Graham crackers are a staple snack in most households. As such, it is inevitable that you have enjoyed them in the presence of your furry friend and even shared a piece or two with them.
Even the most cautious dog parents have fallen for the puppy eyes and shared graham crackers with their dogs, even without being sure whether they are safe for dogs.
Fortunately, dogs rarely show any ill effects after consuming these crackers, which begs the question: “Is it okay to give your dog graham crackers?”
Read on to find out.
What Are Graham Crackers?
These sweet and crumbly snacks have a long history, which dates back to the 1800s, when Sylvester Graham decided to make a healthful snack out of wheat berry flour, which is now known as graham flour.
However, unlike their modern-day counterparts, graham crackers of the past were not nearly as sweet, which meant that not too many people enjoyed them.
Several ingredients have been added to the modern-day graham crackers to make them delectable. By checking out these ingredients, you can have a better understanding of how this snack can affect your dog.
Nutritional Value of Graham Crackers
Graham crackers contain the following types of foods and ingredients.
High Carbohydrate Content
Humans are omnivorous, which means that they primarily rely on carbohydrates for energy. This is why we can tolerate high levels of carbohydrates in our foods. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which is then stored as fats to be used as energy during times of scarcity.
Dogs, on the other hand, are carnivorous, which means that their bodies evolved to get all their nutritional requirements from meat.
However, unlike cats, dogs are not obligate carnivores, meaning that they can tolerate certain carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits and veggies.
Dogs’ digestive systems, however, do not respond well to wheat-based carbohydrates, as they contain a high sugar content, and sugar has no nutritional value to a dog. In fact, sugar can cause health problems to a dog because its digestive system metabolizes sugar extremely slowly.
In addition to having a high carbohydrate content, wheat also contains gluten. Dogs have a problem digesting gluten, which is why most dogs have a gluten allergy.
If you are not sure whether your dog is allergic to gluten, watch what happens after it consumes foods containing gluten. Dogs who are allergic to gluten will start showing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea after eating gluten-based products.
The only beneficial thing about wheat to a dog is its vitamin B content, which is a minuscule quantity. As such, refrain from giving your dog foods that have gluten.
Graham crackers are laden with sugar, which is why some people like them so much. However, as mentioned, sugar does not benefit a dog in any way, and therefore, their systems are not designed to process it effectively.
Additionally, just as it is with humans, dogs can also develop a sugar addiction. Therefore, the more your dog eats foods that have high sugar content, the more they will crave such foods, which further increases the risk of health complications.
Graham crackers also have a fair amount of salt content to increase flavor. The problem, however, is that dogs have a low tolerance for salt. Eating too much salt can raise their blood pressure.
Potential Consequences of Giving Graham Crackers to Your Dog
A dog who regularly consumes graham crackers is at risk of the following complications:
Graham crackers have high sugar content, and since dogs are not adept at processing sugar, they can end up with a great deal of sugar in their blood, which may result in diabetes.
Just as it is the case with humans, eating too much carbohydrates can result in excess weight gain in dogs. Overweight dogs are at risk of serious health conditions, such as heart disease, due to the accumulation of fat in their blood vessels.
Additionally, excess weight strains the joints, thereby resulting in a dog who has difficulty moving. This can seriously affect your dog’s quality of life.
Due to its inability to process carbohydrates and sugars properly, a dog’s digestive system might respond by increasing the production of digestive enzymes. Unfortunately, having excess digestive juices can have an adverse effect on the stomach and bowel, which can result in ulcers and gastritis.
Unless you brush your dog’s teeth after every meal, eating foods that have high sugar content can result in a host of dental issues. These include bad breath, cavities, and loss of teeth. Additionally, gum tissues can also get infections.
As mentioned, most dogs are allergic to gluten. Even if your dog does not have this allergy, consuming graham crackers regularly can eventually result in the development of that allergy.
Are Graham Crackers that Bad for Dogs?
As the old saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” Sure, a single graham cracker will not do much to your dog. The problem is them having too many.
Unlike chocolate, graham crackers are not toxic to dogs, meaning that your furry friend can indulge in them once in a while, but only as a treat.
Featured Image Credit: Scott Akerman, Flickr