Asking whether or not a dog can eat a Rice Krispie treat might sound like a bit of an odd question to ask…
After all, surely people don’t feed these to their dogs as a substitute for dog biscuits do they?!
No, I wouldn’t think that most dog owners would do something like that.
But I do think that there are many dog owners with young children who might be wandering round the house snacking on all kinds of foods.
And Krispie treat bars are one possibility.
Toddlers who wander around and eat tend to have food at a very dog friendly level.
I should know, I have a grandson who is in the same boat.
Now, my dogs wouldn’t normally dare to try and take food from him.
But it doesn’t mean that they never will.
And so it is in that context that I want to take a close look at Rice Krispie bars and find out just how dog friendly they are…
What are Rice Krispie treats?
Rice Krispie treats are the bars or chunks of sticky gooey Rice Krispies that are held together by lots of sugary ingredients.
Rice Krispie treats come in two forms.
Firstly, you can buy ready to eat treats from a shop.
These are made by the experts- Kellogs!
Secondly, you make these treats at home.
And what is interesting is that Kellogs have published a recipe for you to follow.
And so in this article I’m going to look at the ingredients that are in the ready to eat Krispie treats and those that are in the homemade recipe.
And from there work out if they are safe for your dog to eat.
What are the ingredients in ready to eat Rice Krispie treats?
Did you know that there are actually twelve different varieties of Rice Krispie treat?
I didn’t realise that there were that many.
What I’m going to do is to take a look at the ingredients in the “original” treat bars before then talking about specific ingredients that are in the different varieties.
The ingredients in the original bars are:
- malt flavour
- Vitamin B2
- Folic acid
- Corn syrup
- Vegetable oil
- Corn syrup solids
Now the most comforting thing about this ingredient list is that rice is listed as the first ingredient, which means that it is the “biggest” ingredient in the recipe.
And that is great- there is nothing wrong with rice. It is a healthy grain that won’t do your dog any harm at all.
Next up, sugar is the second most used ingredient in these bars.
Uh- oh- we all know how bad sugar can be. In terms of its effects on weight gain and in wrecking teeth. Ours as well as our dogs.
But here’s the thing.
Sugar is mentioned again near the end of the list.
And not only that.
As we look down the ingredients list, we can see that many of the other ingredients are different forms of sugar.
Corn syrup, corn syrup solids and fructose are all sugar products.
To put it another way, in a list of twelve ingredients five of them are sugar.
And when we look at the nutrition facts (the panel on our right) in a 22 g bar of Rice Krispie treats. 16 g or 72% of the bar is sugar!
Now, sugar isn’t poisonous or toxic for dogs.
But having too much sugar does lead to some unpleasant side effects.
Just as it is with people, dogs need as little sugar in their diet as possible.
The third most used ingredient is salt.
And again if we look at the nutrition facts, we can see that each bar contains 5% of the recommended daily amount of salt for an adult human.
Which is way more than a dog needs.
Let me quickly explain some of the remaining ingredients.
Malt flavour (is actually another sugar) comes from adding water to barley grain and then heating them up.
Cereals are often fortified- which means that they have vitamins added to the recipe.
Rice Krispie treats have three vitamins added- niacinamide (which is vitamin B3), vitamin B2 and folic acid.
As far as your dog is concerned, these are nothing to worry about.
Before I move onto talk about other varieties and flavours of Rice Krispie treats, I want to say again that the original bars don’t contain any ingredients that will be toxic for your dog.
Can dogs eat chocolate Rice Krispie treats?
Of the remaining eleven different varieties of treat bars that you can buy, five of them contain chocolate.
And they are:
- Cookies ‘n Creme Treats
- Treats with milk chocolate M&Ms
- Cocoa Krispie treats
- Cocoa Krispie treats with M&Ms
- Chocolate Homestlye bars.
And chocolate is poisonous to dogs because it contains a chemical called theobromine, which a dog’s body cannot absorb properly.
