Can Dogs Eat Pretzels? Everything You Need To Know!

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can dogs eat pretzels

Pretzels are typically made of wheat flour, butter, salt, and sugar, ingredients that are mostly safe for canine consumption. In that regard, dogs can eat pretzels, but there’s more to it.

So, Can Dogs Eat Pretzels? 

Dogs can eat pretzels if consumed in moderation. The base ingredients of plain traditional pretzels, i.e. water, wheat flour, salt, and sugar are generally harmless to dogs.

Below we will talk about each ingredient:

Water 

Water is a binding agent. Some people prefer to use milk, but for your pup’s sake, water is your best bet.

Water makes up 60% of a dog’s body which makes it the safest ingredient in pretzels. 

Salt

Salt is a little tricky. While canines tend to prefer savoury treats and meals, going overboard with salt is the root cause of sodium poisoning and dehydration in dogs.

Sugar 

When it comes to sugar, less is better. One regular pretzel contains about 0.8g of sugar, which is less than the daily recommended sugar intake for dogs.

What are the Side effects of Feeding my Dog Pretzels?

Most dog owners are completely fine with letting their pooch munch on pretzels because they consider them to be safe.

However, a small yet increasing percentage of dog owners are still skeptical about the treat. This skepticism mostly stems from the possible side effects dogs can have. Here are potential risks: 

Dehydration 

Pretzels naturally have higher salt levels than many dog treats out there. Now, if you’re considering treating your dog with pretzels every once in a while, your pooch should be fine.

However, turning it into a daily habit will trigger several health issues including dehydration. 

Dog kidneys are very similar to human kidneys, in that they have to work overtime to get rid of excess salt in the system. This means producing more pee, which in turn leads to dehydration. 

High Blood Pressure 

High blood pressure is a common side effect of excessive salt intake in humans.

While not enough evidence has been provided to confirm that dogs are prone to the same risk, an increasing number of dogs have reportedly experienced high blood pressure and hypertension signs following higher than normal ingestion of salt.

In addition to that, pretzels can potentially give rise to the following complications: 

  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney failure 
  • Stroke 
  • Stomach cancer 

What do Vets Recommend? 

Veterinarians aren’t too fond of pretzels, mainly because of the high salt content. That said, vets and experts often advise dog owners to avoid pretzels altogether.

From their professional point of view, pups don’t need diverse diets. However, if you must opt for the salty treat, you need to do it with lots of moderation. 

Pretzels aren’t for every dog 

Ultimately, it boils down to your dog’s health, pre-existing allergies, and intolerances.

A mistake that dog owners tend to make very often is thinking that because other dogs tolerate pretzels, it will also be the case for their dogs. 

Are Pretzels Bad for Dogs? 

While pretzels aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of dog treat, they tend to have more or less the same effect on all pups. If consumed in moderation and with careful administering, they are quite harmless.

Nevertheless, if your pooch has never had them before, the best way to go about it is to introduce the treat slowly and gradually.

That will allow you to minimize side effects if your hound is allergic or intolerant to any of the ingredients.

4 ways in which pretzels can be bad for dogs

Below, we will talk about the cases when pretzels can be bad for dogs:

When Milk is used instead of water

Using milk as opposed to water for baking pretzels complicates things because most dogs are lactose intolerant.

As a result, any dairy products and baked goods like pretzels can have varying effects on pups.

To play it safe, always use water as a binding agent, you’ll be doing yourself and your pup a huge favor. Not to mention you’ll save yourself a trip to the vet.

If you are interested in an in-depth article about dogs and milk, read our article Can Dogs Drink Milk? How Dairy Affects Your Dog.

Excessive Yeast

Yeast is extremely dangerous for hounds. It can be fatal in extreme cases. The good news is that that only applies to loose yeast, not yeast already baked in goods. 

What makes yeast so toxic and dangerous is the fact that ingested yeast grows in a pup’s stomach, causing a case of extreme bloating called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus. [1]

That’s not all though, because as the yeast sits inside the stomach, it ferments to produce ethanol, a type of alcohol.

Resultantly, the ethanol will eventually be absorbed in the dog’s bloodstream which in turn will lead to alcohol poisoning.

Wheat Flour Allergy

Itchy skin, diarrhea, vomiting, and ear infection are some of the symptoms dogs may experience as a result of a wheat allergy.

The symptoms range from mild to fatal. With that being said, wheat allergy is another thing you need to consider before feeding your pet pretzels. 

Stale or spoiled ingredients 

Sometimes the issue is as simple as spoiled ingredients. For that reason, you need to be sure to use fresh when baking pretzels for dogs.

It’s true that pups have resilient digestive systems, however, they’re not immune to bacteria found in spoilt foods. 

Can dogs have pretzels with and without salt?

Salt is a key ingredient in pastries, including pretzels. It helps to enhance other flavours and bring out the sweetness. Without salt, pretzels will taste stale and bland.

From a medical perspective, dogs can have pretzels either way, although unsalted pretzels are by far the healthier option. 

Will unsalted pretzels make a difference? 

Essentially what dog owners would like to know is if dogs can taste salt as well as humans do and if the staleness that comes with a lack of salt will be a deal-breaker to dogs. 

In short, no. Unsalted pretzels won’t make much of a difference, because pups generally have a weaker sense of taste.

To put it into perspective, humans have about 9000 taste buds, while dogs only have more or less 1700. Plus, their salt sensors aren’t as prominent. 

Benefits of unsalted pretzels

Unsalted pretzels may not be as flavourful as their salted counterparts, but they do provide a wealth of benefits to dogs. Here are a few of those benefits: 

  • No salt poisoning 
  • Less risk of dehydration 
  • Less risk of hypertension 

Benefits of salted pretzels

Given how toxic salt can be to hounds, the only benefit salted pretzels provide is the fact that they’re tastier. 

