Yes, dogs can eat Cheez-It rarely as a treat. However, a higher fat, dairy, and salt profile makes them an unhealthy choice for your canine.
What is Cheez-It?
Cheez-It is a crunchy salt-coated cheese cracker manufactured by the Kellogg Company. This snack is trendy among children and adults worldwide and was introduced in the year 1921. But unfortunately, these are empty-calorie snacks that do not benefit your dog nutritionally.
Is Cheez-It Safe for Dogs?
Cheez-It is not made up of any toxic ingredients. So, you can safely feed him this snack provided, he eats a healthy diet and is free from any food allergies. However, this snack comes in a range of flavors with spices, onion powder and high amounts of salt. Hence, when fed excessively, these crackers will harm your pet’s digestive system. It may also make him obese, increasing his risk of developing heart disease, joint issues, and diabetes.
Is Cheez-It Good for Dogs?
The Nutritional profile of Cheez-It (One Cheez-It Cracker) are as follows:
|Total Fat, g||0.3|
|Saturated Fat, g||< 0.1|
|Polyunsaturated Fat, g||0.1|
|Monounsaturated Fat, g||< 0.1|
|Total Carbohydrate, g||0.6|
|Dietary Fiber, g||< 0.1|
|Calcium, mg||< 1|
|Iron, mg||< 1|
Cheez-It doesn’t benefit your dog’s health, but they do contain some nutrients. But the presence of these nutrients does not balance out the negatives of Cheez Its. The nutrients per serving of Cheez Its and their corresponding health benefits are enlisted below:
|Nutrients||Quantity per serving||Functions:|
|Protein:||4 grams||Helps proper body functioningPromotes healthy skin and hair, Promotes muscle developmentInitiates to repairing tissue.|
|Iron:||1.4 mg||It Helps in the transportation of oxygen on the hemoglobin moleculesDistributes oxygen to all the muscles and organ systems|
|Calcium:||40 mg||Aids in teeth and bone health.Aids in clotting the blood properly.|
|Potassium||40 mg||helps balance nerve impulses and brain functionPromotes muscle activity and heart function|
Why is Cheez-It Bad for Dogs?
Cheez-It is made up of ingredients that are harmful to your canines in different ways. Here we have enlisted these ingredients and their corresponding adverse health effects in dogs. They include:
- Enriched flour:
This flour is highly processed and is derived from wheat. While processing, many natural nutrients are lost hence it is replaced artificially. Although this flour contains vitamin B and iron, your canine should receive it from other healthy sources. Additionally, if your canine companion is allergic to wheat, he may develop the following symptoms of wheat allergy:
Symptoms Of Wheat Allergy
- Flaky, dry, and itchy skin.
- Frequently licking their skin causing their hair or coat to fall off.
- Prevalence of bald spots throughout the body.
- Red or inflamed paw pads due to frequent licking of the paws.
- Sunburned skin due to loss of hair to protect their skin.
- Gastrointestinal upset.
- Vegetable oil from high oleic soybean, soybean, palm, and/or canola oil with TBHQ for freshness.
High oleic soybean, soybean: This contains more omega-9 fatty acid in monounsaturated form. These oils may cause soybean allergies; hence it is better to feed your dog fish oil or olive oil as a healthy option.
Symptoms of soybean allergy:
- Frequently scratching at the ears or shaking the head due to ear canal infections.
- Yeast or bacterial infection in the ear.
- An annoying sensation that causes your dogs to itch and scratch themselves, known as Pruritus.
- Hair loss due to frequent licking of the skin.
- Discharge of skin oil.
- Eyelid inflammation or Blepharitis.
- Skin infection with pus formation that requires antibiotics.
Palm or canola oil: These oils are not recommended for your pet’s consumption.
TBHQ: Tertiary Butyl Hydroquinone, commonly known as TBHQ, is a preservative. This additive can damage your dog’s DNA and can cause stomach cancer.
- Cheese made with Skim Milk and Whey Protein
Skimmed milk is a dairy product. Hence, lactose-intolerant dogs cannot digest it properly due to the absence of the enzyme lactase. Therefore lactose-intolerant canines will have difficulty digesting cheese and whey proteins also. The symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs include:
Symptoms of lactose intolerance:
- Lack of appetite
Paprika is a spice. Consuming this in more significant quantities leads to gastrointestinal upset in dogs. Its symptoms include:
- throat irritation,
- upset stomach
Yeast in raw form is toxic for a dog’s consumption. However, Cheez-It does not contain yeast in its natural state.
