Yes, dogs can be given sourdough bread in moderation. However, the ingredients used in the making of sourdough bread can be harmful to dogs. Further, keep the unbaked sourdough far away from your dog’s reach. Although on a healthy note, this sourdough bread tops the other loaves sold in the supermarket due to the breaking down of gluten caused by fermenting the dough naturally, thus making it easily digestible for humans. However, it is not recommended for dogs. Still, a small piece of bread prepared with wheat flour can be offered to your dog as an occasional treat.
What Is Sourdough Bread?
Sourdough bread is made from wheat flour, water, salt, and sourdough starter. The flour and water are fermented for several days. Then it is leavened with the culture of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria, forming a sourdough starter. The sour taste results from the lactic acid fermentation to sustain the shelf life of the bread. This dough does not need commercial yeast as a raising agent.
After preparing the dough, it is let to sit till the microbes activate and ferment it. This gives the bread a chewy texture, a tangy flavor, and a crispy crust while biting. Therefore we can conclude that sourdough is a slow-fermented bread.
Is Sourdough Bread Safe for Dogs?
Providing small quantities of sourdough bread (made with dog-safe ingredients) to your dog is safe. However, ensure your dog chews it properly to avoid diarrhea and constipation. Note here that the bread you feed to your dog should not contain spices, herbs, or any other ingredients that can be harmful to them. Sourdough bread available in supermarkets that contains artificial additives will result in health risks.
Why is Sourdough Bread Good for Dogs?
Neither sourdough bread has essential nutrients for your dogs, nor are they toxic to consume once in a while. Hence, sourdough bread is “good” only as an occasional treat for your dogs since they contain zero nutritional value.
Why is Sourdough Bread Bad for Dogs?
Some ingredients in sourdough bread make them terrible for dogs. The cons of feeding sourdough bread to dogs are:
Calories: Too many calories are not suitable for your pups. Obesity is a problem for dogs, as in humans. An excess amount of calories will make your furry friend obese at a later stage. That may have immediate adverse effects and also lead to serious health problems.
Dried Fruit and Raisins: Sourdough bread with dried fruits and raisins can cause gastrointestinal health risks. A dog that eats raisins is at immediate risk, which is critical; if you suspect your dog ate raisins (or grapes), do not panic and take your pup immediately to the vet.
Butter and Oil: Dogs are strictly prohibited from consuming butter and oil, as they are greasy. Dog’s digestive system cannot tackle fatty elements properly. The consequences of consuming butter and oil are:
- Abdomen pain
- Gastrointestinal tract infection
- Liver infections
- Kidney damage
Salt: Dogs should not consume salt as it is hazardous to them. Sodium-ion poisoning is widespread in dogs. The consequences of sodium ion poisoning are:
- High temperature
Xylitol: Xylitol is dangerous for dogs as they are artificial sweeteners added to sourdough bread. They are strictly prohibited for dogs to consume. The consequences of consuming artificial sweeteners are:
- Weight gain
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle cramp
- Degradation of coat and skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Liver diseases
Spices and Seasonings: Some store-bought sourdough bread may contain flavors like garlic, onion, and other spices harmful to dogs.Vegetables in the allium family have thiosulfates that cause hemolytic anemia in dogs. Symptoms of consuming such seasonings and herbs can provoke:
- Damages to red blood cells
- Vomiting or nausea
- Pale gums
- Elevated heart rate
- Red or brown urine (discolored)
Nuts like macadamia are toxic to dogs. These nuts can cause pancreatitis in dogs when consumed in excess. Some store-bought sourdough bread may contain nuts. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Stomach pain
- Prolonged vomiting
- Prolonged diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
Chocolate: Sourdough bread containing chocolate chips in them can prove to be lethal to your dog. Chocolate never sits well with dogs. It is best to avoid this ingredient. Chocolate contains three substances: stimulants, caffeine, and theobromine, which increase heart rate. It might take several hours to show signs of indigestion. So, do not wait until it’s too late to contact your vet.
Common Signs of chocolate poisoning in your dog include:
- Extremely rapid heart rate
- Frequent urination
Wheat or Gluten Allergy: Wheat contains substances like gluten. Wheat flour has this gluten, a substance that gives the dough an elastic texture. Some humans and dogs are prone to this type of allergy. The signs of gluten allergy include:
- Abdominal pain
Yeast: Yeast, added to make the dough soft and fluffy, is highly toxic for dogs. In addition, yeast can upset your dog’s digestive system.
Raw Sourdough: The fermented sourdough can cause stomach bloating in dogs, as the ethanol in yeast can cause alcohol poisoning in dogs. In bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), the dog’s stomach is filled with gas and twists that cause severe pain and deadly conditions. Symptoms include:
- Pressure on the diaphragm
- Dead tissues
- A twisted spleen or blocked blood flow to the heart
- Distended belly
- Foamy Saliva
- Rapid or shallow breathing
Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs are:
- Heavy breathing
- Tremors and seizures
If untreated, alcohol poisoning results in organ failure and death in severe cases. Even a tiny slice of bread without dog-friendly ingredients can be lethal to your dog.
How Much Sourdough Bread to Feed Your Dog?
It is best if your dog is fed tiny amounts of sourdough bread as an occasional treat. If baking this treat, ensure that you cut the baked food into small pieces. Give your dog sparingly over time and always be careful of their limits.
How to Serve Sourdough Bread to Your Dog?
You can serve bread in the following ways to your canine:
- Offer only that sourdough bread that is plain, free of artificial sweeteners and doesn’t contain dog-toxic ingredients.
- Cut bread into bite-size pieces as a dog-treat.
- You can mix the cut bread pieces with your dog’s food.
What if My Dog Ate Sourdough Bread?
Symptoms of accidentally feeding your dog sourdough bread with toxic ingredients or in large quantities are:
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory problems
You should see a vet immediately if your dog suffers from the above or other dangerous side effects after eating sourdough bread.
Alternatives to Sourdough Bread
Choose better and healthier alternatives for your dog instead of sourdough bread. Some are listed below:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can dogs eat plain white bread?
Yes, dogs can eat plain white bread but as an occasional treat.
What is the best sourdough recipe for dogs?
Several sourdough recipes for canines are there, but a simple sourdough bread made with whole wheat flour and water is best for dogs. You can add healthy ingredients like pumpkin or banana to make it nutritious. Such home-baked bread that is dog-safe can be offered.
Why is uncooked bread or bread dough dangerous for dogs?
Raw bread or uncooked dough is dangerous for canines as the dough can rise in their stomach, which can cause serious health issues. Always remember the dough has to rise, preferably in a warm and moist environment if it is homemade bread prepared from scratch. In addition, a dog’s stomach can bloat because of the gas released during fermentation. Further, alcohol is formed through yeast fermentation, which can cause dog poisoning.
You do not have to completely restrict yourself from giving your pet a piece of sourdough bread. However, you have to be moderate since it can cause problems for your dog. You can constantly offer them tasty and nutritious alternatives so they do not feel left out. Finally, anytime your dog eats something unfamiliar, it is best to watch for unusual symptoms. Keep the local poison control hotline number easily accessible in an emergency. Do your best to limit canines’ access to human food.