Can dogs eat Oreos?

The cookies we all know and love (with an optional glass of milk for dunking) sure are delicious, but can dogs eat Oreos? 

No, dogs should not eat Oreos. It’s well known that dogs will eat anything that they can get their mouths around!  However, they are not so good for our canine friends.

There are many cookies out there that will cause little, to no harm to dogs but Oreos contain a multitude of potentially harmful ingredients that do not agree with them.

If you want to get creative, there are tonnes of recipes available online for homemade dog cookies that will be a better option and go down as an absolute treat with your canine friend.

Let’s have a look at why they are not recommended for consumption and the risks it may have if ingested by a dog.

Table of Contents

What are Oreos?

Oreos are a trade name for a type of cookie manufactured by a company called Nabisco, with one of the most popular, Oreos, being the classic variety. The classic Oreo consists of two chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with a white cream filling – totally delicious (for humans!).

The Oreo was introduced to America in 1912 and has since developed a variety of flavors including peppermint, chocolate, and even birthday cake!

Are Oreos bad for dogs?

Oreos should not be given to dogs intentionally. If your dog consumes the odd Oreo cookie, it is unlikely to cause any substantial harm. However, chocolate is a toxic ingredient to dogs and although it is not found in large quantities in Oreos, it is not ideal for a dog to ingest any trace. 

The levels of toxicity are obviously increased the more Oreos that are consumed. Oreos also contain other ingredients which are either toxic or unsuitable for doggy consumption, with the main risky ingredients being:

Theobromine

This is the main toxic ingredient of chocolate and unfortunately, our canine friends seem to enjoy eating it a bit too much! 

If a human eats theobromine, it usually takes around 2 – 3 hours to be digested and excreted from the body. However, for a dog, it can take up to 18 hours to be metabolized. 

Within that period of time, theobromine can affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. Symptoms of theobromine poisoning can include:

  • Polydypsia (Increased thirst)
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Ataxia (loss of coordination)
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms

Caffeine

Whilst we may enjoy a morning cup of coffee and appreciate the way caffeine perks us up, it is not beneficial for dogs. 

Similar to chocolate ingestion, caffeine can cause hyperactivity, tachycardia (increased heart rate), and restlessness. More severe symptoms include:

Increased blood pressure

Also known as hypertension, increased blood pressure can lead to other serious health conditions in dogs. Conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and adrenal gland disease can all be caused by increased blood pressure.

Cardiac Arrhythmias

A dog’s heart rate should follow a steady, well-paced rhythm. Heart rates can change depending on the breed or size of the dog, but can vary between 50 – 160 beats per minute. 

Cardiac arrhythmias throw the heart rate out of its normal beat and can become irregular and sporadic. Arrhythmias can lead to episodes of fainting and disorientation.

Sugars

Guess what makes Oreos so delicious? Good old sugar. Whilst us humans may be able to kid ourselves that it’s okay to eat a whole packet of Oreos and not think about the sugar content, it’s a different story for dogs. 

In just one Oreo cookie, there is around 4.7grams of sugar! Too much sugar within a dogs diet can cause a multitude of health problems, including:

Diarrhea

Too much sugar can cause diarrhea in dogs by upsetting the balance of the bacteria and microorganisms found in the gut. Diarrhea is a watery or mucus-like feces and can sometimes be constant and even explosive – nice!

Dental Disease

An increased amount of sugar found within a dog’s diet can lead to dental disease. Sugar can cause an increased amount of cavities and damage the structure of the teeth.

Diabetes

Dogs are at additional risk of developing diabetes when high levels of sugar are included in their diets. 

Obesity

Obesity in dogs is actually a huge problem, not only in America, but worldwide. It is predicted that 25% – 30% of dogs in America are obese. 

Excess sugar in a dog’s diet can lead to fat deposits accumulating throughout the body. Obesity can then lead to other health problems including diabetes, joint issues, and arthritis.

Palm oil

Oreos contain palm oil which is a type of oil used as a mixing agent. The use of palm oil is not great for our planet, but it’s also not ideal for canine consumption. 

Whilst pure palm oil is relatively safe for our furry friends to consume, processed oil can often contain other toxins and even fuel waste!

Symptoms to look out for post Oreo ingestion

As previously stated, one Oreo is unlikely to cause any harm. However, if a large quantity of Oreos have been consumed, speak to your veterinary practice as soon as possible. Possible symptoms that may present include:

 

  • Hyperactivity: Your dog may show an increased amount of energy followed by a slump of depression
  • Increased respiration rate (Tachypneoa) 
  • Increased heart rate (Tachycardia)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Gastrointestinal upset/diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • In extreme cases, seizures 
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas organ resulting in abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating 

Abdominal bloating is an extremely serious condition, especially in large-breed dogs. If your dog shows signs of abdominal (tummy) bloat, along with signs of depression, lethargy, and unproductive vomiting, seek veterinary advice immediately.

My dog ate an Oreo, what should I do?

If your dog has eaten a single Oreo cookie, then do not panic. It is likely that you will see no side effects or reaction post-ingestion. If you are worried, then speak to your veterinary practice for advice. 

Mild gastro-intestinal symptoms may arise such as vomiting and diarrhea. Your dog may also appear more hyperactive than normal. If vomiting and diarrhea occur, then offer plenty of water and feed a bland diet such as chicken and white rice.

 

If your dog has eaten a whole packet of Oreos, then unfortunately this may cause a problem. Again, do not panic. Call your veterinary practice for advice on what they would like you to do. 

If the ingestion is recent, then emesis (vomiting) may be induced through the use of an emetic drug. The drug will cause your dog to vomit, thereby emptying their stomach of Oreos.

 

If the ingestion time is unknown, then your veterinary surgeon may have to run some diagnostic testing to determine if the body is having a any kind of reaction, and whether further action is necessary.

Can dogs eat Golden Oreos?

In a word, no. Dogs should not eat Golden Oreos. Golden Oreos are a different flavor in the Oreo range of cookies. The Golden Oreo does not contain chocolate and has a stronger vanilla-flavored center. 

Do not be fooled into thinking that golden Oreos are okay to feed dogs as they contain no chocolate. Whilst the risk of toxicity is reduced, golden Oreos still contain high levels of sugars, palm oil, and artificial flavorings, all of which are not good for our canine companions.

Alternatives to Oreos

There are a variety of alternatives to Oreos that will not only be safer, but substantially healthier for your pooch. 

There are lots of dog-friendly cookie recipes online which are quick and easy to make. Most recipes include wholewheat flour, fresh apples, a little dog-friendly peanut butter, and a small amount of honey.

 

Be wary of dental sticks or dental chews as a lot of them can contain high levels of sugars and fats.

A fantastic alternative to dental chews are dehydrated fish skins. These come in a variety of different forms such as knotted or filled with dried sweet potato. Not only do they help to keep your dog’s teeth clean, but they also have high levels of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids which will benefit their health.

Other additions to your pooch’s diet that can offer more nutritional benefit include carrots, papaya, okra, and basil.

Final thoughts on Oreos

There’s no getting away from the fact that Oreos are delicious and unfortunately, like many human foods, our canine friends enjoy them too. 

If your dog has pinched a single Oreo cookie, then do not be alarmed, just monitor for any adverse reactions and contact your veterinary surgeon if you are at all worried.

 

Remember that ingesting a substantial amount of Oreo cookies can be harmful to your dog and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, hyperactivity, and seizures. 

Always make sure to keep your sweet snacks up high and out of low cupboards that dogs can potentially break into. If you’re worried about your dog after they’ve eaten a large amount of Oreos, seek veterinary advice immediately

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