Can dogs eat tortilla chips? What about crackers or chips in general? Should we be giving our dogs these highly processed carbs to begin with? These are all great questions and I’ve heard many like them over the past few years.
Hi my name is Mike and I work with dogs. I started this site to help other interested dog owners answer some questions that may not come up at every vet visit. Today we will be discussing dog nutrition and answering the specific question, “Can dogs eat Tortilla Chips?”. Lets dive right in!
Can Dogs Eat Tortilla Chips?
So we all know that highly processed foods aren’t the best things for us to eat but what about our furry little pals? Can dogs eat tortilla chips? The short answer is yes, dogs can eat tortilla chips. The question we should be asking though is, “Should dogs eat tortilla chips. In my opinion, the answer is no.
Most chips are a highly processed carbohydrate loaded with salts, sugars and other chemicals that provide no benefit to your dog. These foods should be avoided and replaced with other more high value options for your dog. I’ll bring up some of my favored options below but for now, please understand that crackers provide your dog with zero nutritional benefit and a multitude of potential negative effects in both short and long term situations.
Short Term Effects Of Dogs Eating Tortilla Chips
While your dog might jump at the chance to snatch a chip off a plate or out of the air, they are unaware as to how this particular item might effect them in both the short and long term. Lets take a look at some of the short term effects that processed carbs like crackers and chips can have on your dog.
- Stomach Upset: This is probably the most common side effect associated with consumption of processed carbs and chips in our pets. This can lead to things like abdominal pain or loose stools. A problem like this can occur if your dog doesn’t tolerate the food item well or if they eat too much of it at too rapid a pace.
- Fatigue: Another very common side effect of processed carb consumption is lethargy or fatigue. This will happen because your dog’s blood sugar will spike and then crash hard after having a complex carb like crackers or tortilla chips.
- Allergic Reaction: Although rare, some dogs can’t tolerate specific foods at all. This could be the case with certain types of crackers or chips depending on what the ingredients are. In this case, the best option is to contact your vet for next steps.
There are several other effects that can be caused in the short term by consuming these foods. I’ve stuck with the more common ones to keep this section brief.
Long Term Effects Of Dogs Eating Tortilla Chips
Your dog can experience much more severe effects over the long term if they are given too much of certain foods like crackers. Lets take a look at some of the most common long term effects.
- Weight Gain: Weight gain is a very common effect when it comes to overconsumption of carbs in general. Your dog will only be able to process a certain amount and the rest will be converted and stored as fat.
- Metabolic Disease: This can be any of a number of diseases identified as affecting a dogs metabolism. One of the most common examples is diabetes. Dogs will get this if they overconsume on sugary or carb heavy foods for a prolonged period of time.
- Chronic Fatigue: This can actually be a side effect of the other two effects above but also has some merit on it’s own as well. Some dogs may exhibit this chronic fatigue as one of the first signs of a metabolic issue or chronic weight gain. At this stage, if you eliminate the sources of sugar or complex carbs, the condition may reverse itself before too much damage is caused.
As with the short term effects, long term problems can sometimes be resolved or even reversed with a change in diet and some minor medical intervention if your vet deems it necessary. The important thing to remember is that these foods were never made with dogs in mind and they certainly don’t take their nutritional needs or long term health into account. While giving your dog a dropped chip here or there shouldn’t cause any significant long term damage, prolonged feeding most certainly will.
What About Crackers And Other Processed Carbs For Dogs?
In my opinion, keeping your dog away from all heavily processed carbs is a good idea. They don’t need these foods in their diet at all and most of them provide questionable (if any) nutritional value. Most of the time, all of these types of foods have negative side effects that could cause more harm than good in the majority of cases. Keep your dog away from processed carbs and sugar in general for that matter.
What About Dog Bones And Processed Dog Snacks?
This is a whole other issue entirely. Some processed dog snacks will be better than others but anything processed will have a negative effect to some degree.
Does this mean that giving your dogs treats like milk bones is bad? That’s a tricky question to answer. I will say that these treats are definitely more focused on providing some nutrition to dogs and they have dogs in mind when they make them. Unfortunately, these dog snacks will still use some of the same factory tricks and shortcuts that are used when making processed carbs for humans.
In short, I’d stay away from anything that is heavily processed to begin with. This goes for any kind of dog or human snack foods and really and processed foods in general. Feeding your dog hot pockets every day is not a good idea!
