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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Pretzels? Vet-Reviewed Health Concerns

Can Dogs Eat Pretzels? Vet-Reviewed Health Concerns

Freshly baked petzels on a cutting board

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Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When you’re sitting on the couch or in the dining room eating a snack, it’s all too common to have your pooch watching you and wanting a bite. And while you can share some snacks with them, that doesn’t mean you can feed them whatever you want.

That’s certainly the case with pretzels, which you should not feed to your dog for a few different reasons. Even though your dog would likely be fine if they pinched a couple while you weren’t looking, they aren’t very healthy. We’ve highlighted the reasons they aren’t a great snack for your pooch below, and we’ve even come up with some great alternatives you can feed your pup instead.

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Reasons You Shouldn’t Give Your Dog Pretzels

There are a few different reasons pretzels are a poor choice for you to give to your dog. We’ve highlighted four of these reasons below.

Sodium Content

Not every pretzel has salt on it, but if you do have salted pretzels, they’re not good for your pet in large numbers.  High levels of sodium can lead to salt toxicosis which is a rare but potentially life-threatening condition. However, this is not caused by a few salty snacks. It is seen most commonly in dogs that have had access to huge amounts of salt e.g been drinking sea water at the beach or eaten de-icing salt.

little dog lying on bed in a hotel room
Image Credit: Brittany Steiner, Shutterstock

Minimal Nutritional Value

We want to give our dogs food that gives them some nutritional value.  The nutritional value of pretzels is fairly low and therefore they are pretty much empty calories for our dogs. They do contain some minerals other than sodium, including calcium, potassium and folate (one of the B vitamins) that your pup requires, so they’re not all bad! However,  for a high calorie snack, you want more goodness for your buck! There’s very little nutritional incentive to give a pretzel to your pup.

Alliums & Other Ingredients

Some flavors of pretzels have ingredients like garlic or onions, which are part of the Allium family. Alliums are actually toxic for dogs, making these pretzels an especially poor choice. Some pretzels also contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, and this is toxic for dogs as well.  If you are going to give your pup a pretzel, make sure you thoroughly check the packet for any toxic ingredients. If you are at all unsure, call your veterinarian; they will be happy to advise.

Homemade pretzels fresh out of the oven
Image Credit: NoirChocolate, Shutterstock

Highly calorific

Dogs don’t need as many carbohydrates as us, and pretzels are very high in carbohydrates. Excessive carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and issues associated with being overweight such as mobility difficulties. So, even if you find pretzels without alliums, sodium, or other harmful ingredients, the high calorie content of a pretzel alongside its poor nutritional offering makes it a poor snack choice.

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Better Treats for Dogs

While you shouldn’t feed your dog pretzels, there are a few safe human foods you can offer to your pet. We’ve highlighted five healthy treats you can give your dog when they’re begging you for some pretzels.

Sheltie dog with treat in mouth and lying on couch
Image Credit: Chedko, Shutterstock

Bananas

Bananas are a low-cost fruit that is a healthy and tasty snack for your dog. They don’t always last the longest though, so you’ll need to keep purchasing them if you want to always have them on hand for your dog. Finally, keep in mind that bananas are high in sugar, so don’t overdo it when feeding them to your pup.

Apples

Apples are a sweet treat that dogs typically can’t get enough of. Remove the seeds before feeding them to your dog, and always wash them beforehand. Don’t overdo it with apples, though, because they are high in natural sugars.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a great snack option for your dog. You can feed broccoli raw or cooked, although it is easier for your pup to digest cooked broccoli. When cooking broccoli for your dog, don’t add additional seasonings.

Watermelon

Watermelon is another sweet treat for your pup. Not only is it full of beneficial nutrients, but it’s also full of water, making it extremely hydrating. It’s a great summer treat for your pup as long as you remove the seeds and rind first.

Carrots

Carrots are another great veggie for your pet. You can feed your dog cooked or raw carrots, but again, don’t add additional seasonings or flavorings, as these can present health problems.

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Final Thoughts

While you shouldn’t feed your dog pretzels, it’s not likely to cause any major issues if they have one or two (as long as they don’t contain any toxic ingredients!).  However, that doesn’t mean they should be having them.  There are lots of better treats that you can give them that offer healthy vitamins and minerals that pretzels don’t provide.  When you’re chowing down on a pretzel, there’s nothing wrong with giving your pup a healthy treat too. That way, both of you can have something to enjoy.

Whether it’s a store-bought dog treat or one of the options we listed above, go ahead and give them something a little special from time to time.


Featured Image Credit: Evgeny Karandaev, Shutterstock

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