Crackers have a good reputation for us, humans, as far as health and comfort are concerned.
A piece of cracker can easily crack our boredom, fill in our tummies and help us get through a busy day, or just simply be there to accompany us as we kill time with our pooch.
And since they look pretty much like dog treats, there’s no wonder why our pup likes them, too. But, can dogs eat crackers?
This basic human snack can be flexible as far as its taste is concerned. And that’s why we can often see it in a cocktail table topped with fancy ingredients just like tuna salad, sour, cream, and onion, seafood mix, and even a spoonful of caviar.
Additionally, there are different types of crackers, with flavors ranging from plain and unsalted to sweet, creamy, and the list goes on.
Many crackers are also filled with some of the most loved human foods such as chocolate, peanut butter, and garlic and cheese.
With the endless possibilities of this humble human food, it’s very much likely that our dog will gobble on one or two pieces occasionally.
And if that’s the case, there won’t really be a problem, unless, of course, the crackers are filled or topped with toxic ingredients such as garlic, onion, alcohol, macadamia nuts, hummus, ranch, chocolate, and so on.
Hence, answering this question may not be as straightforward as you expect it to be since there are several factors that we need to consider to arrive at a decision.
Nonetheless, we will answer all common questions surrounding dogs and crackers in this article, just like, “How about unsalted crackers? Can these flavorless crackers possibly hurt your dog?”
Can Dogs Eat Crackers?
Yes, dogs can eat crackers. However, just like other human foods, you should only give it in moderation and occasionally. This means, that it’s best to treat it as a reward or dog treat.
And you should only give small amounts of crackers at a time. Additionally, crackers shouldn’t be a regular part of your dog’s diet since they are generally just empty calories that are devoid of nutritional benefits for your pup.
Crackers are made of flour and water with relatively small quantities of shortening, and again, they don’t have nutritional value to dogs.
Giving your dog something that will only contribute to his daily caloric intake without giving added nutrition would only lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems such as food allergies, high sodium in his diet, and poor nutrition.
While a piece of cracker is safe for dogs to eat, we simply can’t undermine the fact that it’s also not good for dogs to enjoy.
What’s worse, is if they’ll become accustomed to eating this unhealthy treat that they would always ask and even hunt for more. This anticipation for crackers other than their usual dog food may eventually lead to poor eating habits.
Are Crackers Toxic to Dogs?
Much has been said already about crackers, but there is still much to tell. On the surface, they may look us healthy human snacks because of their thin and fairly small sizes.
And oftentimes, our human perception of healthy food is that which won’t cause weight gain and other weight-related issues.
Growing up, we’ve seen several TV commercials praising crackers for their health benefits and positive contribution to one’s weight loss journey. So, it’s easy to think that it’s a good idea to give crackers to our pups, and we can’t blame you for that.
However, as dog owners, we shouldn’t simply apply these beliefs and prejudices as automatically applicable with our furry companions.
At the end of the day, our pups would simply eat what we feed them, and they could also sneak into our foods if they find them appealing. And again, by the way, crackers look, it’s understandable why dogs can be attracted to them.
While crackers don’t generally contain toxic ingredients that can be harmful to your dog, they are only made of flour, sugar, and water.
Most often, they are also seasoned with too much salt. Sometimes, they are also filled with fatty components. And we are aware that too much sodium and fat in our dog’s diet is dangerous for their health.
Another potential problem that may arise when you are feeding crackers to your dog is allergy or intolerance to gluten. If your pup has this problem, you should never give him crackers as these can give him an upset stomach.
Other symptoms that you should watch out for include chronic ear infections, diarrhea, poor hair and coat, skin issues, obsessive licking of feet, and inability to thrive.
What is Sodium Poisoning?
The carbohydrate content and lack of nutritional value of crackers are not the only reasons why we shouldn’t be feeding these wheat treats to our pet dogs. Another red flag is the amount of salt that they contain.
And the thing is, even if we become more responsible by checking the label, it’s also easy for us to interpret the figures as safe for our pets, especially if we are not cognizant about the healthy amount of salt, fat, and sugar that should be in our dog’s food.
It doesn’t mean that just because the salt content is low and safe for human consumption, then, it’s also safe for our pups. A dog’s body functions differently and it doesn’t process food the same way as a human body.
Also, dogs already receive their daily dose of sodium in their dog food. So, added sodium would be detrimental to their health already.
Intake of too much salty foods would only make dogs excessively thirsty, and would make them drink water more than usual.
A large amount of salt in their diet can lead to sodium ion poisoning, which can even result in death in more serious cases.
Symptoms of sodium poisoning that you should watch out for include:
- Lack of appetite
While your dog would have to eat large quantities of crackers regularly before he will experience these symptoms, this condition is still not something that we should take lightly. And besides, the fact remains that too much sodium is bad for your dog’s health.
Hence, if you notice any of these symptoms or any changes in his behavior, it’s best to consult your veterinarian immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Saltine Crackers?
Saltine contains a lot of salt, and compared to us, humans, a dog’s daily recommended salt intake is much lower.
