With no pun intended, the humble loaf really is the bread and butter of our modern diet habits.
It could be a subway sandwich, a granary BLT or a crusty roll dipped into a steaming hot soup on a cold winter’s day.
And as any dog owner can tell you, where there are tasty treats afoot, your dog’s sniffing nose and well-licked chops are certain to follow.
With all that in mind, can dogs eat bread? An even so, should dogs eat bread? Let’s find out.
Is bread good for dogs?
Bread doesn’t provide the same kind of nutrition to dogs as it might to human beings – and even then, bread is often a component in a given meal meant to bring out the real flavours and nutritional value in something else when we use it.
Bread certainly isn’t bad for dogs in any meaningful way, besides perhaps certain ingredients in it or things it might be paired with that could prove harmful – more on those later.
Bread is pretty neutral overall as far as canine health goes, certainly not offering dogs much in the way of nutrition that they won’t find better elsewhere – but also not bringing them anything too harmful.
However, it should be recognised that bread is pretty high in carbohydrates, especially by a dog’s standards.
Because of that, bread shouldn’t be given to your dog as a mainstay or a frequent part of their meals, and certainly not as the main course.
The carbohydrates in bread could create some surprising weight gain for your dog as they build up inside of them, but that at least makes bread more than fair game for your dog to eat if you’re worried that he or she might be underweight, and in need of bulking up.
If you notice that your dog reacts pretty badly to being given bread though, either through an upset tummy or a sudden drop of energy – or even throwing up – consider asking your vet if your dog is allergic to it.
These kinds of allergies and intolerances can occur in dogs as much as their masters, so certainly don’t rule it out.
As part of a healthy and balanced diet, there’s no harm whatsoever in tossing a slice or two of bread your dog’s way – but it should be seen as an infrequent indulgence, rather than a common part of their meals.
Bread does little more than just rest in your dog’s stomach, taking up space – it won’t offer him or her any energy or nutrition in any meaningful way, but luckily not cause them any harm either.
However, it’s human nature to do more with bread than simply serve it up alone, but plain white bread is actually the best bet for dogs in this instance.
Things like seeds, spreads and butter add extra complications that can make bread more harmful than good for your dog long term.
Dangers of bread for dogs
Many of the risks of feeding bread to your dog come from the fact that bread is often baked with additional ingredients that prove unhelpful, or even toxic, to your pet.
Before looking to those however, think also about how bread is being served to your pet overall.
If your pet gulps down lots of bread at once, or swallows a big crusty roll without chewing, the potential for choking and other internal blockages is very real.
Bread tends to compress into a surprisingly solid substance, can has the chance to obstruct your dog’s airways or even block the route to the stomach for other food to come down.
Introducing your dog to new food is always best done carefully, with smaller scraps and a bowl of water nearby in case any complications or dehydration arises.
However, keep in mind also how whatever kind of bread or roll you’re giving your dog was made.
Garlic bread should never be fed to dogs, for example. Garlic and onions contain compounds that are toxic to dogs, to such an extent that even exposure to onion powder or garlic powder can be just as dangerous as the real thing.
It only takes a small dose of this dangerous toxin to induce a high risk of anaemia in dogs too, so please remember this when enjoying garlic bread yourself – it’s not for the pooch, no matter how much he or she begs and gives you the guilty eyes.
Dogs can’t eat bread with raisins in either, as those come from grapes, and grapes are very toxic to dogs.
The likes of a currant bun or a sweetbread full of raisins is therefore off the menu for your dog altogether, as the neutral nature of the bread does nothing to diminish the toxicity that they might encounter eating this.
Naturally, choosing to give dogs bread that’s spread with or paired with something has to be done carefully.
Butter is fatty, chocolate spread is of course a definite no go, and some artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, can be fatally toxic to dogs.
Keep it to simple white slices when feeding your pup bread, and all ought to be fine.
How much bread can a dog eat daily?
For we human beings, it’s pretty ordinary to eat a fair amount of bread daily, unless certain dietary conditions require us not to.
Yet for dogs, bread ought to be far less a daily staple, and more the occasional treat.
Certainly, no more than a slice or two of plain white bread is more than enough for your dog, giving them a filling snack without risking too many of the carbohydrates building long term.
Thanks to how neutral bread can be altogether, a lot of people look to it as a home remedy for dogs with an upset stomach.
Similar to how it can help ease unsettled tummies in human beings, bread can indeed work wonders for dogs with afflictions of the stomach that need to be calmed down and soothed.
However, many experts believe that even more neutral dishes, like boiled plain white rice, offer even more value to your pet. As an aside, certainly be careful if your dog eats bread dough.
The dangers of dog eating bread dough are that their stomachs are actually capable of processing the yeast reaction inside them that normally happens when baking bread in an oven – but it also releases hugely dangerous chemicals, including ethanol, in the process.
If your dog eats bread dough, call your vet immediately before it can expand within them.
What to do if a dog eats bread
Dogs are very talented at getting to snacks their owners have tried to keep from them, and a particularly enterprising dog can quite cleverly tear through the outer packaging of a fresh white loaf and eat all of the bread in the house.
Luckily, doing so isn’t going to cause them much immediate danger, unless the bread contained the likes of raisins or garlic, or other flavourings.
Plain white bread doesn’t come recommended as a core ingredient in your dog’s diet, as much as it ought to be an occasional treat or something to offer on a whim if your dog’s hungrily watching you make a sandwich.
The high carbohydrate level in bread raises the risk of diabetes and obesity in your dog, but even if he or she has eaten an entire loaf of bread without your permission or behind your back, there’s no danger to fear.
Of course, if your dog is frequently stealing bread, they are putting themselves at the kind of long term risks you ought to discipline against and work to avoid.
Be aware of the potential choking hazard of your dog eating bread, in much the same way as you would keep an eye on them rapidly wolfing down any other new food that has them excited.
Likewise, if you’ve caught your dog after the criminal act and he or she is feeling bloated and full of bread, stay by their side to soothe their likely aching belly.
Dogs who overeat often become a touch moody and difficult to please, and just want to lie around until their upset tummy goes away.
There’s a risk of vomiting or some strange gurgling noises from their stomach, but luckily nothing severe or in need of professional help for.
It’s quite likely your dog has learned a valuable lesson about his or her limitations in gulping down whatever he or she comes across – especially with how filling bread can be for canines.
As long as you’re serving up plain white bread that’s not got any added raisins, garlic or fatty spreads and sandwich fillings, there’s no reason to keep bread away from your dog.
While dogs will get nothing nutritional from it, bread is useful to settle bad tummies or help them recover from being underweight – but in all cases, should be fed to dogs in moderation.
If you feed your dog too much bread, he or she will develop long term adverse effects thanks to the high carbohydrates within it. Stay sensible together though, and you’ve little to fear.