Can Dogs Eat Pretzels?


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Chances are, most of us have heard about various foods that are unhealthy for dogs. For example, most dog owners are well aware that chocolate can have a negative and or serious effect on any type of dog breed, but can dogs eat pretzels or peanut butter, for instance?

Maybe you just got a cute new puppy. Perhaps you are house-sitting or watching the dog for friends or family members, or maybe you are just curious about whether dogs eat pretzel bread or if too much salt in their nutrition can lead them down a wrong path. Stick around as we dive into what dogs can eat and what you should never feed them.

If you want a quick answer, without any caveats or nuances, then we’d say: NO, don’t feed your dog any pretzels or similar foods such as pretzel chips. But things are not necessarily so black and white after all. For example, different brands produce different pretzels with various ingredients. So let’s take a closer look at why exactly we recommend not feeding your dogs any pretzels, even those delicious yogurt pretzels.

What Are The Ingredients of Regular Pretzels?

Pretzels taste delicious, and they are good for a quick snack in between meals as they have a nice texture, plenty of carbs to fill us up, a lovely color, and they are even easy to eat with their shape lending well to being broken off in pieces and eaten at our leisure. But can dogs eat pretzels or not?

If you were to make your own pretzels at home, maybe even together with your dog, you would need just a handful of different ingredients, such as:

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Butter

So, nothing too special or worrying. Unfortunately that’s not quite right. It is important to note that whether your dogs eat pretzel chips, sticks, or plain pretzel bread, the main problem that causes problems is actually the salt, and possibly also if the pretzels contain xylitol. Therefore, dogs should not be fed food with a high level of salt because of issues such as salt poisoning.

Another worry is the general amount of carbs found in the flour, as dogs, in general, should not eat too many carbohydrates. This is because too many carbs can cause dogs to gain excessive weight and also causes issues with their blood sugar. In addition, eating too much carbohydrates can also lead to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

What’s Wrong with Salt in Pretzels?

At first glance, all these ingredients seem common and harmless. And sure, for humans, other than maybe gaining a little weight, pretzels do not cause any major issues, and we could eat plenty of pretzels before our doctor would complain to us about cholesterol, for instance.

But dogs that chance upon a pretzel that fell on the floor are given to them as treats for being the good dogs they are, or otherwise feed on pretzels; the high sodium in salt can cause an issue with salt poisoning.

This is not something any dog owner should ever wish to happen to their dog. The salt poisoning of dogs can cause a range of symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, mobility issues, and more. In addition, they might be more prone to urinate, and in the worst cases, dogs that eat too much salt can experience tremors or seizures; they can go into a coma or even outright die because of the salt levels. So clearly, we should not feed our dogs pretzels sprinkled with salt or any other food high in salt.

Can Dogs Eat Unsalted Pretzels?

In theory, it could be okay to give your dog unsalted pretzels from time to time if you are sure of the ingredients, and for whatever reason, really feel like it. However, we would still recommend you find some other and safer choice of food or snack where you are more certain that it won’t affect the dog’s health.

There’s another concern, though; if you are buying store-bought pretzels, there can be other ingredients in the pretzel than those listed above. The company could be using artificial sweeteners, flavor enhancers, and other ingredients that might have a negative effect on your dog’s digestive system. The same goes for pretzel chips, pretzel goldfish, and yogurt-covered pretzels. Regardless of the flavor, remember to check for the amount of salt.

These days, there are tons of consumer products on the market and some dog food companies that produce special dog pretzels that are designed to be safe for dogs to eat. Sometimes these are soft-baked pretzels; other times, they are tougher inconsistency. You might wonder if dogs eat hard pretzels, and the answer is maybe. Every dog is different, but if the dog is healthy and has a good set of teeth, a hard pretzel made for dogs should be no problem. It might even last a little longer, providing more joy to the dog.

If you are unsure for any reason if you should feed your dog a certain food item, call your veterinarian and ask them. In general, we would say that you should not let your dogs eat pretzels unless they are specifically made for dog consumption. Of course, a rare treat once every blue moon might be okay, but honestly, why risk it?

Do Peanut Butter Pretzels Make Any Difference?

Peanut butter itself is according to the American Kennel Club known to be alright for dogs to eat as long as the butter doesn’t contain any xylitol. So whatever flavor the pretzel has, you still need to concern yourself with the amount of salt.

So can dogs eat pretzels with peanut butter flavor? Unfortunately, the answer is still no most of the time. When factories and bakeries produce peanut butter pretzels, they still tend to add salt as part of their ingredients, sometimes even more than in pretzels without peanut butter. And salty foods are not a good thing for our dog’s health.

