Yes, dogs can eat tortillas moderately, provided they are not prone to wheat or gluten allergy and stomach sensitivity. However, as tortillas offer no nutritional benefit, it is best to avoid feeding them to your pet.
What are Tortillas?
Originating from Mexico, Tortillas are flatbreads made out of either corn or flour. They are similar to bread and are available in different types and flavors.
Are Tortillas Safe for Dogs?
Commercially produced tortillas are called processed tortillas, while those made at home without preservatives and chemicals are called homemade tortillas. Homemade tortillas can be fed safely to dogs, occasionally. In contrast, processed tortillas contain dangerous ingredients, hence are unsafe for your pet. Also, consuming tortillas is terrible for dogs with the following health conditions:
- Wheat or gluten intolerance
Are Tortillas Good for Dogs?
Tortillas contain too many carbohydrates, which is not required for a dog. Hence, consuming tortillas will not benefit your dog’s health and is not suitable for your pet.
Why are tortillas bad for dogs?
Tortillas come in different varieties and flavors that they are packed with:
- Artificial flavors
- Thickening agents
- High calories
Tortillas hardly contain any nutritional benefits, that it is better to avoid feeding your pets these tasty snacks. Here we have the breakdown of ingredients present in a few tortilla types that makes the food harmful to your pet:
- Flour tortillas:
Flour tortillas contain a higher fat content and calories. They are made up of:
|Enriched Bleached Flour||(Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid|
|Vegetable Shortening||Inter-esterified And Hydrogenated Soybean Oils)|
|Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate||Common additive in processed foods|
|Distilled Monoglyceride||Commonly used in baking|
|Enzymes||Biological molecules that help chemical reactions|
|Fumaric Acid||Additive for flavor|
|Calcium Propionate||Preservative commonly used in bread|
Though corn is considered to be a whole grain low in carbohydrates, sodium, calories and fat, corn tortillas are made up of:
|Corn Masa Flour|
|Cellulose Gum||Thickening agent which is common in foods and medications|
|Guar Gum||Thickening and binding agent|
|Amylase||A type of enzyme that helps the transformation process of starches to sugar.|
Corn allergy: Corn tortillas contain corn kernels that pose a potential choking hazard for small dogs. Hence, it must be avoided if your dog is allergic to corn. Symptoms of corn allergy are:
- Skin irritation
- Biting of the Paws
- Obsessive licking
- Abdominal cramping
These corn or flour tortillas also consist of a few grams of fiber and protein, small amounts of minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. However, as these nutrients are found in tiny amounts, they don’t balance the high carbohydrates, preservatives and artificial flavors present, worsening your dog’s health.
- Processed tortillas
Since commercially produced tortillas contain the following ingredients, they pose the corresponding health hazards in dogs:
- Food Emulsifiers: The addition of emulsifiers may lead to low-level gastrointestinal inflammation, increased appetite, and weight gain. Additionally, they may also spike blood sugar levels and develop insulin resistance.
- Preservatives – Preservatives such as Propionic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Phosphoric Acid are added to increase the shelf life. These types of preservatives are toxic to dogs.
- Corn kernels: Although this ingredient contains several vitamins and minerals, your dog should be free from corn allergy to consume it.
- Nixtamalization: It involves the process by which corn is prepared by soaking and cooking in an alkaline solution of calcium hydroxide or limewater. Although food-grade calcium hydroxide solution is safe to feed dogs, industrial-grade calcium hydroxide is poisonous and may lead to severe injury or death.
- Amylases and xylanases: Feeding processed tortillas may increase the level of amylase in the blood or urine, leading to pancreas disorder or other medical conditions.
- Transglutaminases, oxidoreductases, and proteases: Used to modify the texture of wheat flour tortilla doughs, this ingredient can harm a stomach-sensitive dog.
- Gluten – Commonly found in flour tortillas, this ingredient may cause allergic reactions upsetting the canines’ sensitive digestive system.
- Yeast dough- Yeast can be harmful to your dog and increase the risk of different kinds of disorders.
- Tortilla chips
These crunchy chips are obtained by mixing corn flour, sunflower oil, salt, artificial colors, flavorings, and preservatives to get a smooth dough. In addition, it contains onions, garlic and gluten. This dough is then fried in vegetable oil. Since a larger quantity of oil and salt are involved, avoid feeding these chips to your canine companion. Some of the harmful effects that tortilla chips can cause are:
Onion and garlic poisoning: Both onion and garlic contain toxic compounds that make red blood cells carry lesser oxygen and invade your dog’s body. As a result, the red blood cell is destroyed and results in hemolytic anemia. Jaundice characterizes it.
