Animal cracker refers to a bit savory and salty cracker baked in an animal shape. It is different from a cookie that is sweet in taste. Animal crackers make safe human snacks for children, and they enjoy it with relish.
Dogs love to eat sweet snacks, and they won’t refuse any if served to them. But are dogs eating animal crackers okay? Probably you are a pet owner too who is wondering; are animal crackers bad for dogs? Can this human food be safely used as dog food too?
What Are Animal Crackers Made of?
Before adding new food to a dog’s diet, make sure it doesn’t pose any health risks by checking out its ingredients. The same is the requirement of animal crackers for checking if they can be used as a safe treat for the dogs.
Commercially made animal crackers are usually made up of all-purpose flour, soybean oil, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, and baking soda as their ingredients. But the main ingredient is flour, oil, and water.
Can Dogs Eat Animal Crackers?
Flour, soy, and salt -- all can bring allergies for dogs. Also, added sugar and high fructose corn syrup result in too much sugar that doesn’t make animal crackers good for dogs. But you can let dogs eat animal crackers as long as they don’t show any symptoms of allergies and the crackers lack xylitol, chocolate, and other toxic ingredients that are not safe for dogs.
The best way to feed crackers to your dog is to bake them at home with the ingredients such as peanut butter that your dog will absolutely love. They are both safe and healthy dog treats.
Can Dogs Eat Animal Crackers of All Sorts?
Although flour, water, and oil are all you need to make some crackers, the retailers’ manufacturers are trying new and different ingredients every day. Just like cakes, ice creams, and cookies, crackers are also available in a variety of flavors. But the question that arises here is: Can we feed our dogs animal crackers of all sorts?
It is decided on the basis of the ingredients used in the crackers. Dog owners have to look for dog-safe ingredients and seasonings to make sure their dog doesn’t face any health problems after eating crackers.
Plain Animal Crackers
Your dog can eat plain or unsalted animal crackers without any worries. These have no artificial flavors, no added ingredients, and no harmful seasonings to harm him, then what’s there to worry about if you are giving your dog a few crackers as a rare treat?
But these are not nutritious or healthy meals either. Small quantities will be safe for dogs, but large quantities will surely cause problems like an upset stomach. In fact, any human food which is nothing more than some empty calories should not be added to the regular dog food as long as you don’t want him to feel sick.
Chocolate Animal Crackers
Chocolate poisoning in dogs needs not to be discussed as everyone is well aware of the harms theobromine and caffeine cause to a dog. But, of course, feeding dogs animal crackers having chocolate is different than feeding him milk chocolate or an ordinary chocolate bar.
The amount of chocolate in chocolate crackers is not enough to cause much harm. So if a dog eats a small part of a chocolate cookie, don’t panic; he’s going to be alright.
Frosted Animal Crackers
Although frosted animal crackers are non-toxic for dogs, unless the frosting used is chocolate frosting, it isn’t a good option again if it is not chocolate frosting. Frosting, in general, contains buttercream, cream cheese, butter, whipped cream, or milk as a base, with the other main ingredient being sugar. Sometimes it also contains blends of eggs or vanilla extract. Other flavors may also be used additionally in the frosted animal crackers.
All of these ingredients of frosting are not good for your pet. The large amounts of icing sugar used in it exceed the dog’s nutritional requirement of sugars. If such types of sugary treats are given to him frequently, your dog is likely to gain weight in no time. Sugar also causes obesity and stomach problems. The dairy products like cream, cheese, and milk used in the frosting are not suitable for dogs as most of them develop lactose intolerance and cannot digest the lactose of these dairy products. Artificial flavors are also a NO for your pup.
Cotton Candy Crackers
When you think of the cotton candy crackers, the first thing that clicks your mind is “sugar.” Yes, cotton candy crackers are full of artificial flavors and sugar. If you already know that sugar causes a lot of health issues in dogs, you will probably want to feed him some sugar-free cotton candy crackers. However, don’t ever take the risk of it; such sugar-free treats contain large amounts of artificial sweeteners, and the most common artificial sweetener used is xylitol. Xylitol is considered toxic for the dog and has the potential to take the dog’s life in a few hours.
