Are you guilty of late-night snacking on Cheez-It with your dog? We understand. Most pooch parents find it difficult to resist spoiling their pups with a tasty treat here and there, especially when your dog is puppy eyeing you.
Cheez-It is undoubtedly the perfect snack to nibble on while catching up on the latest Netflix Series – or during summertime picnics. Crispy, cheesy, and tasty, this flavorful snack is the perfect indulgence.
But should you be worried when your furry baby gobbles down an entire pack of this popular cheesy snack? Is Cheez-It good for your dog? We explore whether dogs can eat Cheez-It, if it’s safe and all you need to know about giving your dog this cheesy taste of goodness.
What Is Cheez-It?
The snack has been around for the last 100 years and boasts a cult following across the globe. The popular cheddar cheese-flavored cracker comes in various sizes, flavors, and shapes, including squares, grooves, and other unique designs. You can pair it with casserole dishes and wine pairings. No wonder it’s a guilty pleasure for most people.
Cheeze-It is made with real, authentic cheddar cheese. But its signature orange color is from annatto extract and paprika extract. Annatto is a natural orange-red food dye that lends a nutty taste to dishes.
So, what’s in Cheez-Its? The square-bit-sized crackers are made of a generous list of ingredients, including:
- Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, Vitamin B1 and B2, reduced iron, and Folic acid)
- Cheese made with skim milk (skim milk, salt, whey protein, cheese cultures, annatto extract, and enzymes)
- Vegetable oil (palm/canola oil plus TBHQ for freshness, soybean)
- 2% or less of paprika, salt, yeast, soy lecithin, paprika extract color
A standard serving which is equivalent to 27 Cheez-Its crackers contains:
- 8 grams of fat
- 150 calories
- 230 milligrams of salt
Why Do Dogs Find Cheez-It Irresistible?
Perhaps you’ve noticed that your pup has a liking for Cheez-It, and you’re wondering what’s making them drool over the delicious snack. Cheez-It has a yummy flavor and chewy texture that dogs find appealing. The square bite-size cheesy cracker is also easy to consume and has a unique taste.
Plus, it is a perfect size and takes up minimal space in the mouth. No need to worry about your furry friend choking or gagging like with other snacks.
Is Cheez-It Good For Dogs?
No. We don’t recommend you feed Cheez-It to your dogs. Most of the ingredients listed in this popular snack are not healthy for your pooch. Technically, it is not toxic to your pup, but it offers your canine companion no nutrition.
It has empty calories that will make your pup fat and sick if consumed in high amounts. So, if you must give your dog Cheez-Its, do so in moderation, occasionally, and selectively to canines that are tolerant to lactose, not obese, and have no history of stomach upsets.
How Much Cheez-It Should Your Dog Eat?
The number of Cheez-Its you can safely feed your dog depends on their age, size, and weight. But, overall, 90% of your dog’s daily caloric intake should come from their regular foods and 10% from snacks and treats. So, this is about 20 to 30 calories daily.
Each Cheez-It cracker is around 5.6 calories, so never attempt to feed your four-legged companion more than three Cheez-It crackers in a day for puppies, and 4 to 5 pieces for the older pups.
What Happens If Your Pup Eats Too Much Cheez-Its?
Looking at the ingredients list, you’ll notice Cheez-It has a high salt content. Too much salt can make your dog vomit, have diarrhea or lead to sodium ion poisoning. Ideally, dogs shouldn’t consume more than 100 milligrams of sodium daily. So, if your dog munched an entire pack of Cheez-Its, that would be more than double the recommended sodium intake.
Signs of sodium ion poisoning include:
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Fluid build-up
If left untreated, sodium-ion poisoning can cause kidney damage, seizures, tremors, and death. Wheat and dairy can also cause allergy flare-ups in dogs suffering from gluten and lactose intolerance. Your dog will suffer from digestive issues, itchy skin, red, inflamed paws, vomiting, and diarrhea. Unlike humans, most canines lack the lactase enzyme to digest lactose.
Furthermore, soybean oil is toxic to pups with soybean allergies and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, eyelid inflammation, pruritus, hair loss, skin inflammation, and scratching of the ears.
Annatto is also harmful to our canine companions and doesn’t offer any nutritional value. It has been linked to tremors and seizures in some dogs.
My Dog Ate Too Much Cheez-Its, What Steps Can I Take?
If you suspect your pooch has gobbled up too much Cheez-Its than they should, look out for signs of gastrointestinal disturbance and overall behavior change. Give them plenty of water to keep them hydrated and flush out the excess salt in their system. If they don’t feel better within 24 hours, rush them to the vet clinic.
Tips For Safely Feeding Your Dogs Cheez-Its?
If you’re feeling generous enough and want to share a few pieces of Cheez-Its with your dog, here are some guidelines to ensure safe snacking:
- Stick to giving your pup Cheez-It as a snack or an occasional treat and never as a supplement or meal replacement in their regular diet.
- If you have kids, let them know how bad it is to regularly feed the dog Cheez-Its, especially when you’re not around.
- For young puppies, crash the cheese crackers into smaller pieces for easy swallowing and digestion.
- There are numerous varieties of Cheez-Its, but the spicy ones are a no-no for your pup. Your canine friend cannot handle hot spicy foods.
- Stash your Cheez-it bag in a safe place where your dog cannot find it. Pups are notorious for eating anything and cannot tell the difference between healthy and non-nutritious foods.
- Avoid feeding Cheez-It to your dog if it’s lactose intolerant. They’ll end up with stomach upset and vomiting.
Additionally, you should talk to your veterinarian about snacking your dog on Cheez-Its since they might have allergies you are not aware of.
The Bottom Line
Cheez-It is unlikely to harm your dog when consumed occasionally, but it doesn’t mean you purposefully feed it to your dog. It is high in calories, seasoning, salt, and fat, and offers no nutritional value to your pup.
The cheese cracker also contains some harmful ingredients to our canine friends. Instead, feed your dog a quality brand of canine-friendly food designed to meet their nutritional needs better.
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