Are pretzels safe for dogs?

Can dogs eat pretzels?

Can dogs have pretzels? In short, no, dogs should not be allowed to eat pretzels.

Pretzels contain ingredients that can be harmful to a dog’s health, including high levels of sodium, excessive carbohydrates, and additional flavorings.

Let’s look at why pretzels are not the most beneficial snack to offer your precious pooch.

Table of Contents

What are pretzels?

Pretzels come in a variety of different variations. Some pretzels are similar to bread and are baked from dough, whereas others are crunchy in texture, similar to a potato chip.

Pretzels originate from Germany and are characteristically tied in a knot shape, with the long ends of the dough intertwined and twisted to make a knot-like loop. There are a variety of different flavorings and seasonings that are now enjoyed across the world.

Are pretzels good for dogs?

No, pretzels are not good for dogs and ingestion should be avoided. Pretzels contain little to no nutritional benefits for dogs. Dogs should be fed a well-rounded diet that provides all of the goodness that they require for day-to-day activities. Diets should be changed depending on the dog’s life stage and its neutered status. If you are unsure about what diet to feed your dog or would like to create your own homemade diet, speak with your veterinary surgeon or a canine nutritionist to ensure they are getting everything that they need. Suggested reading: How many treats can my dog have a day?

Are pretzels safe for dogs?

No, pretzels are not safe for dogs to consume. 

It can be easy to routinely offer human foods to your dog, and many owners often share small amounts of their meals with their beloved canines. 

However, this can cause a number of different problems including malnutrition, the potential for toxins to be ingested, and diabetes.

If a small amount of pretzel is ingested by your dog, it is unlikely to cause any harm. However, if a dog is continually offered pretzels or eats them in large amounts, health problems can potentially occur.

Are pretzels bad for dogs?

Yes, if eaten in large quantities, pretzels can be bad for a dog’s health. Pretzels contain a variety of ingredients that can cause harm to your dog.

High levels of sodium: 

Pretzels contain high levels of sodium (salt). Sodium is important within a dog’s diet and aids in functions such as muscle and nerve performance. However, high levels of sodium can cause significant health problems. In the United States, the recommended amount of sodium per day for a human is around 2,500mg, in comparison to a dog’s recommended amount of around 5 mg per kg of body weight. For example, a 15 kg dog (the weight of your average spaniel) only requires around 75 mg of sodium on a daily basis. The average pretzel bread contains around 1615 mg of sodium, with the smaller pretzel chips containing around 75 mg of sodium – this is substantially more than any dog should be allowed to consume!

If a dog eats a large amount of sodium, symptoms can occur including:

  • Dehydration
  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Polydipsia (Increased thirst)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Sodium Poisoning

High levels of carbohydrates

Pretzels contain high levels of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are an important component in a dog’s diet, helping to provide plenty of energy and a good source of dietary fiber. However, having too many carbohydrates in their diet can cause health issues that can be detrimental. An increased intake of carbohydrates has the potential to cause: Obesity: Dogs can become obese, meaning that their bodies contain high levels of fat deposits. If you cannot feel the outline of your dog’s spine and ribs or they do not have a defined waist, they may be overweight. Obesity can cause secondary issues, such as arthritis, due to the pressure placed on joints. Speak with your veterinary surgeon if you are worried that your dog is obese. Cancer: An increased carbohydrate intake can cause some types of cancers. Cancer is a disease that causes health issues due to the division of abnormal cells. Some cancers can be treated, whereas others can be fatal. Diabetes: Dogs are at an increased risk of diabetes if they consume a large amount of carbohydrates. Diabetes is a condition where the body struggles to regulate glucose (sugar) levels within the blood. This often needs to be controlled with medication. Increased carbohydrates can cause other symptoms, including:
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
Bloating is a serious condition in large-breed dogs. If you notice a swollen abdomen, seek veterinary care immediately.  

What is sodium poisoning?

