Can dogs eat pretzels? What about other salty foods? Should dogs be having anything salty at all? These are all common questions from new and seasoned dog owners alike. Do dogs tolerate salt the same way humans do and should we feed them our salty foods like chips and pretzels?
Hi my name is Mike and I’ve been working with dogs for a long time now. Over the years, I’ve gotten many different questions and learned quite a bit. I decided to create this website to help other dog owners with their questions and concerns as well. Today we will be answering the question, “Can dogs eat pretzels?”. We will also go into some other common human snack foods. Lets see what the verdict is.
Can Dogs Eat Pretzels?
Ahh the pretzel. A delicious food that many of us love to snack on. There are so many types out there these days and the brand options are endless. Can dogs eat pretzels though? The answer is yes, dogs can eat pretzels. Should they though?
Pretzels are made primarily out of grains and salt. They provide no real nutritional benefit to our dogs and they are very salty as well. We should avoid giving our dogs any extra salt as they should get more than enough from a proper diet. Excess salt can lead to all types of problems for them down the line.
Dogs also were not built to live on grains. They don’t take much, if anything away from snacking on grains except weight gain and metabolic issues in the long term. I would advise against feeding your dog pretzels on a regular basis. Sure if one drops on the floor and they scoop it up, it’s no problem. If you give them out as a regular snack though, health problems and weight gain for your dog could be on the horizon.
Why Is Salt Bad For Dogs?
Salt makes up a crucial balance for humans and animals alike. This is no different for your dog. A dog who gets too much salt in their diet can actually severely damage their own kidney through salt ion poisoning.
Very little salt is needed for a dog to perform at a high level. They should be able to get all that they need from a well balanced dog diet as well. Any additional salt intake on top of this could contribute to Kidney damage or worse down the line.
Symptoms Of Excess Salt In Dogs
Your dog probably won’t lick up a bunch of spilled salt on the floor as they can tell when they have had enough of a single ingredient. The problem with foods like pretzels or chips is that there are other flavors involved and the saltiness sometimes gets masked out by the other tastes. Your dog could also just be hungry and not care too much about the salt on the chips or pretzels to begin with. Lets talk about a few of the symptoms that could occur if your dog has taken in too much salt.
- Excessive Thirst: If your dog has eaten too much salty food, they may go for some water to try and wash away the problem. Keep an eye on your dog’s water bowl. If they are draining it dry and still looking for more, there could be a salt intake issue.
- Excessive Urination: Along the same lines of excess thirst, your dog is trying to cleanse their system. This includes their kidneys where most of the damage is going to take place. They will sometimes do this by frequent urination. If your dog is going to pee more often than usual, this could be a sign of excess salt intake.
- Diarrhea: Excess salt intake can sometimes cause stools to go runny or watery. If you notice your dog having the runs, it may be excess salt if everything else is normal.
The important thing when dealing with excess salt intake is to catch the early warning signs. I find the excessive thirst to be the best one to watch out for as dogs generally drink their fill a few times a day. If that amount doubles suddenly, you could be looking at a salt issue. Consult with your vet and cut out all the salty snacks. Things should go back to normal in a day or two if that was the issue.
Other Human Foods High In Salt
now that we have answered the, “Can dogs eat pretzels?” question, lets take a look at some other common salty foods to avoid for your pet.
chips and pretzels go hand in hand when talking about salty foods. They are practically the foundations of the salty food pyramid! If you toss your dog a chip now and again there’s nothing to worry about. I would make sure to keep your dog out of the bag though. A few spilled or tossed chips is one thing but any more than that and you might start running into issues. Bigger dogs can obviously take more than smaller ones but it’s not worth the risk either way.
Hard cheeses are generally much lower in salt but their processed counterparts are usually loaded up! I’m talking about things like nacho cheese or American cheese. These types of cheese have many additives and chemicals in them. One of these in an abundance of sodium or salt. Once again, if your dog gets a slice here or there it’s not the end of the world but keep them away from copious amounts of the stuff.
If you are able to buy harder cheeses like an aged unprocessed cheddar, these will have less salt in them. Cheese in all forms should be kept to moderation. Soft cheese like cream cheese would be some of the worst options in this category as well. Like I said, a dropped piece here or there is nothing but not an ideal snack for your furry friend at all.
