Once when hosting a supper for some friends I was carrying a big bowl of spaghetti into the dining room. I was not aware that a long piece of spaghetti was trailing from the bowl and my dog saw his chance, grabbed the end in his mouth and pulled it. He ate the contraband treat quickly and then slunk away as it expecting admonishment. I was more concerned that he would be okay.
He did not suffer any side-effects so I guess pasta is good for dogs to eat. Am I right?
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Can dogs eat pasta?
Yes, is the short answer! Plain pasta will do your dog no harm. It is a simple food made from flour, eggs, and water. All of those are quite safe for a dog to eat. The important thing to remember is that plain pasta is fine. It becomes more complicated when debating whether to feed pasta with added ingredients to your dog.
Plain pasta is rather boring and you would probably not enjoy a dish of it yourself. You need more ingredients to make a tasty meal. Common ingredients that we love in our pasta dishes can cause problems for dogs. So let’s see which ones are okay and which are not.
Pasta ingredients – good or bad.
– Cheese should be kept to a minimum. It isn’t going to do any harm in small quantities but can be problematic if too much is eaten. Cheese is high in fat and can lead to increased weight leading to heart problems. Too much cheese can lead to digestive problems too.
– Basil is okay in tiny quantities.
– Black pepper is also fine in very small amounts.
– Oregano is a big NO as it is toxic to dogs.
– Salt is best avoided as you won’t know how much is in any other foods he has. Excess salt can give dogs headaches, bring on dizziness, and even cause seizures.
– Garlic and onions (and chives and leeks) should be avoided completely. There is a toxin in every member of the onion family of plants that can result in poisoning in dogs. If you think your dog has eaten onion or garlic in a pasta dish, look out for signs of weakness and lethargy. Your dog will become anemic as the poison damages red blood cells. If you think your dog may have onion poisoning consult your veterinarian for advice.
– Lentils are considered to be generally healthy for dogs due to their high level of fiber.
– Chickpeas also have a high level of fiber and are also quite filling so a few will help to stop your dog feeling hungry.
– If you are serving some plain cooked pasta to your dog do not be tempted to add butter. Butter is not good for dogs and can be actually harmful.
How much pasta is safe for my dog?
Pasta should not be fed in large quantities or as a regular replacement for their normal food. See a small amount of pasta as adding a bit of variety to your dog’s diet. This can be useful if you have a dog that is a fussy eater.
The biggest risk from serving your dog too much pasta is weight gain. An obese dog runs the risk of developing other health issues. Among those are heart disease, poor kidney function, joint pain, and breathing difficulties. No dog owner likes to see their dog suffering and these problems can be reduced by keeping your dog at an ideal weight. Diet is important in achieving this, as is exercise. Keep the fattening foods as occasional treats not regular meals.
Pasta does not have much nutritional value. Any dog’s diet should be protein-rich and have limited carbohydrates. Pasta is high-carbohydrate and low in protein.
What about pasta sauce?
Given that onions are poisonous to dogs and oregano is also toxic, then you would be wise to make sure your dog does not eat pasta sauce. If the sauce is made with olive oil and tomato then the chances are they will just vomit it back. However, it is much better not to take any risks. Keep pasta sauce away from your dog!
Dogs can have small quantities of cooked plain pasta on occasion. There are, however, no real health benefits for a dog, so there is no real reason to give your dog pasta.