Crashing on the couch with your favorite movie playing as you shovel handfuls of chips into your mouth truly is one of the most satisfying guilty pleasures we humans have. It gets even better as your dog comes to lay on the couch with you for a snuggle.
It is no secret that they crave both our attention as well as the whole bag of Doritos we have been enjoying. But can dogs eat Doritos? Should we share the bag of Cool Ranch with them? Find out as we discuss Doritos and its potential effects on dogs.
So Can Dogs Eat Doritos?
Can dogs eat Doritos? The short answer is: they shouldn't. If your healthy dog eats a few chips of Doritos, he or she should be fine. Encourage your pup to drink fresh water in small amounts at frequent intervals.
However, in cases where dogs accidentally eat Doritos in large amounts in one sitting, we recommend contacting your vet right away. This is due to the risk of sodium/ salt poisoning. Moreover, if you feed Doritos regularly or even just one chip or two on a weekly basis, it could eventually make your dog sick.
The high sodium content of chips alone can also cause urinary or kidney problems if your dog eats chips like Doritos regularly or if a large helping is consumed. Kidney disease is irreversible and could greatly impact a dog’s quality of life. Not to mention, it is not that easy to find non-prescription dog foods that can be safe for dogs with urinary or kidney problems.
Food made specifically for dogs suffering from such health issues can be expensive or hard to find. So save yourself and your dog from the expensive food and vet bills, and never let your dogs eat Doritos.
What is in Doritos?
Doritos are highly processed corn tortilla chips that are a staple in every Super Bowl party. Composed of about 30 ingredients, Doritos is packed with a lot of artificial flavoring and colors, but it is mainly made of corn and vegetable oil. Not that it ever claimed to be a highly nutritious human food.
The birthplace of the original Doritos chips recipe is none other than the kitchens of Casa de Fritos – a restaurant in Disneyland that was owned by Frito-Lay. One day in 1964, the workers of Casa de Fritos decided to fry leftover tortillas and give them a good amount of seasoning. The rest is history.
From the simple beginnings of the original Doritos recipe, the well-loved tasty triangles have evolved into quite the scientific marvel that it is today. If you have been wondering why you could easily demolish a whole bag of Doritos Nacho Cheese and find it not as easy to consume a sizable chunk of meat, this is due to the “vanishing caloric density” phenomenon.
Steven Witherly, a food scientist who wrote the book, “Why Humans Like Junk Food,” explains the phenomenon as “If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.” Doritos tortilla chips also contain lactic and citric acids which awaken your salivary glands and make you want to eat more. Many chips of other brands also contain these ingredients.
Can Dogs Eat Doritos? Reasons to Avoid Feeding Doritos to Your Dog
So what can happen if your dogs eat Doritos? Here are several factors about Doritos and other chips or junk food that should make you think twice before giving in to your dogs’ begging.
Risk of Sodium Poisoning
Dog food does not generally contain added salt or has significantly less salt than what we humans are accustomed to eating. As such, dogs' bodies, particularly their kidneys are not used to processing too much salt.
Sudden ingestion of a fairly large amount of sodium can overwork the kidneys or cause salt poisoning, salt toxicity, hypernatremia, or water deprivation–sodium ion intoxication. So letting your dog eat Doritos or foods with too much salt could give your pup’s organs a heap of salt that it is not accustomed to getting.
Foods with high salt content can put vital organs such as the kidneys and liver in danger. One of the effects of damage to the liver or bladder is abnormal fluid accumulation in the abdomen. It is painful and makes it harder for dogs to breathe.
According to Dr. Larry J. Thompson of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology, salt poisoning results in vomiting within several hours of ingestion of excessive amounts of salt. The clinical signs can progress to weakness, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and seizures.
If your dog ate a considerably large helping of Doritos from an unattended bag, make sure that fresh water is accessible to her and contact your vet right away.
While corn may be present in a lot of budget commercial brands of dog food, it is not the healthiest carb or fiber source for dogs. Many dogs have developed allergies to corn as this cheap filler has been used in countless pet food products for decades.
Putting your pup on a diet that is very heavy on carb sources like corn, corn flour, or wheat can cause protein deficiency. This can lead to heart diseases and various other health problems.
If your dog is allergic to grains like corn, eating Doritos could cause itchy rashes on her skin, itchy paws, or ear infections. That said, if your dog is not allergic to corn, it does not mean that she can safely eat chips like Doritos on a regular basis. These junk foods have many other ingredients that could be harmful to dogs’ health.
Artificial Colors/ Artificial Flavors
Doritos contain artificial colors and preservatives. While the information on artificial colors’ effects on dogs is not exactly conclusive, what we know is that they give no nutritional benefits at all to our pets. Aside from making food more visually appealing to us humans, it serves no purpose to dogs at all.
You will find information about certain artificial food dyes that are said to be carcinogens. There have been reports of certain food dyes being linked to allergy-type symptoms, behavior problems, and cancer in humans and animals. However, some studies say that the quality, digestibility, and nutrition of the product are unaffected by the use of artificial colors.
The FDA continuously reviews all food colors for safety and has only approved less than ten artificially made food colors. While there is no definitive evidence that shows there artificial colors or food dyes have a negative effect on dogs’ health, we feel that there is no harm in avoiding foods that contain them to prevent any potential health risks to our dogs.
Dogs don’t benefit from dyes and don’t really care what their food looks like, so there really is no point in feeding them food dye-laden junk food.
Garlic and Onion Powder
Onion, chives, leeks, and garlic should not be part of a dog’s diet whether in raw, cooked, or powdered form. While a very small amount of garlic sometimes found in pet treats is not likely to cause harm to your pets, ingesting them in large or chronic amounts could cause Heinz body formation, anemia, and poisoning, according to Pet Poison Helpline.
MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets says that Heinz body formation in red blood cells is due to oxidative damage, and results in severe hemolytic anemia in dogs. Doritos contain both garlic and onion powders. The amount of these seasonings in bags of both the Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos is quite likely significantly more than the small amounts of garlic that may sometimes be present in pet food products.
Onion dip is a no go as well. Aside from onion powder and garlic powder, these dips are high in fat and full of artificial flavors and preservatives. Not to mention, many dogs are lactose intolerant, and dairy-based treats can cause loose stools, gas, and other digestive health problems.
Signs Your Dog Ingested Dangerous Amounts of Foods with Onion or Garlic
- Onion/garlic smell on breath
- Pale mucus membranes (due to anemia)
- Elevated respiratory rate
- Elevated heart rate
- Reduced appetite
If a fairly large helping of Nacho Cheese Doritos is bad, Flamin’ Hot Doritos or any of their spicier variants are much worse for your dog. Spicy foods can be toxic to pets. They can cause damage to dogs’ gastrointestinal tract.
Spicy foods can give your pup stomach pain, diarrhea, gas, and vomiting. Even if your pup seems to enjoy a chip or two from your bag of hot sauce-flavored chips or Doritos, it is not worth risking a painful ordeal and damage to your dog’s digestive system. Giving Doritos or any spicy food for that matter should be avoided at all times.
Like all junk foods, Doritos is quite highly-processed. This means that whatever natural ingredients it has, like corn, for example, have been stripped of most of their nutritional value. While one may argue that much like Doritos, dry food is also highly-processed and has a long list of ingredients, Doritos does not have vitamin and mineral supplements added back after cooking.
If you look at the ingredient list of kibbles or dry food, you’ll find that they include a lot of nutrients listed such as vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, etc. This is because a good amount of the nutrients naturally present in the meat and plant-based ingredients in dog food get cooked away during processing. Pet food manufacturers need to add supplements after cooking to ensure that the food is nutritionally complete and balanced for dogs.
Because chips like Doritos offer no nutritional value to our furry canine companions, it is not worth sharing the bag of chips with them. They can cause more harm and contribute absolutely nothing positive to their health when your dog eats them.
Healthy Alternatives to Doritos
Now that we have established that Doritos should not be given to dogs, we have collated the following dog treats and snack foods to give you a better idea of the healthier options for dogs.
Crunchy Dog Biscuits/ Cookies
There are countless options for dogs who enjoy munching on crunchy treats. Let your dog happily eat biscuits made of dog-friendly ingredients. Dog biscuits or cookies come in a wide variety of flavors and sizes. From fish to chicken, to exotic meats and peanut butter and fruits, you name it, there is a dog treat in every flavor your dog loves.
If you have a sensitive dog, fear not. Crunchy biscuits do not necessarily mean they are made of corn or wheat. There are numerous healthy treat variants like grain-free biscuits that you can get for your pup. There are also limited-ingredient biscuits formulated for very sensitive dogs, not to mention some prescription treats as well.
Want something special for your pup’s birthday? You can get freshly baked cookies made just for dogs from specialty dog bakeries. These treats are typically made in small batches with fresh, human-grade ingredients.
You can find these boutique dog bakeries in your community or online. Large pet retailers now carry baked goodies for dogs that you can easily have delivered straight to your home.
Dogs enjoy gnawing on dental treats. Just like dog biscuits and cookies, dental sticks come in a wide variety of brands and options. You can buy dental treats according to your dog’s weight or breed size. Grain-free and other options are also available on the market.
Dental treats are not only loved by dogs, but they also help clean their teeth. Its hard, crunchy texture is designed to scrape dogs' teeth, help reduce tartar and prevent tooth decay.
However, dogs are not supposed to have a lot of dental sticks in one day. Make sure that you check the feeding guide on the packaging of the dental treats. Some brands recommend just one dental stick per day.
Freeze-dried/ Dehydrated Treats
Depending on the brand, some freeze-dried or dehydrated treats offer a crunchy, high-value treat for dogs. Some brands make thin and crispy chicken breast fillets, beef liver, pork liver, and other meats or organ meats. You can also find jerky-like versions of the same animal ingredients.
These treats are meaty and give your pup a lot of nutrients in a piece. Not only do most dogs enjoy them, but it is also packed with amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
You can also buy freeze-dried or air-dried food for dogs that have a high meat content. If your dog consumes more than her daily treat allowance, no need to worry. These nutritionally complete and balanced foods can be given in meal-sized portions. They can be served as a complete meal, topper, or treats. So let your dog eat a morsel or two more.
These nutrient-dense foods are commonly high-protein and low-glycemic. They are ideal for helping your dog maintain a healthy weight. The complete opposite of salty foods like corn chips, these meals for dogs are packed with multiple health benefits.
Bones, Chews, and Bully Sticks
Bones and bully sticks appeal to dogs of all ages. They not only love the flavor but also keep them preoccupied. Chews such as pig ears, lamb ears, beef tendon, and even sweet potatoes are packed with flavor and are usually not as hard as bones. Like the bully stick, these natural chews soften as your dog chews on them.
If your dog is below 6 months old, avoid giving hard chews like bones or dental treats. These could damage their baby teeth. Opt for bully sticks, collagen sticks, ears, or sweet potato chews that soften with puppies’ saliva.
Not only are these types of treats natural, but they also help clean the teeth. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), bones are rich in minerals and help satisfy dogs’ appetites. The act of chewing promotes healthy gums as it stimulates saliva enzymes and helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth and gum disease.
Keep in mind that dogs must be supervised when given bones or anything that could potentially be a choking hazard. Larger dogs should also be given large-sized chews or bones to help prevent choking. If the bone has been reduced to a small piece, throw it out.
Do not give your dog cooked bones as they splinter way more than raw or dehydrated bones. Try limiting chewing time to around 15 minutes only, then take the bone away and refrigerate it. Doing this to puppies helps train them to have snack manners. It lets them know that it is ok for you to take food away from them and discourages food aggression.
Training your dog helps them understand the boundaries that you set. It prevents developing a habit of food snatching or going into areas of the house they are not supposed to be, like the pantry or spice cabinet.
Keep a Regular Feeding Schedule
Consistent food or meal times can help with house training puppies or newly adopted adult pups. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, feeding dogs at regular times provides the security and predictability of a routine. A consistent feeding schedule can help dogs cope with changes in the household.
A simple change in their diet can disrupt their digestion. Switching food brands completely without transitioning is known to cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and/or vomiting. So gradually transition your pup to any new food.
If changing dog food brands have the potential to cause digestive problems, a serving of Doritos, potato chips, and other junk foods can have detrimental effects on your dog’s routine and overall health.
With so many dog treat options, there is no reason to give in to your pet’s puppy dog begging eyes every time you open a bag of Doritos. To keep our furry friends happy and healthy for years to come, we as pet parents need to provide them with foods that will not put their health and wellbeing at risk.
Protect your dog’s stomach, kidneys, and overall health by making sure that foods like Doritos and other items that are not safe for them are secured in areas inaccessible to them. Unlike humans who crave less nutritious comfort food most of the time, high-value treats and food made with high-quality ingredients are tremendously enjoyed by dogs.
Foods made from natural, less-processed ingredients are vital in ensuring that your healthy dog maintains her good health. This, combined with proper exercise and the appropriate amount of activities, your dog can remain youthful and without many health issues well into his senior years.
There is no need to keep your pup on a diet that consists of only dog food. You can enhance your dog’s food with veggies, fruits, lean meats, and/ or fish. Unsalted broths from boiled meats such as chicken can also be poured over dogs’ meals to make them more appetizing.
As a responsible dog parent, we should give them food that is not only delicious and highly palatable for them, but also good for their bodies so we can enjoy our furry friends’ company for a long time.