Sodium poisoning is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur following increased consumption of salt. This can affect dogs in different ways but should be treated with the same urgency regardless of symptoms. 

Sodium poisoning symptoms include:

  • Pyrexia (fever)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Coma
  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Seizures
  • Abdominal pain

If your dog is diagnosed with sodium poisoning, they will most likely need to be admitted to a hospital for treatment. Treatment options usually consist of intravenous fluid therapy, pain relief, and supportive medications.

In severe cases where swelling on the brain may occur, medications can be used to help to reduce excessive swelling and remove fluid from the brain.

Can dogs eat peanut butter pretzels?

No, dogs should not be offered peanut butter pretzels. Pretzels can come in a variety of flavors and even though dogs can eat peanut butter, they should not be allowed to eat peanut butter pretzels.

Not only do the pretzels contain high levels of ingredients that are not healthy for dogs, but the added sugars and salts from the peanut butter can also cause further health problems when combined with a pretzel.

Can dogs eat flavored pretzels?

There are a variety of different flavors of pretzels that are available to purchase. Regardless of the flavor of pretzel, they should not be offered to your dog.

Sweet pretzels: Pretzels that contain chocolate or raisins should not be given to dogs, both are toxic if ingested.

Xylitol is an ingredient that is often found in sweet foods and is also toxic to dogs.

If your dog has eaten pretzels that contain chocolate, raisins, or xylitol, speak with your veterinary practice as soon as possible.

Savory pretzels: Pretzels are often served in a savory form and can include ingredients such as garlic, onion, and cheese.

Garlic and onions are toxic to dogs and veterinary advice should be sought after immediately if they are ingested.

Whilst cheese is not toxic, it contains high levels of fats which can cause health problems if ingested continuously.

Can dogs eat pretzel sticks?

No, dogs should not eat pretzel sticks. Pretzels are available in both bread and chip-style forms and neither should be ingested by your dog. 

If your dog has eaten a pretzel stick, then it is unlikely that any problems will occur. In some instances, it may cause mild gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhea.

If a large amount of pretzel sticks have been ingested, then contact your veterinarian. In some cases, emesis (vomiting) may need to be induced with an injection. 

This will cause your dog to expel the contents of their stomach, avoiding the absorption of excess salts and carbohydrates. This is often an expensive lesson for both the owner and the dog!

Pretzel alternatives

To be honest, there is no direct replacement for pretzels. However, there are tons of healthy treats and snacks that dogs can be offered that are not only tasty but also beneficial for their health!

Chicken liver: Chicken liver is one of the best sources of protein that our dogs can consume. Chicken livers help to look after our dog’s skin, coat and eyes as well as providing the body with plenty of energy.

Cilantro: Surprisingly, cilantro has a number of benefits for dogs. It contains potassium, zinc and Vitamins A and C. Cilantro can also act as a natural inflammatory, helping with ailments such as arthritis.

Beetroot: Beets offer a variety of health benefits for our dogs. They are filled with vitamins and minerals that help give our dogs energy levels as well as support everyday bodily functions.

Papaya: Packed full of Vitamins K, C and E, Papaya is full of goodness that benefits our canine companions. Dogs should only be fed the flesh of the papaya and not the skin or the seeds.

Dog friendly seaweed: Dogs should not eat seaweed found on the beach, however, they can eat seaweed that has been prepared for canine consumption. Seaweed can be seen as a superfood, containing high levels of iron, magnesium, and iodine.

Can dogs have pretzels? Final thoughts

Whilst a small amount of pretzels will not be harmful to your dog, a large amount of, or frequent ingestion can cause serious health concerns. 

The main risk of pretzels is the high sodium content, which can cause life-changing illnesses such as diabetes, as well as life-threatening conditions like sodium poisoning.

If your dog has ingested a large pretzel, or has eaten a large amount of pretzel chips, contact your veterinary surgeon for advice immediately. 

Pretzels are certainly one to keep off your dog’s snack list!

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