Chocolate doesn’t poison a dog as soon as they sniff it, there are other factors to consider.
The type of chocolate is an important indicator of how poisonous it will be to dogs.
Darker chocolate is far more dangerous than milk chocolate because it contains more theobromine.
And the size of your dog matters. Smaller dogs that eat the same amount of chocolate as bigger dogs are far more at risk.
And for dog owners who are worried about chocolate poisoning, there are some great online calculators that can help you decide how worried you need to be.
You just need to know the weight of your dog and the type of chocolate that they ate.
One such calculator is here.
The trouble with the Rice Krispie Treats that contain chocolate is we don’t know how much chocolate is in the recipe or the variety of chocolate that is used.
Chocolate is listed as one of the least used ingredients in the recipe which is very good news.
Since we don’t know the exact amount used, we can presume that if your dog accidentally gets given a bite or two of a chocolate treat bar then they will be fine.
If they have any more or they manage to steal and eat a whole box of chocolate flavoured Krispie bars, how your dog fares will largely depend on their size.
Can dogs eat homemade Rice Krispie treats?
Having looked at the ready to eat bars that you can buy at your local store, it is now time to look at the recipe that Kellogs have published so that you can make these treats at home.
Now, obviously the Kellog’s recipe is only one of many recipes that are available.
But if I spent time trying to look at them all we would be here all day.
So, what are the ingredients in the Kellog’s recipe?
- 6 cups of Rice Krispies
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups of jet puffed marshmallows
So we already know what the ingredients go into making Rice Krispies are: rice, sugar, salt and malt flavouring.
I have explained how most of these ingredients, whilst not ideal, aren’t toxic to your dog.
And the same can be said of both butter and marshmallows.
Butter isn’t toxic to your dog.
But it is 81% fat and if it is salted it will also contain high levels of sodium.
It isn’t poison but it isn’t ideal either.
Next are marshmallows.
And it shouldn’t surprise you to know that these are little soft cushions of sugar.
The six biggest ingredients in marshmallows are:
- Corn syrup
- Sugar (of course!)
- Modified Cornstarch
The first three ingredients are all forms of sugar.
Modified cornstarch and gelatin are used to thicken the marshmallows and to provide texture and shape.
None of these ingredients are known toxins for dogs, which is great news.
Two dangerous ingredients in Rice Krispie Treats
I have looked at one other popular recipe for homemade Rice Krispie cakes and it does include vanilla extract.
Not many people know this, but vanilla extract is over 30% alcohol.
Dogs don’t do well with alcohol- it should be treated as a poison for them.
Now obviously the amount of vanilla extract used in the recipe is very small but if you can find a recipe that doesn’t use it.
Another ingredient that I want to briefly bring to your attention is xylitol.
Now xylitol is a sugar substitute.
It is used instead of sugar because it is as sweet as sugar but with far less calories.
Now, there is no good reason for sugar to be included in a Rice Krispie treat recipe but if you do stumble across one or you are tempted to swap it for xylitol, please don’t.
Xylitol is highly toxic for dogs and it could even kill them.
And it goes without saying that you shouldn’t consider making or sharing Rice Krispy treats that include any amount of chocolate in them!
Can dogs eat Rice Krispie treats?
Rice Krispie treats are as healthy for our dogs as they are for us!
There are plenty of far healthier human foods that you can feed your dog instead of these.
But a few bites when your dog is sharing with your children won’t do them any harm.
And a dog that steals a tray of homemade treats or a box of ready to eat treats will probably just have a very bad dose of diarrhea.
And have to face a very angry Mum or Dad.
But if your dog steals a box of store bought Rice Krispie treats that include any form of chocolate might be exposing themselves to chocolate poisoning.
As we discussed earlier, a dog cannot absorb theobromine (a chemical found in chocolate) properly.
And so, if this has happened to your dog and they display any of the following symptoms, you need to phone your vet immediately.
And the symptoms are:
- Racing heart