There is a lot of confusion surrounding the subject of dogs and sourdough bread. Can dogs eat sourdough bread? If yes, then, which one. Is there any sourdough bread that is not safe for dogs to eat? In this post, I will try to address most of these questions.
There is no straight answer to whether you can feed the sourdough bread to your dogs or not. It has a lot of subjectivity attached to it. So, there is no straight answer that will satisfy all.
But for most cases, the answer to these questions can be a yes - dogs can eat sourdough bread. However, it's important to remember that dogs should not eat large amounts of sourdough bread, as it can lead to weight gain and other health problems. It's best to feed your dog a small piece of bread as a treat, rather than giving him a whole slice.
But, not all our dogs enjoy the same health. Your puppy could have immunity issues. And yes, some species are more vulnerable to allergies than others. In this scenario, the answer is a straight NO.
And yes, I am not an expert on dog health, but I had a few friends ask me this question on numerous occasions, so I did my research. And this post is about what I found. This might help you to understand if you should be feeding sourdough to your dogs or not?
Let us first try to understand what is sourdough bread after all?
What is sourdough bread?
Sourdough bread is a type of fermented bread that has been around for centuries. It is simply made with flour, water, and a sourdough starter. It is leavened with the culture of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria. This culture is called a sourdough starter.
The sourdough bread has a prolonged fermentation process which enhances flavors and also makes it more digestible. We also need to understand that fermentation releases gas and alcohol, which leavens and flavors the bread. But they might not be beneficial for our puppies in the same manner as they are to us.
Up to 2 percent of the ethanol ( alcohol) produced in the bread during the fermentation can stay in the bread even after baking. It might cause problems for your dog if he eats bread in large quantities and very frequently.
Sourdough bread has numerous health benefits that we could discuss in detail some other day. Today our focus is to understand that can we safely feed sourdough bread to our dogs.
Sourdough bread has a very similar effect on the digestive system of dogs as any normal bread would have.
If we feed bread in moderation and once in a while, it cannot cause much harm to our dog, unless he has some serious wheat allergy. But making it a habit or including sourdough or any other bread in his routine diet in considerable amounts can cause immediate or long-term health dangers.
Immediate dangers of consuming sourdough could be an allergic reaction and long-term dangers could be weakening digestion and unwanted weight gain. Let us discuss them in detail by putting them in pointers
Potential risks of eating sourdough bread for dogs
There are a few risks associated with feeding sourdough bread to dogs.
1. Gluten intolerance or wheat allergy in dogs
A wheat allergy is an immune response to the proteins in wheat. Normally people know it as a gluten allergy. It is a gliadin allergy. Gliadin and glutenin are the actual proteins present in wheat flour. They further combine with water to form Gluten in the dough.
Symptoms of a wheat allergy can include hives, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog has a wheat allergy, you should not let him eat bread or sourdough bread and other foods that contain wheat.
German Shepherd Dogs as well as other breeds such as the Irish Setter and Belgian Sheepdog (including Belgian Malinois) have been known to be sensitive or intolerant to wheat gluten. So, if your dog belongs to either of these breeds, I recommend you keep away from feeding sourdough bread or any kind of bread to him.
2. Obesity or weight gain:
People who have ever been on a diet know that bread is full of carbs, which could lead to your dog becoming obese if you are not careful.
sourdough bread indeed has many positive qualities, such as being a great source of carbohydrates and therefore being a great source of both immediate and stored energy. As a result, the energy stored can easily become an excess weight and increase health risks. Such risks include heart disease, hypertension, and joint problems.
You can give your dog sourdough bread as a treat now and then, as long as he gets a complete and balanced diet and plenty of exercises.
Another risk is that the bread may contain some residual yeast. Though almost all yeast dies at 1400F, some negligible portion may remain. Dogs usually have a weak immunity to foreign particles. Also, they can be allergic to yeast.
Yeast residues in a loaf of sourdough bread can cause an allergic reaction in those dogs. Some symptoms of yeast allergy are red skin, hair loss or brown saliva staining between their toes, and itching.
4. Alcohol toxicity
As I stated in the introductory section, there is some residual alcohol left in the sourdough bread after baking. So, if the dog eats a whole loaf or a lot of bread at frequent intervals, the alcohol can accumulate in his bloodstream and cause issues. The most common signs of alcohol toxicosis include nausea, vomiting, thirst, urination, dehydration, lethargy, incoordination, disorientation, becoming cold (hypothermia), and low blood pressure.
5. Gastro intestinal tract upset
Too much sourdough bread can cause gastrointestinal tract (GI) upset. The most common GI upset symptoms are; abdominal pain, intermittent vomiting, and diarrhea. Lack of digestive enzymes, bacteria in the bread, or wheat allergy in a dog can lead to this issue.
