A favorite human snack is pretzels! Who doesn’t love pretzels? You can smell fresh pretzels cooking at the mall, and it’s very hard to just walk by without buying one. Yum! But what happens if you’re eating this wonderful snack and your dog comes begging for his share? Is it even safe for dogs to eat pretzels?
These are a couple of the questions we’ll review in this article!
What are Pretzels?
Pretzels are bread-like snacks made from yeast dough. They’re made from a long piece of dough that’s shaped into a knot, with both “arms” of the pretzel entwined in the middle. The pretzels are then baked and ready to enjoy!
Today’s pretzels, however, come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. You can find them in stick shapes and more. Pretzels can be soft or hard and always have brown, shiny “skin.” These great snacks are usually made from wheat or rye flour (though today there are also gluten-free versions), yeast, sugar, salt, water, and butter.
History of the Pretzel
The history of the pretzel is a little bit cloudy. Some sources say they were developed by a monk in Italy, while others say pretzels were developed in other parts of Europe. However, most people do agree that pretzels are now considered a German snack.
Pretzels were once given as a reward by monks to their students or given to the poor. But they were very popular during the middle ages and spread across Europe during that time.
With this bit of history and background on pretzels, we can now turn to the important questions of dogs and pretzels!
Are Pretzels Safe for Dogs?
When it comes to human snacks and dogs, the answer is usually no. Many human snacks are made with ingredients that are unhealthy and/or toxic to dogs. Of course, there are many foods we can safely share with our fur babies. Thankfully, pretzels can safely be shared with our canine companions.
Having said that, yes, dogs can eat pretzels. But they shouldn’t eat pretzels very often. For one thing, pretzels offer no nutritional value to dogs. Dogs love pretzels because they taste good and are great to chew on. Otherwise, these snacks are not good for dogs in large amounts.
One of the main reasons pretzels are not good for dogs is the amount of salt they contain. Salt is used both in the dough and on the outer shiny skin of the snack. Too much salt can cause a dog to become very thirsty and could even lead to sodium ion poisoning.
Dogs who eat too much salt may exhibit these symptoms:
- High temperature
If your dog has eaten many pretzels or other salty snacks and develops these symptoms, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
Now, if your dog happens to eat one or two pretzels once in a while, he will be OK. But dogs should not eat pretzels intended for human consumption on a regular basis. Not only can these yummy treats cause salt toxicity, but they can also cause a dog to gain weight, become obese, and more.
Pretzels: Other Dangers for Dogs
Pretzels also present other dangers for dogs. The problem is that pretzels can also contain other ingredients in addition to salt. Pretzels may be flavored with a wide variety of other ingredients, including:
- Raisins or sultanas
Each of these ingredients can be toxic to dogs. So, it’s best not to allow your dog to eat pretzels that include these ingredients. Even one pretzel with these toxic items could be enough to cause death in some dogs.
It’s also possible your dog could accidentally get into a box of these yummy treats. If that happens, be sure to read the ingredient list. If the pretzels contain ingredients toxic to dogs, be sure to call the vet right away.
In the following sections, we’ll go into additional detail about garlic & onions, and chocolate pretzels.
Garlic & Onion Pretzels
Let’s start with garlic and onions. Both of these plants are part of the allium family. The plants in this family, including garlic and onions, contain a substance called thiosulfate, which can cause oxidative damage to a dog’s red blood cells. This can lead to a condition called hemolytic anemia.
Your dog could develop the following symptoms after eating pretzels with garlic & onions:
- Pale mucus membranes
- Rapid breathing
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
If your dog develops any of these symptoms, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
When it comes to the amount of garlic that’s toxic to dogs, it only takes about 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilograms of body weight. Yes, your dog would have to eat a lot of pretzels with onions and garlic to get that sick, but it is possible. What’s more, some dogs are more susceptible to the effects of garlic and onion toxicity than others.
Dogs & Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
Chocolate-covered pretzels can also be deadly to dogs. Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs. It doesn’t take much chocolate to make a dog seriously ill. While we love chocolate, it contains theobromine and caffeine, which are not easily metabolized by dogs.
What’s more, different kinds of chocolate are more toxic to dogs than others. For instance, dark chocolate is more toxic than other forms of this yummy, sweet stuff. Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of theobromine and caffeine, while lighter chocolates contain lower amounts of these substances. So, that would mean that pretzels covered with dark chocolate are more dangerous than other types of chocolate on pretzels.
However, the chocolate’s toxicity also depends on the dog’s size and weight. A small dog that eats the same amount of chocolate as a larger dog could have a lethal dose. That’s a chance you don’t want to take. So, never feed your dog chocolate-covered pretzels.
These substances stay in the dog’s system and cause the following symptoms:
- Racing heart rate
- Muscle tremors
- Heart failure
- Excessive urination
- Excessive thirst
If your dog develops these symptoms after eating chocolate-covered pretzels, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
Summing It Up
As you can see, plain pretzels may be OK for your dog to eat once in a while. He should never have more than one or two at a time. The same applies to pretzels that have salt on them. However, pretzels that contain other ingredients should never be fed to your dog. There’s too much of a chance they could contain toxic ingredients that could make your dog seriously ill.
So, just allow your fur baby a couple of pretzels once in a while. You may also want to find a snack safe for dogs that is something like a pretzel. Your fur baby may enjoy these even more!