- Soy Lecithin:
This ingredient contains soy; hence consuming this may affect your pet if she is allergic to soy products. Additionally, a dog’s liver supplies its system with a decent amount of lecithin, so they don’t need this from food.
- Annatto extract:
Cheez-It contains an additive and vegetable dye to give them an orange color. Annatto extracts are found to cause seizures in some dogs.
A single Cheez-It cracker contains 9 mg of sodium; this exceeds a dog’s daily sodium intake. So, if your canine consumes more than three crackers, the high- salt content can cause sodium poisoning or salt poisoning.
Symptoms of sodium ion poisoning include:
- Excessive thirst
- Fluid accumulation
If left untreated, sodium poisoning can lead to tremors, seizures, and potentially damage the kidneys.
From the nutritional chart mentioned earlier, a single Cheez-It cracker contains six calories. When more than one cracker is consumed, it exceeds the daily calorie requirements of dogs based on their breeds. So, higher-calorie snacks cause your dog to gain weight. Weight gain and obesity can lead to other problems, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems. In severe cases, it may even lead to acute pancreatitis.
- High-fat content:
Fats should make up about 25%-30% of your dog’s total caloric intake. Anything more than this could mean a higher-fat diet. A higher fat diet will be difficult for your dog to digest and can cause gastrointestinal distress. It may even lead to liver failure, kidney failure, and pancreatitis.
How Much Cheez-It to Feed Your Dog?
You can feed only a single Cheez-Its for small dogs whereas up to three Cheez-Its for large dogs. To avoid disrupting their appetite, you may serve these treats after your canine’s normal meal. However, it is best not to provide these crackers regularly to prevent any long-term implications.
What if my Dog ate Cheez-It?
A single Cheez-Its cracker once in a while will not harm your dog. But if you want to ensure he remains within his healthy range of weight, then it is best to avoid feeding him.
If your dog accidentally ate Cheez-It excessively, observe him carefully for any signs of distress. These signs include:
- Itchy throat
Approach your vet immediately if you notice the above symptoms.
Alternatives to Cheez-It
As cheese is unhealthy, it is best to replace them with healthy treats. Healthy foods and treats are best suited for canines who are obese. Some of the healthy alternatives include:
- Fresh or frozen fruits such as strawberries, bananas, pineapple, apples, carrots and others.
- Fish cooked and deboned
- Cooked Eggs
- Cheese including Gouda, Cheddar, and Cottage
- Green beans
Homemade Cheez-It Recipe:
Homemade alternatives for Cheez-It are a healthy way to delight your pet with some crackers. Here is a recipe you may want to try:
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cups sharp grated cheddar
- Two sticks softened butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ – 1 teaspoon of turmeric
Step 1: Combine the cheese and softened butter.
Step 2: Add the flour along with it and mix everything well.
Step 3: Add a small amount of milk and mix until the dough forms a ball.
Step 4: Wrap the dough in a film and refrigerate for an hour.
Step 5: Roll out to a thickness of around ½ inch, and cut into whatever shape you like.
Step 6: Place on a baking tray and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.
Step 7: Store in an airtight container for a week, or freeze and defrost a few at a time as and when you need them.
If your dog is allergic to dairy, you may replace cheddar with sweet potato or pumpkin. The cracker can be made attractive with the inclusion of turmeric instead of paprika. To resemble the original shape, you can use Cheez-It-shaped pastry cutters to cut the crackers. At the same time, a skewer will help you drill a small hole in the middle. You may even choose amaranth flour instead of wheat flour for your pet with a gluten allergy. These extra steps will trick your canine mate into thinking it’s the Cheese-Its crackers coming to him.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat White Cheddar Cheez-It?
Yes, dogs can eat white cheddar Cheez-It once in a while. It has similar ingredients as regular Cheez-It. However, it is not recommended to feed them excessively.
Can Dogs Eat Hot and Spicy Cheez Its
No, dogs cannot eat hot or spicy Cheez-It. It can upset their stomach, irritate their throat, and make them cough.
Can Dogs Eat Cheese Crackers?
Yes, dogs can eat cheese crackers moderately. However, they contain more salt, calories, and dairy, which is not recommended for dogs to have in excess.
Can dogs eat peanut crackers?
Yes, dogs can eat Peanut Butter crackers moderately, provided they are homemade.
Can dogs eat goldfish crunchy crackers?
Yes, dogs can eat goldfish crunchy crackers moderately. However, they contain too many carbohydrates. Hence, are not recommended for dogs.
Cheez It is an empty-calorie snack; hence it is best to feed these to your dogs in moderation, occasionally. A moderate feeding ensures he remains fit and healthy.