Organic Animal Crackers
If you want to give animal crackers to your dog as an occasional treat, then organic crackers are the best choice of all other sorts of crackers. Although these have very few health benefits for your dog, they are a safe option. Organic crackers are non-GMO crackers with no artificial flavors, additives, or artificial sweeteners. They are made entirely from organic and non-chemical ingredients, which are likely to cause no harm to pets. If you make some crackers for your dog at home with all of the dog-friendly ingredients and no artificial flavors, they will also be considered organic.
Salt Animal Crackers
It’s best to keep Saltine crackers out of your pet’s reach. A single salt animal cracker will not harm your dog for sure, but if you have left a pack of the saltine crackers on the table open and your dog has devoured a lot of crackers out of the packet, it may cause high blood pressure in him or a disturbance in the conduction of nerve impulses as the result of ion or salt imbalance. The condition which arises in dogs due to a large intake of sodium salts (for example, table salt) is called Sodium Poisoning. Therefore we recommend keeping your dog away from salt crackers as much as possible.
Peanut Butter Crackers
Peanut butter is perfectly safe for dogs. They provide a lot of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. But do remember peanut butter is high in fats and calories. If you want to keep these animals healthy, offer them peanut butter animal crackers as occasional treats only.
How Many Animal Crackers Can Dogs Eat?
If dogs eat animal crackers in large quantities, they are going to suffer many health risks such as stomach upset and weight gain. The nutritional facts of these unhealthy snacks also show that these are empty calories with no nutritional value. One animal cracker is more than enough. Moreover, offer this treat for training purposes only.
Why Is Animal Cracker Not Suitable As Pet Food?
Some downsides of these snacks on dog’s health include:
Avoid feeding your four-legged friends the whole snack, as they will probably have a choking hazard in an attempt to eat it quickly. Instead, if you love dogs and want their well-being, consider breaking the cracker into small parts.
Too many snacks might not be digested easily and will compel the dog’s stomach to work hard. As a result of which, dogs will experience not only an upset stomach but also intestinal blockage.
Bad Effects of High Sugar and Salt Consumption
Too much sugar can cause diabetes and weight gain in dogs. If they gain weight excessively, it can lead to heart disease; joint inflammation also called arthritis, and even cancer. It can also become the reason for dental problems as dog’s teeth may have some leftovers in between the cavities allowing bacteria to attack.
Too much salt can cause salt poisoning in dogs. Minute signs include excessive thirst, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Whereas severe poisoning can cause seizures, coma, or even death. An amount of salt more than a dog needs is extremely toxic as it can cause elevated blood pressure. A high blood pressure level can further become the cause of kidney diseases and adrenal gland tumors.
Beware: Your Dog May Have An Allergy
Sometimes dog develops an allergy to different grains, and any exposure to such grains directly or in the form of their flour may result in your pet becoming severely ill. For example, if a dog has an allergy to the ingredient used in animal crackers, these must not be given to the dog at any cost. Therefore, always check the ingredients beforehand; if your dog has devoured any of these crackers, accidentally take him to the veterinary facility as soon as possible.
Wheat allergy or gluten allergy is the most common type of food allergy in dogs. If the animal crackers contain wheat flour, then your gluten-allergic dog will show some symptoms like itching, chronic ear infection, red skin, and licking front paws in case he has eaten a few of these crackers. You must strictly adhere to gluten-free diets for your dog in such cases and in case of any emergency, contact your vet or the pet poison helpline immediately.
If you find soy oil in the ingredients list on the pack of crackers, feed your dog just a little bit of it. It is because the dogs may have soy allergies, just like other food allergies. If the dog treats containing soy produce common allergy symptoms in dogs, they must never be given to them.
Animal crackers don’t have that much valuable nutrients, so don’t let dogs eat regularly. They are not healthy and add empty calories to pet food. Plain and some other flavors of these crackers are safe for dogs to eat in moderate amounts, while others are not safe, not even in small quantities. Choose another healthy alternative treat for your pup. Keep them safe and healthy by making an addition of healthier foods to their menu.