tasty training treats
Croutons are the perfect shape and size to offer when training your dog. They’re convenient to carry around, and their yummy taste means your dog is sure to pay attention to what you’re asking of them!
Can be healthier and cheaper than dog treats
If you choose croutons that are low in salt and made with healthy ingredients, they can be a low-calorie treat option for your dog compared to commercial treats. They’re often cheaper too – a further bonus!
Adds texture to food
Many dogs love crunchy foods, so adding a few croutons to their meal is sure to make it go down a treat! Your pup will love the added crunch and flavor – it might even help them enjoy dog food they’re not so keen on more.
How to Incorporate Croutons into Your Dog’s Diet Safely
So you’ve decided you want to give your dog some croutons as a snack or a training treat – here’s how to do so safely.
Check the ingredients
We’ve said it already, but it’s worth mentioning again. Avoid giving your dog garlic croutons and also take care with ingredients like certain herbs, olive oil, excess salt, and onion.
If you want to choose a healthier treat for your pup, look for options made from whole-grain bread. This contains fiber that can help maintain intestinal health, unlike those made from white bread which offer little-to-no nutritional value.
Consider homemade croutons
Homemade croutons can be a good idea for dogs as long as they are made with safe and healthy ingredients. This way, you can control the amount of salt, seasonings, and other ingredients that go into the croutons. Making croutons is also a great way to use up stale bread and provide your dog with a tasty and nutritious snack.
If you’re making your own, try adding a little grated parmesan cheese for a yummy taste dogs will go crazy for! Also choose whole grain bread squares and bacon fat rather than white bread, olive oil and garlic butter. Skip the salt too, and you’ll be good to go!
Monitor your dog’s reaction
Always watch your dog when feeding them something new. If you notice any signs of digestive upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, stop feeding them croutons immediately.
Feed them in moderation
Any treat should be a minor part of your dog’s diet, and croutons are no exception. Use croutons as a tasty extra or during training rather than a significant portion of your pet’s diet.
Choose the size wisely
When you’re giving your dog these crunchy foods, cut them into small pieces to avoid choking hazards, and don’t offer too many at once. If your dog loves them (which is likely!) they could eat too fast and choke. Similarly, large croutons can get stuck in your dog’s throat or cause gastrointestinal blockages.
How Many Croutons Can Dogs Eat?
As noted above, we recommend feeding all dogs small amounts of treats, including croutons, in moderation. As a guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
The exact frequency of feeding croutons to your dog will depend on their size, weight, activity level, and overall diet. If your dog needs to shed a few pounds or is particularly inactive, you’ll want to ensure that treats make up much less than 10% of their daily calories.
What Are Some Dog-Safe Alternatives to Croutons?
While croutons can be safe for dogs, alternatives offer a similar satisfying crunch. These may be more convenient than making your own croutons and healthier than using store-bought ones:
- Raw carrots
- Apple slices
- Popcorn (plain, without salt or melted butter)
- Commercial treats for dogs
Can dogs have butter and garlic croutons?
No, dogs should not eat anything that contains fresh garlic or garlic powder. They can enjoy croutons made with butter in moderation, but skip the garlic!
Can dogs eat cheese and garlic croutons?
Your dog can eat parmesan croutons, but you should never feed them garlic. You should also take care with seasoned croutons because some herb blends contain ingredients like marjoram that are toxic to dogs.