Saltine crackers with a classic dip is an epic snack after school or work. And your dog thinks so too! But before giving in to your dog’s cute antics, is it safe to give saltine crackers to dogs?
Some households use saltines as a home remedy. There is a widespread belief that a cracker or two will help ease stomach upsets. But as it turns out, this belief is not well applicable to dogs due to one glaring problem: excessive salt.
What’s On Saltines Crackers?
Saltine crackers are usually made with flour, baking soda, yeast (on some variants), and salt. The thin exterior and the crumbly aftermath give it a satisfying light crunch and dry texture. Additional additives might be present as well if unbreached enriched flour is used.
Nutrition-wise, 5 crackers (16g) have 12g of total carbs and 135mg of sodium, which equates to 4% and 6% of recommended daily consumption, respectively. You’ll effectively get a quarter of your recommended daily sodium once finishing a whole sleeve(40pcs).
Just like Goldfish Crackers, Saltine Crackers are not recommended to be given as treats for dogs or other pets. Although sodium is necessary to your dog’s cellular regeneration, unreasonable amounts might cause more harm than benefits.
What Is The Risk Of Excess Sodium Consumption?
Salt is an essential part of the daily diet. Still, an excessive amount would often make your dog more thirsty, lethargic, and disoriented. Long-term implications of excessive salt in diets include GI tract irritation, weight gain, and heart complications.
The worst-case scenario is when a dog develops salt poisoning after munching on salty food. Dogs have a lower tolerance for excessive salt consumption due to their smaller bodies. Hence, salt poisoning can easily manifest in dogs, which often has fatal consequences.
Sodium poisoning in dogs is usually due to accidental consumption of soy sauce, rock salt, paintballs, and even ocean water. But there are also cases where dogs found and munched on sleeves of saltine crackers.
What Are The Signs Of Sodium Poisoning?
Various signs immediately manifest when a dog is affected by sodium poisonings, such as frequent drinking, lethargy, confusion, and muscle spasm. Call or visit your vet immediately if your dog accidentally consumes many saltine crackers.
Always consider salt when giving treats to your pets (yes, even cats!). And always remember that treats should only account for 10% of your dog’s daily diet to avoid overfeeding your pets which might lead to fatal consequences.
Are There Dog-Friendly Saltine Crackers Alternatives?
Not all is lost for your dogs if you want to share some love through deliciously crunchy crackers. There are plenty of dog-safe alternative snacks if you want to give the best reward for the good-est and cutest furbaby.
Here’s another reason to start or continue your baking journey: your dogs would love oven-baked goods. You don’t have to worry about added preservatives when you personally bake your dog’s snack. The salt content can also be adjusted to minimize the effect of snacking on your dog’s diet.
Avoid giving homemade bread if the ingredient list has any of the following:
- Chocolate, coffee, or caffeine
- Spaces (garlic, onion, etc.)
- Nuts, grapes, and raisins
A product called dog biscuit mix is also available for those who want to bake specifically for their dogs without worrying about ingredient restrictions. Verify if the dog biscuit mix is AAFCO-compliant before giving these treats.
Not a baker? No problem! There are ready-made treats baked and boxed for ease and accessibility. Most of these products are peanut butter-flavored treats that don’t use additives such as yeast, salt, fillers, and artificial flavors.
Saltine Crackers are not toxic for dogs, but these products are also recommended for a regular treat because of excessive sodium content. Sharing human food is not always a good idea due to canine’s different dietary needs. It is better to use proven dog-safe snacks to avoid short-term and long-term impacts on your dog’s health.
Prevention is a better option than administering medicine, which would make your dogs uncomfortable. Avoid any salt-packed and fat-rich food or snacks such as chicken skins for your dog, and always monitor your dog’s food consumption.