Symptoms of onion and garlic toxicity:
- General weakness
- Increased heart and respiratory rate
- Decreased appetite
- Blood in the urine
Gluten allergy- Gluten causes allergic reactions that upsets the canines’ sensitive digestive system.
Salt toxicity- As tortilla chips are usually very salty, too much of its consumption could lead to salt toxicity
Symptoms of salt toxicity:
- Decreased appetite
- Excessive thirst
- Tremors, seizures, coma and even death in severe cases
Hence feeding tortilla increases the dog’s risk of developing health problems such as:
- Heart disease
- Upset stomach
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Unwanted eating habit
- Dehydration (salt consumption)
- Digestive problems
Apart from the health issues mentioned, feeding human foods such as tortillas to your dog, can cause behavioral problems:
- Begging: When your pet begs for food to be provided from your plate.
- Counter Surfing: When your pet searches the countertop to grab a yummy snack.
How many tortillas to Feed Your Dog?
If you want to feed tortillas to your pet, limit his intake up to a tortilla. It can be provided as a snack occasionally.
What if my Dog ate tortillas?
If your dog has eaten a few tortillas and didn’t show any symptoms, there is no reason to worry about it. However, it is better to limit or altogether avoid tortillas after this feeding.
In case if your dog has eaten excessive amounts or a large bag of tortillas, then you need to watch out for the following symptoms:
- Stomach upset
- Allergic reaction
- Lethargy or loss of consciousness
- Frantic thirst
- sudden appetite
- Vomiting and diarrhea
If you observe any of these symptoms in your dog, contact your vet immediately.
Alternatives to tortillas
As tortillas are unhealthy for dogs, it is always best to avoid them and replace them with the following healthy foods:
- Fish cooked and deboned
- Cooked Eggs
- Cheese including Gouda, Cheddar, and Cottage
- Apples without apple cores
- Green beans
- Coconut milk and oil
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can Puppies Eat Tortillas?
No, puppies cannot eat tortillas. Since puppies have sensitive stomachs, eating processed food like tortillas upsets their tummy.
Can Dogs Eat Traditional Tortillas?
These tortillas are made by mixing either corn or white flour with salt, baking soda or yeast, vegetable oil, and hot water to get the dough. This dough is then flattened and baked on a stove or pan. This type of tortilla isn’t harmful to your dogs and can be fed occasionally.
Can dogs Eat tortilla shells?
Yes, dogs can eat tortilla shells in smaller quantities. However, care should be exercised when extra ingredients are included inside the shells.
Can Dogs Eat Tortilla Wraps?
A tortilla wrap is a soft bread rolled around a filling. These fillings could be meat such as turkey, chicken, and salmon. Unless these wraps are devoid of a high-salt content, garlic, and onion, these could be fed to your pups.
Can Dogs Eat Flavored Tortillas?
As the name indicates, flavored tortillas contain artificial colors and flavors. These ingredients could be toxic to your pet and are not recommended for your canine companions, even in smaller quantities.
Can Dogs Eat Multigrain /Whole Grain Tortillas?
Yes, dogs can be fed with both multigrain and full-grain tortillas sporadically except for those suffering from gluten allergies. Since a dog’s digestive system reacts quickly to the fiber content in these foods, it is advisable to take them for a walk immediately following the meal.
Can Dogs Eat Homemade Tortillas?
If homemade tortillas are devoid of preservatives, flavors, or artificial colors, you can safely feed them to your dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Tortillas?
No, dogs cannot eat fried tortillas. Fried tortillas are obtained by deep-frying or pan-frying in excessive amounts of fatty vegetable oils. Along with an unhealthy dose of salt, these tortillas are highly unsuitable for your dog’s health.
Can Dogs Eat Spinach Tortillas?
Spinach tortillas include spinach as one of its ingredients. Spinach tortillas are a good choice for your dog, provided they are not seasoned.
Tortillas may be a tempting treat for your canine, but it is always better to avoid feeding them. Avoiding it ensures your canine mate stays healthy, as these are empty-calorie foods that don’t benefit your dog nutritionally.