Have you ever snuck food under the table for an eager dog? Or have you let him have a bite, a lick off your plate or finish the rest of your meal?
It’s a kind gesture, but there are many foods bad for dogs including certain fruits, vegetables and even bread. If you’ve ever wondered, “Is sourdough bread bad for dogs?,” find out the answer here and the reasons why.
Dogs and Bread: Is Sourdough Bread Bad for Dogs?
As it turns out, sourdough bread IS bad for dogs. And if the bread is uncooked—meaning your dog ate raw dough—it can be even worse.
“It contains yeast and may bloat in their gastrointestinal tract,” says Lou Anne Wolfe, DVM, at Will Rogers Animal Hospital in Oklahoma.
If your dog takes a single bite of baked bread, don’t panic. It’s probably not terrible, but it shouldn’t be a habit either. Knowing what’s in bread as well as your dog’s tolerances is helpful when it comes to food and treats.
Top Concerns of Sourdough Bread and Dogs
“As with many human foods, one potential concern with sourdough bread is that it can expand in your dog’s stomach and cause bloating, pain and vomiting,” says Jo Ann Morrison, DVM, DACVIM, senior manager of medical quality advancement for Banfield Pet Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
Bloating, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), can be a serious condition for dogs. The stomach fills with gas and twists, causing severe pain and potentially deadly conditions. The complications can include pressure on the diaphragm, dead tissue, a twisted splee or blocked blood flow to the heart.
Signs of Bloat in Dogs
The signs and symptoms of bloat or GDV are:
- Distended belly
- Agitation or pacing
- Unable to vomit
- Foamy saliva
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Extra attention to stomach
If a dog is showing any of these signs, call your veterinarian immediately. Be ready to answer questions about what your dog recently ate to help your vet make decisions about your pup’s condition.
As serious as bloat may be, it’s not the only condition that yeast in sourdough bread can cause. When yeast ferments in a dog’s stomach, it can produce alcohol. From there it is absorbed in to the bloodstream.
“The digestion of sourdough may produce alcohol, which is toxic to dogs,” Dr. Morrison says.
A dog’s size, health, weight and how much he ate all factor into whether the alcohol can affect him. Effects include a drop in blood sugar, body temperature and blood pressure.
Signs and Symptoms of Canine Alcohol Poisoning
The following symptoms may indicate alcohol poisoning in a dog:
- Ataxia or loss of bodily movements
- Difficulty breathing
If your dog exhibits these signs, call your veterinarian and explain the symptoms. Just as you would do with bloat symptoms, try to recall for your vet what your dog had to eat and drink that day.
Preventing Problems with Pups and Bread
Just like humans shouldn’t eat too much bread, the same goes for dogs—as long as they don’t have allergies to worry about. An allergy to just one ingredient in bread, such as wheat, can cause stomach upset.
Bread also doesn’t offer much nutritional value, so it’s an unnecessary part of a balanced daily diet. In fact, when dogs eat too much bread of any kind, it can lead to obesity.
To prevent potential problems with bread, use the following guidelines:
- Resist the temptation to give dogs bread—especially sourdough
- Never give dogs raw dough
- Do not leave dogs unattended near food
- Ask guests not to give your dog human foods
- Carefully monitor your dog during holidays and parties where he can sneak food or accept it from well-meaning guests
- Know if your dog has any food allergies
Dogs love to eat and they especially love to share in everything their humans are doing. If your dog is the type to beg, train him to sit in another room while you eat.
Another option is to keep dog treats or some of his kibble handy while you eat. Slip him these treats instead of your own food to help prevent an issue.
Generally speaking, the less human food that dogs eat, the better off they are. Diets and foods for dogs are formulated with their optimum health and nutrition in mind.
Read up on other foods bad for dogs here: