Some dogs just love bread – from a few stolen sandwich crusts to a half-eaten burger in a bun. But is bread bad for dogs? And with lots more of us choosing to go gluten-free, should our dogs be following suit? Here’s everything you need to know about giving bread to your dog .
Can dogs eat bread?
Plain white or brown bread is generally safe for dogs to eat. But bread can be high in sugar and calories – and that can make your dog put on weight and impact their overall health. So if you do give your dog bread, it should only ever be a small amount as an occasional treat. Ideally, they should avoid it altogether, and stick to a balanced, complete diet that gives them energy, B-vitamins, and insoluble fibre from other, more dog-friendly, sources.
While plain bread varieties are examples of human food dogs can eat, flavoured bread is a different story. These are often full of ingredients that are harmful or toxic to dogs – like raisins, onions, seeds, nuts or cheese.
Read more: What foods are harmful to dogs?
Aren’t dogs carnivores?
It’s a common misconception that dogs are only supposed to eat meat. It tends to come from the knowledge that dogs are descended from wolves. But thousands of years of evolution and selective breeding mean these species now have very different nutritional habits. Domestic dogs evolved to eat our leftover food scraps, so they’re omnivores – they can eat plants and meat.
Related blog: Why do dogs need carbohydrates?
Is gluten-free better for dogs?
Only dogs with a genuine wheat allergy benefit from avoiding gluten. For other dogs, it means losing out on a valuable source of energy, fibre and important nutrients. Unless there’s a health reason to avoid gluten, we recommend keeping wheat and other grains on your dog’s menu.
Even if you think your dog has an allergy, don’t be too quick to go grain-free. Most food allergies in dogs are related to animal proteins. Unless all the evidence points to grain, it’s best to rule out more common culprits – like beef, eggs, dairy and soya – first.
If this process of elimination leaves grain as the prime suspect, you’re best to cut out wheat, and only wheat, next. Other grains – like maize, oats and rice – are highly nutritious and less allergenic. So cutting these from your dog’s diet should be a last resort.
Related blog: Does my dog have a food allergy?
Does bread give dogs an upset stomach?
Unless your dog has a genuine wheat allergy, eating a small amount of bread is unlikely to upset their digestion. However, dogs who already have a stomach upset might want to give bread a miss – some plain rice or boiled chicken can be easier on sensitive stomachs.
Will eating yeast make my dog’s skin infection worse?
They may share a name, but the yeast in your dog’s food and the yeast that lives on your dog’s skin are different. There’s absolutely no link between your dog eating yeast, and suffering from a skin infection.
In fact, we often include brewer’s yeast in our food. This is a dried, non-active yeast that comes from the fermentation of beer. It’s one of the best sources of natural B vitamins, which support digestion, metabolism, and the nervous system. And it keeps your dog’s skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver healthy too. Yeast is also a ‘complete protein’ – it contains all ten of the essential amino acids your dog needs to get from their diet.
Got a question about what dogs can eat? Our veterinary and nutritional team is here to guide you through the facts and dispel the fiction. Get their advice at firstname.lastname@example.org.