Also, what is safe for human consumption doesn’t mean that it’s also safe for dogs. As mentioned earlier, dogs don’t need added sodium in their diet from eating crackers and other salty foods.
And again, while it won’t hurt your dog to give him one or two saltine crackers occasionally, these won’t give him any beneficial nutrients, either. And what’s more, it can alter his eating habit and appetite, which can negatively affect his nutrition eventually.
Can Dogs Eat Unsalted Crackers?
The term unsalted may somewhat give you the impression that it is safe for your pup since it doesn’t contain the primary ingredient that is problematic for dogs, but is it really safe? And is it absolutely free from salt?
While it is true that unsalted crackers don’t have salt lurking on their surface, they still contain sodium, which you can easily see when you check the label. And as mentioned earlier, your dog doesn’t need added sodium in his diet since he is already getting enough of it just by eating his kibbles and/or wet foods.
But of course, these crackers contain lesser sodium than other types of crackers – so, that can be a good thing. Nonetheless, the same rule applies and that’s you should only give these to your pup in moderation.
Can Dogs Eat Graham Crackers?
Compared with saltine and other types of crackers, graham crackers are obviously larger. So, you have to consider that when you compare the nutrition facts, because if not, you can easily assume that graham crackers have more sodium than saltine crackers.
One piece of saltine cracker (3 g) contains 28 mg of sodium, while one piece of graham crackers (15 g) has 69 mg of sodium. If you won’t consider the minor detail, it’s clear that one saltine cracker has lesser sodium content than one graham cracker.
However, taking their size difference into account, one piece of graham cracker is equivalent to five pieces of saltine crackers. Hence, if we both have 15 grams for each type of cracker, then, 5 pieces of saltine (15 g) would have a total of 140 mg of sodium.
So, now, we can say that based on their sodium content, 3 grams of graham crackers would only have 13.8 mg of sodium compared to the 28 mg of sodium in a piece of saltine cracker. However, while a piece of graham cracker contains lesser sodium, it does have more sugar and carbohydrates.
As pet parents, it’s basic knowledge to avoid feeding our pups sugary foods or treats since these can only put them at risk for obesity, diabetes, heart problems, dental diseases, and a lot more.
Can Dogs Eat Wheat Crackers?
Assuming your dog doesn’t have gluten intolerance, then, he can safely eat one or two pieces of wheat crackers occasionally. However, it’s better if you don’t offer these crackers at all because they are typically high in sodium, fat, and carbohydrates.
How About Crackers With Seeds?
Some seeds are toxic to dogs and are a choking hazard, while some are generally safe. So, it depends on what type of seeds are on the crackers.
Sesame seeds are safe for dogs to eat, so it’s fine to give your pup crackers with sesame seeds in moderation. Another type of seed that can be seen on crackers is poppy seeds.
Unfortunately, these seeds are toxic to dogs, so, by all means, you should avoid giving crackers with poppy seeds to your pup.
A study showed that one gram of edible poppy seeds contains around 0.5 to 10 micrograms of morphine. Hence, to be on the safe side, you should keep away even a small serving of these crackers from your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Flavored Crackers?
There are a lot of flavored crackers out there, so, it’s impossible to list all of them in this article. Questions like, “can dogs eat cheese crackers”, “can dogs eat butter crackers”, “can dogs eat shrimp crackers,” “can dogs eat Ritz crackers” “can dogs eat Belvita crackers” and “can dogs eat cream crackers” are just some of the famous inquiries. However, in general, flavored crackers contain too much salt and they may also have ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
You must know what flavors and ingredients are not safe for your pup, so, you won’t end up giving him even a small amount of these potentially poisonous crackers. In particular, stay away from crackers with garlic, onion, and artificial sweeteners like Xylitol or Birch Sugar.
Other common flavored crackers that you should avoid are honey crackers, lemon chickpea crackers, and crackers with pepper.
These three flavors are not toxic to your pup, but they are unhealthy and they may contain other ingredients with them that are harmful to your dog.
What Dog Treats Should You Give Your Dog?
If you are looking for a safe treat for your pup, your best option is to look for a high-quality treat that is specially formulated for dogs.
Don’t head on to the crackers section at your local grocery store. Instead, check out the pet stores near you, or better yet, ask your nearest vet for veterinary advice.
In general, crackers are not toxic to dogs, but they are not healthy, too for your furry companion. Hence, it’s best to keep these human treats to yourself.
You may even want to hide your crackers away from your dog’s sight and reach, especially if they contain toxic ingredients as mentioned earlier in this article.
Also, crackers are generally empty calories for your dog, and they are high in salt, sugar, and fat. And some crackers may also contain far more carbohydrates and salt than what your dog needs.
Giving your dog crackers regularly as treats is not advisable as they don’t offer any nutritional value to your pup.
These salty, sugary, and unhealthy wheat treats will only cause health problems to your dog starting from obesity, diabetes, dental issues, and malnutrition.
However, if you are still eyeing human foods to give as healthy treats or snacks to your dog, you may want to try fruits and vegetables, instead.
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