Many foods are toxic to dogs. Some foods are not toxic but aren’t ideal for them to consume. Pretzels can be one of those foods that just aren’t suitable for dogs.
Why are pretzels not ideal for dogs?
It’s the salt content. Too much salt can be fatal for your pet friend in a worst-case scenario – where they’ve consumed a considerable amount. Even if small amounts of salt are eaten, your dog could become extremely thirsty and start to show an array of other symptoms – which we’ll discuss later.
However, you might be thinking, what if you want to give them pretzels that are low in salt content or don’t even have salt in them at all?
Are the other ingredients in pretzels harmful or not to dogs? Plus, are there any pretzel alternatives that you can give to your four-legged friend?
Let’s look deeper into this matter…
Nutritional Value of Pretzels
So we’ve just established that the salt content in standard pretzels is probably too much. But how much is too much?
Salt Guidelines for Dogs?
It is true, just like us, that dogs do need a little salt in their diet. Salt helps your dog’s cells function correctly, but some estimates have said they need between 0.25 to 1.5 grams of salt in 100 grams worth of food?
We think any more salt beyond these guideline amounts is seriously pushing the boundaries, and you’ll be putting your dog at risk.
As well, just so you know – for dogs, salt poisoning has been known to occur with 4 grams of salt per 1 kilogram. This is according to a study by Larry J. Thompson, DVM, Ph.D., DABVT, Veterinary Toxicologist. So you might want to rethink the 1.5 grams per 100-gram guidelines that are floating around the internet!
Yet, this study also explains that water plays a large factor in how much salt can be consumed by animals. If your dog is taking in lots of water, the salt will less likely have harmful effects. And so it’s a really good idea to give your dog loads of water if you think they’ve had too much salt, to flush it through their system.
How much salt is in 1 pretzel?
According to the USDA, there are 1.266 grams of salt in a 100 gram serving of hard and salted pretzels. This does seem like a lot of salt for anyone to intake.
We think the 0.25 to 1.5 grams of salt per 100 grams of food guidelines for dogs is very loose. The reason it probably differs is that it takes into account different size dogs. The 1.5-gram limit is mainly taking into consideration really large dogs, water consumption should be factored in too, and yet we certainly wouldn’t recommend this amount in our dog’s diet.
Anyhow, regardless of salt content, surely there’s not much nutritional value in these snacks?
Is There Anything Good In Pretzels?
Overall, pretzels have a low protein and fat content but are high in carbohydrates. Having little amounts of protein in their makeup isn’t that great for dogs. The low-fat content is a plus, but the high amount of carbs in pretzels isn’t what dogs need.
When you think about most dog foods not containing any carbs, why would you give them a high carb snack like pretzels? A healthy canine diet just doesn’t include carbs.
There are low doses of vitamins B1, B2, and B3 in these salty snacks. As well, there is usually a tiny amount of fiber in pretzels too. But ultimately, better food options can offer these nutritional benefits in higher doses and with a lot less salt content.
Types of Pretzels and Alternatives
At the start of the article, we questioned whether there are pretzels with low salt content and if there are better alternatives to give to your dog instead of standard hard salted pretzels.
There are both of the above.
Food technology and demand have made it possible in recent years to see a vast array of low sodium or sodium-free pretzel options that can be purchased at a fair price. So if your pet pooch really loves pretzels so much, then it’s a top idea to opt for the sodium content versions available now.
Better alternatives to pretzels ideally should have less or no-carb content, a fair amount of protein, possibly some healthy fats, and a variety of micronutrients. And of course, they have to be yummy for your dog too.
Quite clearly, any dog owner will know there’s a huge variety of dog chews and snacks available online or from local pet stores. Many of these purpose-made snacks are full of all good stuff for your dog.
You could also try making your own dog treats with little or no salt, plenty of protein, and micronutrients cooked in.
But, whether you’re making your own dog treats or looking for something else that’s better than pretzels, it’s essential to know which ingredients are toxic and ones that are healthy for dogs…
Toxic And Healthy Food For Dogs
In this section, we’ll run through a few common toxic foods and healthy foods that you can give dogs. To avoid confusion, we’ll start with all the toxic foods first.
Toxic to Dogs
Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and it can cause diarrhea and vomiting. A substance called theobromine is the problem, and when it’s eaten in large amounts can cause some severe and life-threatening symptoms.
If your dog has consumed lots of theobromine, some of the worst effects could be an irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures, internal bleeding, and even a heart attack.
Avocados are also toxic to dogs. The least of their worries is the high-fat content in avocados that can cause stomach upset and pancreatitis. Worser effects include diarrhea, vomiting, and something called myocardial damage.
Not many people know that raisins and grapes are poisonous to dogs. It’s less likely that you’ll feed grapes to your dog, but many cakes and baked treats can contain raisins without you realizing it.
The issue with grapes and raisins is that they are very dangerous for dogs, and research still doesn’t know exactly why. However, they can cause sudden kidney failure and death for dogs, so if you find out, they’ve ingested some, consult a vet right away.
Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. Not every nut variety is bad for your dog – peanut butter is OK, as long as it doesn’t contain Xylitol. But macadamia nuts are a no-go because even just a small amount can make your dogs’ back legs go weak, they can also start vomiting, and there’s a good chance of diarrhea.
The artificial sweetener called Xylitol is toxic to dogs. We mentioned it was in some peanut butter brands – so always check the ingredients. As well, many other foods have Xylitol added to them as for humans – it’s meant to be a healthy sugar substitute.
However, for dogs, Xylitol is massively toxic to dogs in that a small amount can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure, and seizures.
Lastly, onions and garlic are a no-no for dogs. These are two of the most hidden ingredients in some food products. Onion and garlic powder can be found in so many processed foods that you might not have thought about to add flavor.
Onions contain something called thiosulfate. This compound breaks down dogs’ red blood cells, and all parts of the onion contain this. And guess what, garlic is part of the allium family, which includes onions, so you get the same problems with garlic.
Healthy Foods For Dogs
We’ll not go through a list of different foods so extensively in this section but instead, give you some good ideas of what you can supplement into your dog’s diet to improve their overall health.
Some excellent ingredients for dogs include rice, clean cooked meats, and cooked boneless fish. As well, you can add in some vegetables such as cooked carrots and peas.
Even cooked eggs are fine for dogs and quite nutritious. In fact, one egg provides almost all the vitamins and minerals needed in dogs, and then there’s the protein content too. Just make sure the eggs are cooked – raw eggs are no good.
Other safe, healthy, and nutritious foods include blueberries, unsalted popcorn, low fat, and low sodium cheeses, pineapple, and watermelon – to name a few.
So it’s quite clear that pretzels aren’t the best snack for your dog. However, it shouldn’t do them any harm if you give them one or two pretzels now and again, though. Maybe it’s a good idea not to make a habit of feeding your dog pretzels regularly.
Instead, why don’t you consider various other super healthy foods for your dog and can fortify their diet? You can also consider making them some healthy snacks at home if you have a little time on your hands.
All that’s left to say is, check the ingredients of any food products you give to your dog, and make sure to double-check for Xylitol, onion powder, and garlic.