To sum up, pups can have salted or unsalted pretzels, but since their taste buds aren’t equipped to tell the difference, you may as well opt for the healthier option.

Can Dogs Eat Different Types of Pretzels? 

Traditional pretzels only consist of wheat flour, salt, sugar, and water. However, many dog owners out there like to get creative when baking salty treats.

The issue with that is that some of the add-on ingredients may not be suitable for dogs.

Here are popular non-traditional pretzel recipes: 

Soft pretzels 

Soft pretzels are plain pretzels but as the name suggests, they’re soft and they tend to have more flavor.

These are by far the best pretzel option for dogs because their soft texture allows dogs to digest them with ease. 

Hard pretzels 

Hard pretzels are crispy and significantly smaller than soft pretzels. They often have a layer of coarse salt sprinkled on them. 

Dogs may still eat hard pretzels but the additional layer of salt increases the likelihood of sodium poisoning. 

Peanut butter filled pretzels 

Peanut butter is a huge no-go for dogs. It contains several ingredients known to be toxic to dogs. The most harmful is the artificial sweetener Xylitol[2], the root cause of xylitol poisoning.

That’s not to say that dogs can’t have peanut butter pretzels at all, the key here is moderation. 

Milk chocolate pretzels

These are double killers, because of milk and chocolate. Most pups are lactose intolerant and chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs.

That said, if you’re trying to switch up your pretzel recipe, try not to go for this one.

Sourdough pretzels 

Sourdough is generally harmful to dogs when they consume it unbaked. The side effects can range from mild bloating to full-blown alcohol poisoning.

Nevertheless, there are instances where even baked sourdough can cause damage. 

With that being said, sourdough pretzels shouldn’t be a staple in a dog’s diet. 

How Many Pretzels can Dogs Eat Daily?

A general answer to this question would be, about 2 or 3 small hard pretzels a day. However, there are lots of factors that need to be taken into consideration beforehand.

For a more accurate answer, you should consider the following: 

The size of your dog 

When feeding your pooch pretzels, you don’t want to overdo it because the consequences can, in extreme cases, be life-threatening.

The first thing you need to consider is your dog’s size or body weight, as this will give you a pretty good indication of how many pretzels your dog can handle daily.

The rule of thumb when it comes to savory or sweet snacks is to keep it to no more than 2% body weight.

That means, if your dog is of a bigger breed and weighs around 170 pounds, then it shouldn’t consume more than 5 pretzels a day. 

Your dog’s age 

As dogs age, so do their immune systems and they are weakened in the process.

As a result, they’re not as efficient at fighting diseases and infections. Furthermore, they become prone to allergic reactions and food intolerances. 

This ultimately means that if your pup has been around for quite a while then it shouldn’t be having as many pretzels as a dog in his prime. One or two pretzels a day should be enough.

Pre-existing intolerances 

All the factors mentioned above are benchmark requirements, but they don’t apply to your four-legged friend if it’s got any pre-existing food intolerances, allergies, and chronic diseases. 

For instance, a dog suffering from diabetes or chronic hypertension shouldn’t come anywhere near a pretzel.

And the same applies to dogs that are highly lactose intolerant or allergic to wheat flour and any of the other ingredients. 

For those reasons, dog owners must keep track of their pups’ medical records.

How to Safely Feed a Dog Pretzels 

Pretzels are tiny snacks that have the potential to throw your pup’s overall health off track. For that reason, you need to be very meticulous in the way you allow your dog to munch on those salty treats.

Here are some tips to get you started: 

Talk to a professional 

The first and perhaps the best thing to do is to talk to a professional about it. A vet or dog nutritionist will be able to give you accurate advice on the matter. 

Start small 

This is especially important if you’re introducing the treat in your pooch’s diet. Start with about half or a quarter of the daily recommended portion. 

Observe and readjust 

Your dog experiencing discomfort after ingesting pretzels isn’t always a sign of trouble. Something else may be causing the reaction. 

Before you stop giving your pup pretzels, try to readjust the daily portions and see if that solves the problem. 

What to do if my dog eats too many pretzels?

The best thing to do if your dog eats too many pretzels is to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible, regardless of whether there are immediate side effects or not.

Additionally, you need to know the possible side effects and how to keep them at bay before you get access to professional help. 

It’s worth noting that your pup may not experience any complications, but if it does, it will mostly be symptoms from salt or alcohol poisoning. 

You need to be on the lookout for the following: 

Dehydration 

Dehydration is a tell-tale sign of salt poisoning and how you can pick it up in your hound is by observing whether it’s constantly thirsty, urinating excessively despite drinking very little water. 

What you can do if you suspect your dog is dehydrated is to give it water at regular intervals. This will stop it from losing more water but it won’t treat dehydration.

For that, the underlying cause will have to be treated by a professional.

Vomiting and Diarrhea 

Given that dogs eat everything and anything, vomiting and diarrhoea generally don’t call for concern. However, if they occur within three days of ingesting pretzels and last for more than 24 hours it could be a sign of intolerance. 

To deal with this, you’ll simply have to stop giving your pet pretzels and give it water to rehydrate.

The Bottom Line

Pretzels aren’t traditional dog treats and any veterinarian will advise you to avoid them altogether if you’re uncertain. 

So, can dogs eat pretzels safely? If you’d still like to move forward, you’ll need to proceed with caution.

That means, don’t go beyond the recommended daily intake, be on the lookout for complications and discontinue as soon as your pup experiences any side effects.

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Author
Larissa Musangu
I'm a seasoned dog lover and companion. I've noticed that there are numerous misconceptions regarding dog nutrition, which is why I've taken it upon myself to share actionable, accurate and research-backed advice on best-practices for feeding our four-legged friends.

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