What Snacks Are Good For Dogs?
Here is a short list of my go to snacks for dogs and why I think each one of them is beneficial in some way.
- Cucumber: This is my top go to snack for any kind of dog treat. They are low in calories, high in nutrients and easy to prepare. These make a great snack on the go and can be fed to your dog much more freely than some of the other options out there. Also a great snack to give a dog on a diet while not feeling like you are depriving them of food in general.
- Watermelon: Another great option but does have a fair amount of sugar. You want to buy the seedless variety and make sure not to give your dog any of the outer shell either. Just the inside fruit and in small bite sized chunks. Another great snack on the go. Make sure you keep this one in moderation because of sugar content though.
- Celery: Celery is also another good snack for your dog. Low on calories and a fair bit of nutrition is present. The issue here is with the possible choking hazard. This is a fibrous veggie and should be cut into small pieces to avoid any choking issues. You can also feed this to your dog much more freely as there is very little sugar and the calorie count is low.
- Berries: I’m talking about strawberries, blueberries and raspberries specifically. These are all great treats for your dog and used to be part of their original diet when dogs were still wild. Great nutritional content but high in natural sugars as well. Keep this one in tight moderation or your dog could gain weight and run into other long term difficulties in the future.
Dog Nutrition Explained
When we talk about dog nutrition, we should keep in mind that the dog food you choose for your dog should be providing your pet with most if not all of their daily nutrition needs. If this is not the case, work with your vet to come up with another quality dog food that will meet these needs.
There are many options when it comes to choosing the proper pet food and your vet can be a great tool in helping you figure out which is right for your dog. Alternatively, there are people out there called dog nutritionists who specialize in helping you choose a balanced diet for your dog. Some dogs may need this because they have specific needs and other dogs may need it to get back on track. Whatever the reason, your dog vet combined with a nutritionist can be very valuable resources in helping you plan the right path for your dog nutrition wise.
Another important thing to remember is that you get what you pay for. There are plenty of trash dog food brands out there that will sell you a 50 pound bag of food for 9 bucks. The problem with this is that the ingredients are most certainly garbage and could cause your dog serious health issues later on. It’s better to spend up front on a quality dog food source than have to spend it later on expensive vet bills or even worse, an early death for your furry pal.
Human Food For Dogs
While some of the foods that we as humans consume on a daily basis is fine for dogs, others are certainly not. This can not always be so easy to see though. Many food labels are confusing and don’t come right out and say what is in the food to begin with. This can cause us to unknowingly feed our dogs some things that might be bad for them because the name of the ingredient changed. For example, there are dozens of ways to say sugar. fructose, glucose, corn syrup, dextrose, honey, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, agave, treacle and molasses to name just a fraction. Any of these and more can be put on an ingredient list instead of sugar to confuse us and make us think that a food item is healthier than it actually is.
Many human foods also include chemicals that can be outright toxic for dogs to begin with. Another great example is xylitol. This chemical is deadly for your dog and can cause organ failure among other things. One of the main reasons to keep your dog away from human foods in general is to make sure that they don’t have an adverse reaction to some hidden chemical that they don’t tolerate well.
Things like chicken and beef are generally ok for dogs though. The seasoning can be tricky but for the most part, is not a real issue when it comes to feeding our dogs these foods. As I’ve said before, the best food option for your dog is going to be a quality dog food nutrition source. Finding that source can be accomplished with the help of a vet or dog food nutritionist.
Can Dogs Eat Tortilla Chips Explained
So there we have it. We’ve addressed the, “can dogs eat tortilla chips?” question. We have also looked into some of the dangers involved with eating processed carb foods like chips and crackers. Metabolic disease and weight gain are foremost among them.
We also looked at dog nutrition and identified some other more viable options for snacks when you feel like spoiling your dog a bit. It should again be mentioned that a high quality dog food source is going to be your best bet for overall pet health. Your vet or a dog nutritionist can point you in the right direction when it comes to this as well.
Remembering that dog’s and humans have very different nutritional needs and tolerances is key as well. Some foods that we easily tolerate can’t be consumed by our dogs. Chemicals like xylitol can be very harmful to our dog’s health and should be avoided at all costs. Keep an eye on your dog’s nutrition and feel free to toss them a few snacks but remember that the bulk of their nutrition should come from a quality dog food source and not a bag of Doritios!