Although croutons may seem harmless to dogs, many store-bought croutons contain garlic, onion, and salt. Although these will likely not be fatal, they may still make them sick.
The rest of this article will explain why croutons are bad for dogs and what they can eat instead.
What Are Croutons?
Croutons are pieces of rebaked bread, often seasoned and cubed, found in salads. Many times they are made from stale bread. They can come in many varieties, including garlic croutons and parmesan croutons.
Why Do Dogs Love Croutons?
Dogs love crunchy foods, and they’re great for their teeth!
Crunchy foods are great for dogs because as they chew, the bits of food remove bacteria and residue from their teeth.
As dogs get older, their love for crunchy foods may diminish, as they prefer soft foods over hard.
Are Crunchy Foods Good For Dogs?
Dogs who eat more crunchy foods tend to have less plaque buildup on their teeth as they grow older, but there is nothing that explicitly states that your dog must eat this. This will keep their breath fresher and their teeth healthy over time.
It is healthy to give them hard things to chew on in order to keep your dog’s teeth clean, but if they do not have access to something of the sort, there will be no real disadvantage.
Can Dogs Eat Store Bought Croutons?
If you’re chowing down on a great, beautiful caesar salad and want to throw your dog a store-bought crouton, you should think twice about it.
Croutons that have been bought in the store likely have other ingredients added, which can cause digestive upset for your dog. On top of that, some dogs may have developed sensitivity to certain ingredients.
One of the most common ingredients for store-bought croutons is garlic powder. Garlic croutons add a ton of flavor to food and smell wonderful!
Unfortunately, garlic powder is not suitable for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. This is because it has been linked to destroying your dog’s red blood cells as well as hurting their kidneys.
Onions are another ingredient that is commonly used in these crunchy snacks and can be dangerous for dogs to consume. In fact, dogs can actually get toxicity from onions.
Another ingredient that makes croutons delicious for humans is parmesan cheese. Although this cheese isn’t the worst for dogs considering it is relatively low in lactose, many lactose-intolerant dogs should stay away from cheese when they can.
If you must give your dog cheese, cottage cheese has been known to be the best cheese for your dog since it has low-fat content and less sodium.
Melted butter is high in fat, which makes it a lousy treat for your dog in large doses. In small quantities, your dog can have treats that contain butter, but it can cause weight gain and lead to obesity in the long run.
Croutons bought from the store are cheaper versions of a homemade crouton and usually use cheaper bread and more affordable ingredients. Unfortunately, this leads to the food being high in sodium so that it can keep the food fresh for a more extended period of time.
A little bit of salt is not bad for your dog, but over time it can lead to high blood pressure, as well as other health problems you don’t want to deal with.
Many croutons also include Italian seasoning, which can consist of garlic and onion. This should be avoided whenever possible.
Can Dogs Eat Garlic Bread?
Due to how toxic garlic is for dogs, they cannot eat garlic bread.
Symptoms of Onion or Garlic Poisoning
There are many things that dogs absolutely should not eat any of, including chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, garlic, and onions.
Poisoning from these two ingredients can be very serious, so you should know what signs to watch out for.
Both garlic and onion will have mostly the same symptoms since they both cause anemia. This is because both are members of the allium family, which contains thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs and can cause oxidative damage in their red blood cells, which can then cause hemolytic anemia.
If you are trying to watch for signs of anemia in your dog, you should look out for weakness, lethargy, jaundice, rapid breathing, dark-colored urine, and pale gums.
Along with anemia, garlic toxicity also causes gastrointestinal upset. Symptoms of this include diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, dehydration, and vomiting.
If you believe that your dog may be suffering from garlic or onion poisoning, you should take them to the vet right away.
Are There Dog-Safe Croutons?
It is possible to make croutons that are safer for dogs. Whether you make square croutons or use cookie cutters to make fun dog bone shapes in the bread before letting it dry out, there are great ways to allow your dogs to enjoy croutons!
