The health of our dogs’ matters. As responsible dog owners, maintaining our dog’s health includes the way we groom them and the effects of the food we provide to them regularly. Like humans, dogs have a different appetite.
To mention, dogs love crunchy, delightful treats that will get them excited and hyped for every bite and chew. Most people may suggest offering carrots, pumpkin, kale, or sweet potatoes to your dogs.
But are croutons safe for dogs?
Well, we thought of designing this article for you for your dog’s welfare. So, with that being said, let’s answer this million-dollar question: can dogs eat croutons?
What are croutons?
Croutons are crunchy pieces of bread that have been toasted or fried in oil. It can be used as an ingredient in soup or stew. Nevertheless, it has been noted that people who do not eat enough fiber may benefit from eating croutons because of the additional fiber.
The term “crouton” is derived from the French word “croûton,” which means “crisp,” dry piece of toast. In French cuisine, crouton is a garnish made of diced toasted bread, often seasoned with salt and butter.
Food family of croutons
Croutons belong to the breadcrumbs family or dry cereal products in the food category, including breadsticks, French toast sticks (pancakes), egg-roll wrappers, biscuits, scones, and many breakfast bowls of cereal with added bran.
Croutons come in varieties, such as basil, garlic, and parmesan croutons.
Basil croutons are usually made of olive oil, garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. Garlic croutons are the most popular type of croutons in France. It is made from olive oil, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. And, parmesan croutons are a mixture of grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley or thyme leaves.
While it belongs to the breadcrumbs family, croutons are high in calories, which means a good source of fiber and minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, and selenium, depending on the ingredients used to make them.
Can dogs eat croutons?
Yes, you may offer croutons to your dogs — but it largely depends on the ingredients used.
Most croutons available in stores may contain additives, such as garlic salt and onion powder, which can be toxic to your dog’s health.
Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Croutons
We list down the best steps to feed your dogs in beneficial ways:
Give treats sometimes
It is not advisable to feed your dog a diet of only croutons. As earlier mentioned, croutons contain a high level of calories, which slow down the dog’s digestion. So, you have to feed croutons in moderation.
Remember that dogs need proper nutrition, including protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, for them to grow healthy and strong.
Do not use garlic in your cooking
Garlic is a great spice to add flavor to your cooking, but it’s not advisable when using garlic for croutons.
The Department of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University found that garlic-containing foods are toxic to dogs. Accordingly, garlic can lead to gastrointestinal and hepatic problems such as gas, diarrhea, or vomiting because it contains organosulfur compounds.
So, check the content level first when buying commercially baked croutons in grocery stores.
Avoid chocolate-based ingredients
If you’re treating your dog with croutons, make sure it has no chocolate-based ingredients. Chocolates contain theobromine, which metabolizes humans efficiently. However, it slows down in dogs, resulting in seizures, tremors, irregular heart rate, heart attack, and internal bleeding.
Reasons Why Dogs can Eat Croutons
Of course, we don’t absolutely deprive our dogs of enjoying the crunchiness of croutons. Here are some excellent factors why dogs can eat croutons:
Croutons are crunchy
Dogs love crunchy treats. It makes them feel comfortable during their chewing moments. You may pair croutons and fruits or vegetables as a suggestion since dogs will find it enticing and appealing.
Best paired with other food
Croutons are best paired with other food such as soups, stews, or mashed potatoes. Try to mix it so your dog’s digestion will not be slowed down because of the high-calorie content croutons have.
Croutons can help clean microorganisms hidden in teeth
Dogs have a natural need to chew on things. Croutons can help clean the microorganisms lurking in your dog’s teeth, which means it is also suitable for their dental health.
Possible Concerns When Eating Croutons
Alarming symptoms may show when your dog is reactive to croutons. So, we are listing down common reactions that your dog may experience initially:
Difficulty in Breathing
Too much swallowing of croutons would end up the difficulty in breathing. This may lead to choking and can be fatal. Since dogs have a natural need to chew on things, it’s recommended that you feed them with other food so their digestion does not slow down.
If your dog has swallowed too many croutons, it may start choking, which may lead to death. To avoid such a situation, call your veterinarian immediately if you notice any difficulty breathing or if your dog is choking.
Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Problems
Garlic-based dishes are not advisable for dogs to eat because they contain organosulfur compounds, which are toxic to them and can cause gastrointestinal and hepatic problems such as gas, diarrhea, vomit, etc. Also, if you have a sensitive stomach, it’s not good to feed too many croutons in one sitting.
Signs your dog is sick from eating croutons
Feeding croutons come with limitations. So, if these signs are showing, it calls for you to have your dog its check-up with a veterinarian:
If you notice that your dog is overweight and has a habit of eating crunchy food such as croutons, the best thing to do would be to decrease their calorie intake by cutting down on how much you give them.
Gas and Vomiting
This can also happen when feeding dogs with raw garlic because it contains organosulfur compounds, which are toxic to them. An increase in these symptoms may be due to an over-consumption of croutons, so you should limit the diet for your dog by giving them other foods as well.
The high-calorie content of croutons may lead to bloating and gas, which can be uncomfortable for dogs, so it is advised that you mix them with other food such as soup, stew, or mashed potatoes.
What to do if your dog is sick from eating croutons?
If you suspect your dogs develop any signs of sickness, don’t leave it unattended or overlook its symptoms.
Check the symptoms that may arise if they have eaten enough croutons and immediately take them to your vet if you notice any difficulty breathing or choking. They will be able to tell if there are any health concerns, and they may even prescribe some treatment or medication depending on what caused the problems.
However, you may call the nearest local emergency vet clinic or pet poison hotline during worst-case scenarios when your vet is not around. The emergency personnel will instruct you on how to treat your dogs in first aid.
Avoid these similar foods from this family
So, what are similar foods to avoid from this family?
Nutella and other chocolate-based ingredients
Nutella and other chocolate products used for croutons should also be avoided from this food family because they have a high-calorie content — leading factors to gastrointestinal and hepatic problems such as gas, diarrhea, or vomiting. These foods should also be avoided, especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach.
Bread crusts, toast, or muffin crumbs should also be avoided in your dog’s diet because they have high-calorie content, leading to weight gain. In addition, since these foods often contain raw flour dough and are not cooked well enough like the croutons, it is best to avoid them, especially with dogs who suffer from food allergies.
Bread, muffins, and other baked goods should also be avoided because they contain high sugar, leading to obesity. In addition, it’s best to avoid loaves of bread such as those with wholemeal flour that is not cooked well enough, like croutons, for example.
How to Make Croutons Safe To Eat
We agreed that croutons are good for your dog’s health. But, the question is, how can you make it safer to eat?
Pre-bake your croutons before storing them for later use
If you are pre-baking your croutons, make sure that they’re cooked all the way through before storing them for later use. Doing this will help to kill any bacteria build-up during the cooking process and ensure you have a safe treat for your dogs!
Avoid garlic, onions, chocolates, and other foods contrary to dog’s health
When making your croutons, make sure to avoid garlic, onions, chocolates, and other foods that may not be good for your dog’s health. Dogs have specific diets, and including these ingredients may lead to possible symptoms making them sick.
Pair croutons with fruits and vegetables
Feeding croutons occasionally is the safest way for your dog’s health. Pair croutons with fresh fruits and vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, kale, or sweet potatoes to boost your dog’s appetite. In this way, you are balancing the diet and increasing the nutrients that your dog gets.
Maintaining our dog’s health is a crucial matter we always have to consider. Aside from the happiness dogs provide to us every day, their health depends on the exactitude of our care and the support we give.
From the standpoint of a dog, crunchy foods are always the best in sustaining its appetite. First, however, it is crucial to secure healthy, nourishing treats for your dogs.
Yes, dogs can eat croutons with moderation and the right food content to answer our million-dollar question. Croutons are crunchy, best paired with other food, and can help microorganisms hidden in the teeth. However, if you mismanaged the feeding, your dog may experience difficulty breathing, choking, or gastrointestinal and hepatic problems.
Thus, don’t overlook your dog’s health. Whenever it manifests symptoms, call your veterinarian today!
Written by Alejandro Corona Jr.