As far as scrumptious guilty pleasures go, they don’t come much sweeter or more indulgent than donuts.
Whether they’re filled with cream or jam or iced with layers of sugary creamy deliciousness, they’re bound to catch the eye of dogs and dog owners alike.
But as we bite down into the soft, sweet treat, your pooch might be giving you an optimistic eye. You may well wonder – can dogs eat donuts?
Are donuts good for dogs?
Although many foods that humans find nourishment from are bad for dogs, their digestive systems are not so different from their human masters that they can get away with eating those things that are bad for us.
In fact, it’s likely that dogs have sensitive enough senses, stomachs and digestive systems that they suffer all the more for indulging in this way.
Donuts are man-made, and many human-made foods are often much more difficult for dogs to deal with in the first place – so this becomes quite the thorny issue.
Nonetheless, dogs find donuts just as delicious as their human masters do, and you’ll find that your pooch certainly doesn’t need any encouragement in terms of being offered one to eat.
It’s safe to say that if dogs had their way in writing this article, they’d try and pull the wool over our eyes and say they can eat as many donuts as they like!
Luckily their loving owners are here to keep them on the straight and narrow though – donuts should be considered a very, very rare treat indeed.
This isn’t just because of the sugar content, but also the way in which donuts are deep-fried in oil.
While it does wonders for their flavor, it also means that they’re high in the kinds of fats that dogs just can’t help but find difficult to digest. It doesn’t take many donuts to lead to a pudgy pooch.
This alone is bad enough, but it’s rare indeed that a donut would be served to anyone without some sort of coating of sugar or other flavorings, and that only adds to the complications for your pet.
So yes, while a dog can certainly eat a donut and enjoy it, he or she is not going to absorb any kind of nutrition or dietary value from doing so. And of course, unfortunately, the same applies to we human beings too!
Dangers of donuts for dogs
Perhaps the most immediately apparent dangers of dogs eating donuts come from the sheer calorie content they hold.
These aren’t bodybuilding, energizing calories either, but rather the kind that build up and entirely overpower your pooch’s health and well being.
Dogs deal with the likes of sugars and fats far less efficiently than humans do, and even the biggest breeds of dogs need fewer calories than their masters to make it through the day.
With canine obesity already on the rise, it stands to reason that the kind of weight gain a dog who regularly eats donuts can suffer can create some serious complications to his or her quality of life.
For example, weight gain in and of itself is often depressing for the dog suffering from it. It slows them down and makes it much harder for him or her to enjoy the kinds of fun activities a more limber pup can get behind.
More than this, weight gain in dogs is often linked to the development of diabetes, just like for human beings.
And just like for human beings, this is a malady that seriously complicates a dog’s dietary needs and overall ability to enjoy life – although it can be nurtured and taken care of with the help of a loving owner.
It’s still better left avoided though, as are many of the complications that the massive sugar content of donuts brings to your dog’s systems.
For one thing, tooth decay and toothache overall can be caused by excessive sugar consumption, and dogs are also sufferers of the same sugar highs and awful sugar crashes their human masters have.
In especially poorly dogs these kinds of afflictions can also lead to complications with the pancreas and with urination, and worse still, can evolve into complex, life-threatening diseases.
This is all before we get to the nasty complications that flavorings and coatings for donuts can give to your dog.
Hopefully, it is already apparent to most dog owners that chocolate donuts, donuts with chocolate cream filling or even donuts that have some chocolate sprinkles scattered about on top are entirely off the menu. Chocolate is too toxic to dogs to risk feeding them it, in any form.
Yet a lesser-known threat is the commonly used sweetener, xylitol – which makes so many of our human sweet treats delicious – is horribly toxic for dogs.
It’s hard to tell which donuts this could be in, so tread with caution – keep such treats as plain as possible, or avoid donuts altogether if you’re especially worried.
How many donuts can a dog eat daily?
Well, we shall get the most immediate concern out of the way first off – there is no reason why any dog owner should feel the need to let their pet have donuts daily.
However, for the sake of argument, realistically a dog could eat no more than a donut per day.
This is still likely to lead to some longer-term weight gain and overall nastiness in terms of side effects and health though, so please be careful.
It’s advised that donuts are given to your dog as infrequently as possible, if at all – while a dog is always grateful and happy to receive one, it’s not the kind of thing they should make a habit of eating.
Of course, even if you do hand over a donut to your dog, it’s best to make sure it doesn’t present a choking hazard – some dogs get a bit trigger happy in wolfing down bigger foodstuffs whole, and a choking hazard might well ensue.
Cut or break the donut down into pieces, and better still, only give one of those smaller pieces to your dog rather than the whole donut – it’ll work out better in the long run.
What to do if your dog eats a donut
Dogs never fail to surprise us, and sometimes it’s in ways that make us panic at how they’ve cheerfully put themselves in harm’s way.
You might feel that same chill down your spine if you find your dog has knocked a bag of donuts free from the kitchen counter and has buried his or her head into the spilled sugary goodness within.
A dog will demolish a bag of donuts in no time, and you have to think fast to ascertain if your pet is in any danger.
Firstly, were these donuts chocolate, or in some way flavored with it? If so, you’re advised to seek the assistance of your vet – the same if you know the donuts have been sweetened with xylitol, the artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
In other cases though, you’re instead likely to find that your dog is going to have a frenzied sugar rush, followed by a harsh sugar crash in which he or she will be grumpy and unresponsive, and then finally quite the unpleasant tummy upset.
In many cases, a dog who has severely overindulged in donuts and other sweet treats will throw up, unable to process the sheer amount of sugar and other chemicals attacking their system.
Other times, your dog might instead suffer through the stomach ache and develop diarrhea thereafter, so make sure he or she has good and frequent access to the outdoors to sort out business. This can be a disastrous mess if it’s let loose in the home!
Make sure you find ways in which your dog cannot repeat this behavior, as gorging on donuts time and time again is guaranteed to lead to complications in your pet’s health that they don’t deserve to suffer from.
But of course, with such a great flavor and enjoyable texture to enjoy, donuts are always going to tempt your dog – there’s no getting around it. Stay strong for them!
If dogs had their way, they’d have donuts every day of the week and find a way of getting out of the side effects – but sadly, they don’t have that kind of sway over things.
Donuts are instead a high sugar, high calorie treats that your pet really must make sure to only enjoy sparingly.
The amount of sugar in just one donut is far and beyond the daily recommended allowance for your pet, and by eating them consistently, your dog puts themselves at risk of weight gain, diabetes, and even tooth decay.
Consider also that flavors and coatings like chocolate, or artificial sweeteners like xylitol, only further pump up the risks further – so be careful.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.