The main reason you should not feed your dog peanut butter pretzels is again because of the high level of salt found in the baked good. In fact, the average dog can only tolerate a very small amount of salt, and the smaller the dog is (, the less it weighs), the less salt it can eat before having reached a critical amount.

Can Dogs Eat Pretzels That aren’t Homemade?

Since you’ve most likely found this post searching for answers to the question “can dogs eat pretzels,” it is important to note that most store-bought pretzels can cause an upset stomach, have an adverse effect on the dog’s health. In some cases, they can even be highly toxic if they are filled with salt or given to weak or very old dogs. The carbohydrates can also lead to weight gain, and you risk providing the dog with too much sodium.

What Happens to A Dog’s Stomach When It Eats Pretzels?

Normally, when a dog eats dog food, the nutritional value is already calculated by the dog food producers, so all we have to do as owners is worry about choosing the bag of dog food designed for our type of dog.

When a dog is fed proper food with a correct balance of nutrition, the digestive system can absorb all the nutritious parts of the food into the bloodstream, and the stomach then discards the rest of the food. So if you would like to see your dog eat pretzels, our recommendation is that you buy ones meant specifically for dogs.

Since the excess levels of salt in the food will be absorbed by our dogs, symptoms can occur, such as the dog having trouble dealing with sodium chloride. As a rule of thumb, dogs can only eat around half a tablespoon of salt per 2 ounces of body weight, any more than that, and the stomach and rest of the dog’s digestive system can come under stress, and bad symptoms can occur.

In some cases, dog owners might be lucky that their dog’s natural response to sodium poisoning is vomiting out whatever the dog ate. This can help reduce the bad effects, but we would still recommend seeing a vet for a health check to ensure that too much salt did not reach the digestive system.

Related Contents

What Happens to The Dog’s Digestive System?

In short, the digestive system in dogs helps absorb the food they eat and turn it into energy and body fat. There are many parts to a digestive system, from the intestines, liver, stomach, and even tongue and teeth are part of this intricate design.

When our dogs eat too much sugar, salt, onion powder, or other food items that the digestive system is not built for, many things can go wrong, often leading to compounding issues. This means that one problem can turn into two and quickly turn into even more. So it quickly becomes important to improve the dog’s diet and get it back on the right track.

How Much Salt Can A Dog Eat?

While too much salt can be harmful to the dog, a little bit of sodium is recommended and even necessary for a proper diet. The issue is that human food tends to have much higher salt ratios than what a dog can stomach. So when a dog eats a pretzel with low levels of salt, it can help the dog with its cellular functions such as fluid balance, stomach acidity, and more.

For the digestion system in dogs, the sodium in salt also helps since the chloride from the sodium improves the dog’s digestive system. But as mentioned, too much salt is a bad thing. Professionals generally agree that 3 grams of salt per kilogram of body weight is within safe limits for our dogs; any more than that, and it can become a serious issue.

How Can You Tell If A Dog Has A Bad Reaction to The Food It Ate?

If you experience obvious issues, such as the dog having trouble breathing or reacting poorly to the food it ate, you should bring the dog to the vet immediately. Below we will mention the most common symptoms of bad reactions to food consumption; this could happen with salted pretzels, pretzel sticks, or another salty snack, so be vigilant:

  • Increased thirst
  • Incontinence or more regular urination
  • Less appetite
  • General weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

What Do I Do If The Dog Ate Something Bad?

If you are familiar with your dog’s natural patterns and hang around your dog for large periods of time when home, it might be easy enough to see that something is wrong with your dog. On the other hand, if your dog is outside in the yard all by itself, it can be more difficult to spot an urgent situation when it occurs. For example, if you have given your dog new food that you are unsure about, remember to stay close so you can respond in time if it becomes necessary.

If you have caught your dog eating pretzels, you should make sure that the dog has access to plenty of drinking water while you are rushing to bring the dog to a clinic or veterinarian so the dog can get urgent medical attention.

What’s The Professional Veterinary Advice for Dogs And Nutrition?

If the dog gets a proper dosage of water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, we are off to a great start. The good news is that store-bought food for dogs has calculated proper values, and if you buy quality pet food, your dogs can safely eat this without worrying about balancing proteins and carbohydrates.

The problem arises when we try to feed our furry friends food that is meant for humans. The salt toxicity is the main problem, making pretzels bad in general.

In order to avoid serious issues, from tremors to kidney failure, we must regulate our dog’s salt intake and take the dog’s age into account. A young puppy or a senior dog will have a harder time managing problems with their diet than a healthy dog in the middle of its life span.

You should always seek assistance from professionals who provide medical advice if you are unsure about your dog’s health or nutrition.


We all love dogs and wish for them to have a happy life with plenty of love and tasty treats. But since most dogs can not eat traditional pretzels, we are best advised to find another snack for our pooch, even if the dog begs us for that soft pretzel.