Does your pup keep following you around the kitchen while preparing Caesar Salad? You may be tempted to treat it with a few of the delicious crispy croutons for being such a good furbaby.
But is it a good idea, and can dogs eat croutons?
The answer is – no. The reasons are simple – they do not have any nutritional value or benefit for dogs and, in many cases, can be harmful and even dangerous for them.
So, read on if you wonder why these small delicious pieces of re-baked or fried bread are not suitable or safe for dogs.
Can Croutons Be Toxic To Canines?
Yes, they can be poisonous to dogs because of the spices used for making them, such as garlic or onion powder.
Onions, garlic, leeks, chives, scallions, and other products from the Allium family can be highly toxic to dogs, especially when consumed in larger quantities.
Dogs from smaller breeds are at a greater risk of such poisoning, as are certain dog breeds such as Akita and Shiba Inu.
Croutons are also high in sodium and fat, which are harmful ingredients for canines, especially when eaten in large quantities.
Suppose you make your own croutons without onion, garlic powder, or other seasonings. In that case, you can probably reward your furry friend with a couple of them on occasion without worrying about poisoning and other adverse effects.
What Are The Common Symptoms of Garlic and Onion Poisoning?
Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, and other members of this same family contain n-propyl disulfide, which can damage the red blood cells of the pup and can cause hemolytic anemia. Canines cannot digest this organic compound; thus, it remains attached to the blood cells, mostly to the hemoglobin, which is responsible for bringing oxygen to all body’s vital organs.
The result is that your pet’s immune system will start fighting off these “foreign bodies” and thus will destroy its own blood cells in the process.
This can result in insufficient supplies of oxygen to the dog’s vital organs and severe and often fatal anemia.
The most common symptoms that your furbaby may be suffering from onion or garlic toxicity include:
- Pale or white gums
- Lethargy and lack of stamina
- Abdominal pain or upsets, such as vomiting or diarrhea
- Loss of consciousness after exercise
- Appetite loss
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing and panting
- A loss of coordination (ataxia)
- Discharge of discolored urine
- In severe cases – kidney failure and death
If you suspect your pet has onion or garlic poisoning, you should immediately call your vet or an emergency pet poisoning hotline!
The Nutritional Value of Croutons
The nutritional value of 14g (0.5 ounces) of plain croutons is:
- Calories – 57.8
- Fat – 0.9g
- Sodium – 99.1mg
- Carbs – 10.4g
- Fiber – 0.7g
- Protein – 1.7g
- Added sugars – 0g
As you can see, there is little nutritional value that can be beneficial for dogs that eat croutons unless they are homemade from whole grain bread and with healthy ingredients.
Whole wheat croutons can provide your furbaby with the carbs needed for a slight energy boost. Whole grains are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.
But most store-bought croutons are made from unhealthy enriched bread.
The fiber content in the croutons is not sufficient to benefit the pup’s health either.
And keep in mind that some dogs are sensitive to eating grains and gluten.
Overall, there are human foods and treats which are much healthier and more beneficial for your furry companion than any kind of croutons.
Are Italian Seasoned Croutons Safe For My Dog?
Before giving your pup any croutons or other seasoned foods, check the ingredient list for potentially harmful and dangerous spices and components.
Italian seasoning usually includes basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. These spices are for canines when given in moderation and occasionally.
But some types of Italian seasoning can contain marjoram, which is highly toxic for dogs and can lead to severe symptoms such as bleeding disorders and seizures.
As a whole, you should avoid giving any types of croutons to your four-legged companion. If it loves bread, you can give it small pieces of toasted whole grain bread instead. While it is not beneficial for the pup’s health, at least plain whole grain bread toast does not contain any potentially dangerous ingredients and spices for your pet.
Is Garlic Bread Safe for Dogs?
No. Garlic bread may be a delicious snack for us, but it can be harmful and even dangerous for dogs.
The reason is that it contains too much fat, too much salt, and garlic which is toxic for canines.
If your pup eats a small bit of your garlic toast, it will probably be okay and may show no adverse effect symptoms. But the problem might arise if it consumes a large quantity or if you feed it garlic bread regularly.
The garlic can be toxic, and the excess fat can lead to pancreas inflammation and pancreatitis. Too much salt can cause other short and long-term harmful effects on the dog’s health too.
Eating so many empty calories can lead to weight gain and obesity in some dogs, which is a problem that can literally shorten your pup’s life.
For peace of mind, it is best to skip the garlic bread altogether and stick to healthier and safer treats for your furry companion instead.
Is Cheese Safe For Dogs?
If you are contemplating rewarding your furry companion with some parmesan cheese from the Caesar salad instead of croutons, then don’t. Parmesan contains a lot of sodium, just like other types of cheese such as cheddar, blue cheese, grilled cheeses, and more.
A small piece of low fat and low sodium cheese such as mozzarella, goat cheese, or cottage cheese can be given occasionally to dogs as a treat. Cheese does contain nutrients, such as protein, calcium, vitamins A and B, and healthy fatty acids, which can be beneficial for canines.
But cheese is also high in fat and may contain a lot of salt and other ingredients, which are unhealthy for pups.
Plus, some dogs develop lactose intolerance as they grow up and enter adulthood, which means that cheese or any other dairy can cause them mild to severe discomfort and side effects.
If you plan on using some cheese as a training treat or a topping for your dog, then speak to your veterinarian first.
When introducing the cheese to your pup’s diet, start with tiny bits at first and watch it for any adverse reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs of intolerance.
What Are Some Human Foods I Can Use as Training Treats For My Pup?
Apart from using tiny cubes of low fat and low sodium cheese as a training snack, you can also use other human foods, which can be a healthier option while being efficient for training.
Apple slices, with the cores and seeds removed, are excellent treats for canines. They contain fiber and vitamins A and C and help keep the dog’s teeth and gums healthy. Still, they contain sugar, so you should only give them in small quantities occasionally.
Carrot slices are another healthy option to consider when picking the best training snacks for your furbaby. They, too, are loaded with fiber and contain vitamin A and beta carotene. Plus, they are low in calories. Carrots can also help keep your pup’s teeth clean and its breath fresh.
Make sure to cut the carrots into bite-size pieces to prevent choking. Carrots are good for dogs, both raw and cooked, but without butter, salt or spices.
You can opt for baby carrots, which are the right size for the average dog.
Plain croutons made of whole wheat bread and without added garlic or onion powder or other spices can be given to dogs but only in limited quantities and from time to time. So is plain toast made of whole wheat bread.
They are not the best treats you can choose for your four-legged companion, though, as they carry little nutritional or health benefits.
Garlic and onions can be toxic and dangerous for dogs in large quantities. And too much fat and sodium can also cause various health problems for canines.
So, if you want to ensure that your pet is healthy, fit, and well, and lives a happy and long life, we recommend that you stick to dog-friendly and healthy treats such as carrot or apple slices or specialized dog treats instead!