Cured or Canned Meats
Cured or smoked meats like jerky or smoked salmon can have quite a bit of salt added to them during the curing process itself. They retain a lot of that flavor and saltiness once the curing is compete. These types of meats should be kept away from your dog. It’s much better to give them a fresh bit of beef than it would be to toss them a salted chunk of beef jerky.
The same goes for canned meats. There are various chemicals and salt used in the canning process to preserve the meat. It’s not ideal for humans and not great for dogs either. Keep canned foods in general away from your dog if at all possible.
Not to be confused with cucumbers which are excellent for dogs. Pickles are another form of cured food. Salt and vinegar are used in the curing process and thus some of it stays behind in the food as well.
Pickles are not the only food that you have to be on the watch for when it comes to vegetables. Things like Kim Chi, olives and sauerkraut also have high sodium content when they are cured and can cause salt overload for your pet if they ingest too much. Keep these foods away from your pup and all will be well.
Some soups have an incredibly high amount of sodium or salt in them. This can be anything from regular canned to broth or beef bullion. Furthermore, most of us will add seasonings such as salt and pepper to our soups while we are preparing them. This isn’t a good thing for our dogs for sure. Granted soups aren’t that easy for them to eat an excess amount of by accident. If a bowl of soup spills, they may try to lap some up but it won’t be enough to cause an issue. Just don’t give your dog a whole bowl of soup for dinner one night if you run out of dog food!
Pizza has a lot of sodium in it. The salt content in some frozen pizzas is the daily equivalent of what a grown person should eat for an entire week! Do you think tossing your dog a slice is still a good idea? Most people will just throw the pizza crusts to dogs. I know I did a lot back in my youth. Since I’ve actually done the research though, I had to stop.
There are really two different categories of pizza here as well. Fresh pizza from a parlor or frozen pizza from the store. Fresh pizza has way less salt and you can afford to toss your dog some crust now and again. Frozen pizza is loaded with chemicals. Sodium being chief among them. Skip giving your dog any of this please.
Here I’m referring to any of the major fast food chains in your area. Those foods are mostly junk or very low quality ingredients pumped up with chemicals and sugars to make them taste good. Have you ever tried to eat reheated fast food french fries? Disgusting right?
Keep all of this away from your animal. If you drop a fry on the floor and they eat it up it’s not the end of the world. I would avoid intentionally feeding your dog this kind of food though. It just has the potential to do so much damage.
Frozen Processed Food
Here I’m referring to meals in a box that you throw in the microwave to heat up. They can usually be found in abundance at your local grocery store. These meals once again are loaded with chemicals and salt. There’s no reason for your dog to have any of this. It’s questionable for humans as well but at least we have the capacity to filter it out. Dogs don’t have the same types of detox processes we have and thus their kidneys can suffer if too much junk is taken in.
Sauces/Marinades And Spices
I saved the best for last. Sometimes the most concentrated amounts of salt and sugar are located in the things we put on our foods. Soy sauce is a big culprit. It’s loaded with salt. If you toss your dog some noodles or rice loaded up with soy sauce, they will be getting a major dose of salt in what may seem like a very small serving.
This also goes double for things like ketchup and BBQ sauce. These items tend to have more sugar than salt but the amount is still potentially damaging to your pup. Your best bet here is to avoid all of these condiments completely if you are going to give your dog human food. If the food you want to give them has some of these things on it, I’d skip it and toss them something else.
Can Dogs Eat Pretzels Summarized
So there we have it. Can dogs eat pretzels? Yes, but they shouldn’t. Dogs need to stay away from salty things. This includes the long list of items placed above. Be careful though. Salt hides in many places under many different names.
The best bet for your dog would be to work with your vet or a dog nutritionist to put together a good food plan. Keep them on that food plan and don’t stray from it. If you do want to give them some human food from time to time, make sure it’s something that is low in salt and won’t negatively affect their health. A dog will be just as happy with a few slices of fresh cucumber as they would be with some crunchy pretzels. We may not see it that way as I know I’d prefer the pretzels but dogs tend to think a bit different in that regard. Most of them just want food!
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