At first glance, croutons might not be the first thing you’d think about giving your dog as a snack.
The more you look at them though, the more you may notice they’re the perfect size to be training snacks or treats for your pup.
And not only are they small and come in small packets which are perfect for training, but they’re also tasty and relatively cheap to buy.
It also wouldn’t be surprising if you were tempted to toss a crouton from your Caesar salad to your dog, but the question is… are croutons safe for dogs?
Are croutons toxic?
The main reason why croutons would be toxic is because they can contain onion and garlic.
And if eaten in large enough amounts, onion and garlic can be toxic or even deadly to dogs.
So for this reason, croutons might not be the best snack for your dog if it contains those ingredients.
However, if you can find croutons that don’t have this type of seasoning in them then croutons make great snacks for your pup.
There are even multiple recipes online for you to make your own croutons so you can be aware of all the ingredients.
What are symptoms of onion or garlic poisoning?
The symptoms of garlic poisoning and onion poisoning are the same because they cause the same thing, anemia.
Members of the allium family, which includes garlic and onions, contain thiosulfate.
Thiosulfate are toxic to dogs and cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, which causes dogs to develop hemolytic anemia.
Signs of anemia are rapid breathing, weakness, lethargy, jaundice, dark colored urine, and pale gums.
It’s important to note that garlic toxicity causes symptoms of gastrointestinal upset in addition to anemia.
These symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, depression, and dehydration.
If you think your dog is suffering from garlic or onion poisoning then you should take them to the vet right away.
What nutrition do croutons contain?
There aren’t many nutritional benefits to croutons unless they’re made from whole grain bread.
These can be hard to come by, seeing as most brands of croutons are made from enriched bread.
The easiest way to get whole wheat croutons is to make them yourself, and if you do that then there are some minor health benefits available.
Whole wheat croutons provide a good amount of carbs which can fuel your dog with a little energy boost.
They also contain a small amount of fiber.
And finally, consuming more whole grains has been linked to a lowered risk of serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Can dogs eat Italian seasoned croutons?
If you are thinking about giving your dog seasoned croutons then you need to research all the ingredients in that seasoning first, to make sure there isn’t anything harmful to your pup in there.
For example, Italian seasoning normally contains basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme as its main ingredients which are things that are okay for dogs to eat in moderation.
But what it contains can vary from recipe to recipe, and some Italian seasoning contains marjoram.
Marjoram is extremely toxic to dogs and can lead to symptoms like seizures or bleeding disorders.
Toast vs Croutons: Which is better for your dog?
So you don’t want to buy seasoned croutons from the store, but maybe you don’t want to make your own either.
It seems like a similar alternative is toast, and honestly toast is pretty similar to croutons as far as nutritional value goes as long as the toast is made out of whole grain bread.
Not only that, but toast is also cheaper since you don’t have to worry about seasoning it at all, which means there are less ingredients.
And this also means it will take less time to prepare.
So overall, even though they both have similar nutritional value, toast would win out because if its efficiency.
Can dogs eat garlic bread?
Garlic bread is without a doubt a tasty snack, but it is something that you really shouldn’t give your dog.
It’s not particularly dangerous but it isn’t healthy for your dog either.
We’ve already covered why garlic can be bad for your dog, but one of garlic bread’s other primary ingredients is butter and that isn’t the healthiest thing either.
Firstly, butter is a dairy based product and so it could be even worse for a dog with a dairy intolerance.
Also, if your dog eats too much butter at once it can cause gastroenteritis, which leads to diarrhea and vomiting, since gastroenteritis causes inflammation in the stomach and intestines.
And additionally, because butter is so high in fat it can predispose your dog to weight issues as well as cause more serious problems like pancreatitis if your dog eats butter regularly.
Can dogs eat cheese?
Now that you have your answer about the croutons, you may be thinking about other ingredients in salads and whether or not your dog can have them.
One thing that comes to mind is cheese, and actually your dog should be able to eat cheese in moderation.
In fact, cheese makes a great training treat, and contains a lot of nutrients such as protein, calcium, essential fatty acids, vitamin A, and B-complex vitamins.
You should keep in mind though, that your dog may be lactose intolerant in which case they shouldn’t have cheese even in small doses.
So make sure to watch your dog for signs of intestinal upset after they have cheese for the first time, and always contact your vet if you have questions about changing your dogs diet.
If your dog isn’t lactose intolerant then you should be able to feed them cheese occasionally, although it is best to feed them low-fat cheeses such as soft goat cheese, mozzarella, and cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese is arguably the best cheese to give to your dog, since it’s lower in not only fat but also in sodium than other cheeses.
And additionally it has even less lactose which reduces the chance of a negative reaction from your pup.
What other human foods make great dog training snacks?
Aside from cheese, there are other human foods that can work as training treats and also provide nutrition for our dogs.
One of these other foods is apple slices, which in addition to containing lots of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, also has the added benefit of cleaning residue off your dog’s teeth which will help make their breath fresher.
If you do decide to give your dog apple slices, just make sure to remove potential choking hazards such as the core of the apple and the seeds.
Another human food that is great for your dog’s teeth is carrots.
Not only are they great for a dog’s teeth, but they’re also high in fiber, beta carotene, and vitamin A all the while being low in calories.
You can feed your dog raw or cooked carrots, but you should make sure to slice them into bite sized pieces to prevent choking.
If you don’t want to bother with slicing them up then you could opt for baby carrots instead, they have the same nutrients but are bite sized already.
To sum things up, croutons can be a healthy training treat for your pup if it isn’t seasoned with anything that could be toxic such as garlic or onions.
Making your own is always the best way to ensure there aren’t any unwanted ingredients, and it’s always better safe than sorry when it comes to our furry friends.
But if you don’t really feel like making homemade croutons then there are other, simpler to make, options such as carrots, cheese, or even some plain toast.
Either way, your dog is sure to enjoy a special snack here and there.