Here is a recipe:
- 6 slices of bread
- 1/2 cup bacon fat (olive oil can be used instead)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (if your dog is not allergic to it)
- Preheat oven to. 250 degrees F.
- Cut bread into one-inch squares with a knife or kitchen shears.
- Place parmesan cheese in a medium bowl and toss bread squares to coat them.
- Drizzle the fat over the squares and toss them again until they are evenly coated.
- Spread the squares over a cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes
- Flip the croutons halfway through
- Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool
Some people like to use croutons as pill pockets and will leave a tiny hole in some bread before dying it out. However, dogs love croutons and will eat a hidden pill!
What To Look For In a Recipe
If you search the internet for a recipe for dog-safe croutons, you should make sure that you look for recipes that are lower in fat.
If you find a recipe that calls for butter, you should change it out with olive oil or even bacon fat since those two still have more nutritional value for your dog.
Health Benefits of Croutons
Although there aren’t many, some health benefits of croutons include lowering high blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and obesity, and lowering the risk of heart disease if eaten in moderation.
Side Effects of Croutons
Side effects of croutons include diarrhea, obesity, fatigue, and vomiting due to the butter and garlic powder the croutons may contain.
If your dog consistently eats croutons, they will show extreme symptoms of obesity over time, as their high-fat diet will take a toll on them. You should ensure that they are not eating too many, as obesity can lead to other health issues for your pups, such as arthritis and pancreatitis.
If your dog has eaten croutons that have too much garlic and onion, you may find that your dog is showing signs of garlic or onion poisoning, in which case you should call your vet immediately to figure out the best course of action.
Make sure that you keep track of how many croutons your dog has eaten so that you get an idea of how much of the possibly toxic ingredients they have ingested.
Should Your Dog Eat Croutons
As much as croutons are an excellent snack for us, and as much as your dog may love them, allowing your dog to eat many croutons is going to lead to health issues in the end.
Since croutons are made from stale bread, your dog can end up eating too many carbohydrates, which will lead to unwanted weight gain and other health issues.
Other Crunchy Treats
There are many other crunchy treats that your dogs can eat besides croutons! If you are looking for a good alternative that may be a healthier option, here are a couple of different things you can choose:
Apples that have been cut up are a healthy treat for your dog, and they will love chewing on them! They will help keep their breath fresh and clean of residue. It’s important to note that apples have a lot of sugar, so apple slices given to them should be limited.
Broccoli is excellent for dogs and crunchy! That being said, too much raw broccoli can be challenging for your dog to digest and can lead to an upset stomach.
Most dogs will love chewing on raw carrots since they are super crunchy and taste great! However, if you are to feed your dog carrots, you should make sure that they are cut up in manageable sizes for your dog.
Raw green beans are great for your dog, and they will love chewing them! They are so full of great nutrients like iron and vitamins and are a nutritious alternative to many snacks you may feed your dog.
On top of being a great snack, green beans are one of the few types of beans that do not need to be cooked before your dog eats them! Instead, just throw one to them, and they can enjoy such a nutritious, great snack.
There are so many great treats you can find in pet stores that aren’t just empty calories with no nutritional value.
What To Use As Training Treats
If you are looking for snacks to use as training treats, dog owners should look no further than the list above. Of course, in addition to dog treats, any veggie would do!
Final Thoughts- Can Dogs Eat Croutons?
Although croutons are the perfect topping to any salad, they are a human food and should not be enjoyed by humans, as they can quickly become a toxic treat.
If you have accidentally dropped a couple of croutons on the floor, they likely will not have a negative effect on your dog, other than possibly an upset stomach and a little diarrhea. However, you should make sure that your dog has doesn’t develop any symptoms of toxicity.
While croutons can be a good source of carbs for your dog, they should not need more carbs than what is already in their dog food, as long as they are being fed a nutritionally complete diet.
There are many recipes out there for croutons that are safe for your dog.
The bottom line is, although croutons are not the best food for your dog, and although some of the ingredients can hurt them if eaten in large quantities over a long time, croutons themselves are usually not bad for your dog in moderation.