Can dogs eat bread?

Food & Feeding

Jack Russel with Toy

Who doesn’t like to tuck into a good sandwich? Well – except celiacs. 

Delicious, fluffy, doughy or dense, bread is a staple of the human diet in all its glorious forms.  From a herby Italian focaccia to the quintessential ham and cheese sanga, it’s rare to find a pantry without at least a loaf of bread. 

Maybe you’re wondering what to do with the top slice of your Wonder White. Or the crusts your toddler would rather keel over than eat. Is feeding them to your dog an option? 

The short answer: it depends.

There’s nothing inherently toxic about baked bread. Unlike other human staples (like apples, with perfectly safe flesh but toxic seeds) a slice of bread doesn’t conceal any devious and dog-unsafe ingredients. 

In saying that, non-toxic doesn’t always mean good. Bread offers very little nutritional value, with white bread the worst by far. It’s best suited as a rare treat, in very small portions.

It’s generally best not to let your dog gorge on large portions of anything, no matter the nutritional value. But a whole loaf of bread is a serious health risk and can cause bloating, obstruction or just a really miserable mate. Best to keep your $5 loaf of Helga’s locked up, out of reach from your dog (and you, with the 3am munchies). 

Can puppies eat bread?

It’s best to avoid feeding bread to your puppy. Their tummies are particularly tiny, magnifying the risk of bloat. Stick to the occasional dog-safe snack like apples, bananas or natural dog treats

Benefits of bread

Whole grain bread has some sneaky magnesium, vitamin E and a hearty dose of fibre in each slice. The benefits are pretty negligible though, and better served in protein-packed treats actually made for dogs. 

Dogs with IBS or an upset tum can benefit from white bread, in small doses. Since bread is packed with starch, it does a pretty brilliant job of absorbing excess gastric acid and settling irritated stomachs.

Marshfield Animal Hospital recommends a ¼ slice of white bread to soothe upset guts. Keep in mind this is just a temporary fix, and chronic irritable bowel requires ongoing veterinary care. 

Can dogs eat bread crust?

Yep, and the crust is probably the best bit to give them. They’re bite sized, have a reduced bloat risk, and a perfect solution for your crust-allergic kids. 

Can dogs eat banana bread?

Alone, bananas are a richly nutritious and potassium-packed treat your dog can enjoy. While (raisin and choc chip-free) banana bread offers better health benefits than plain loaf, it’s still bread and best enjoyed in moderation. 

The risks of bread

Dessert breads are best completely avoided. They’re usually fatty, calorie dense, and often include chocolate or nuts (some of which are poisonous to dogs). 

As with all sugary and starch-heavy foods, too much bread and your dog runs the risk of obesity. It’s also got a notably high glycemic index, which makes it really unsuitable to diabetic dogs. 

Can my dog eat bread dough?

Unequivocally no, dogs can’t eat bread dough. The warm, moist environment inside your dog’s gut will encourage the dough to rise and expand. This can easily cause a distended stomach or bloat, both of which are extraordinarily dangerous (Pet Poison Helpline, 2022). 

So, is bread bad for dogs?

There’s nothing inherently bad about bread – but there’s nothing inherently good, either. 

It’s fine to indulge your dog in some crust cutoffs every now and then, but don’t make a habit out of it. And above all, keep bread dough far away and out of reach at all times.  🍞

Written by on for Off The Leash

Article last updated on April 28, 2022

If there's one thing Gemma's passionate about in life, it's dogs. When she's not writing about them she's living, breathing, walking and snuggling with her own. Besides dog shows and sporting events on the weekends, Gemma is partial to cooking (sometimes) healthy meals, watching horror movies and making records for time spent in pyjamas.
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