Risk of consuming undercooked bread with residues of bacteria. The sourdough bread may contain harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick. For dogs with weak immunity, this could trigger a gastrointestinal tract infection. So, your dog can not eat uncooked, or undercooked sourdough in any situation.
Symptoms of wheat allergy or celiac disease in dogs
Gluten or wheat allergy or celiac disease are the same things. So, if your dog has a wheat allergy and he eats bread or even sourdough bread, they could develop some serious symptoms.
The most common symptoms of wheat allergy in dogs are skin problems, such as hives with itching, scratching, and biting. Other symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, and sneezing. Also, watch out for foot chewing and chronic ear infections which can happen due to the buildup of excessive sugars in their system on overconsumption of bread. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, you should take them to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Also, dog owners need to be super cautious when baking sourdough bread in the house. Keep an eye on your dog, he might steal and eat bread piece or sourdough starter.
Which sourdough bread can you give safely to your dog?
A classic sourdough bread, made with whole wheat or any other flour can be given to non-allergic dogs in moderation. Your dog can eat sourdough bread baked at home. Add some ingredients that are a part of your dog's nutrition. For example, add some bananas to your sourdough bread to make it more nutritious for your dog. But please do not feed it too much. Sourdough or any bread should not become a staple of your dog's diet.
What kind of sourdough bread should dogs can not eat?
Any sourdough bread with complex ingredients that you are unsure of is safe for your pet. A few of such ingredients to avoid in sourdough bread are:
- Nuts and seeds (like macadamia nut)
- Garlic and onion
- Artificial sweeteners
If the sourdough bread contains any of these, it is advised not to feed that sourdough bread to your dog.
Is sourdough starter bad for dogs?
Are you curious to know the hazards linked with the consumption of sourdough starters by dogs?
Sourdough starter is a complex ecosystem of yeast and lactobacillus bacteria. Some people suggest that it can help dogs with bloated stomachs if given as a medicine. But many vets suggest against it.
They suggest that sourdough starters can be a food hazard for dogs. If the dog eat a sourdough starter, he could be exposed to toxic levels of ethanol in his bloodstream as yeast in the dough rises, causing the stomach to stretch.
Bloating can be caused by the rising sourdough pressure, but the real danger is alcohol poisoning (alcohol toxicosis). You should call your veterinarian immediately if your dog is fed sourdough starter or if you suspect he stole it. Some symptoms that are associated with alcohol toxicosis are:
- Depressed central nervous system
- bloated belly
- Unsteady, drunken gait
Extreme symptoms like hypothermia or seizures can also occur if the dog ate the sourdough starter in large volume.
One interesting thing here is that dogs can be trained to smell gluten in food items. People with celiac disease give their dog training, to sniff gluten in food so that they can safely eat at unfamiliar places. Such training can also be helpful to your dog for his good.
Some Frequently asked question realted to dogs , bread and sourdough.
There are a few reasons why dogs may not like bread. One reason is that he can sniff the gluten in the bread. And he might have learned through previous experiences that it is problematic for him to eat gluten. Also, most types of bread contain yeast, which can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs. Another reason is that bread may contain harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick.
There is no definitive answer to this question. Some people believe that bread can help soothe an upset stomach in dogs, while others believe that it can make the problem worse. If your dog has an upset stomach, it is best to speak to your veterinarian about the best way to treat it.
There is some disagreement over whether or not dogs can eat sourdough rye bread. If your dog is healthy and can easily digest sourdough bread, then you can safely give rye sourdough bread to him. But if, your dog has a gluten allergy or celiac disease, keep him away from bread. Keep an eye on food when he is around.
Yes, dogs with no allergy to gluten can safely consume a little bit of bread now and then. A regular bread, made with bread flour or whole wheat flour without any spices nuts, or seeds is safe for dogs. Giving the bread in moderation is very unlikely to cause any harm to your four-legged friend.
Uncooked bread is dangerous for dogs because the dough can rise in their stomach, which can cause serious issues. If you've ever made bread from scratch, then you know that dough has to rise, preferably in a warm and moist environment.
Unfortunately for dogs that consumed bread dough, their stomachs offer optimum conditions for rising dough. Their stomach can bloat due to gas released during the fermentation of the dough. We also know that alcohol is released on yeast fermentation, which can cause alcohol toxicosis in dogs.
There are a lot of great sourdough recipes for dogs out there, but I think the best one is a simple sourdough recipe that uses whole wheat flour and water. You can add a little bit of salt and some other healthy ingredients like pumpkin or banana to make it more nutritious. Customize to your dog's taste and preference. I mean the add-ins could be what your dog enjoys the most. Maybe some fresh cilantro or parsley or his favorite fruits. Such home-baked bread customized to his taste would make him go crazy.
I hope this post answers all your doubts and concerns related to dogs and sourdough bread. (can dogs eat sourdough safely?) If you found it helpful, do let me know and also share it with others.