Pasta is one of those meals that everyone will enjoy but can your dog have his own bowl of pasta, too? Be careful when you want to feed your dog the leftovers from dinner because not all human food is good for your pooch. Although ingredients of plain pasta noodles are safe for most dogs to eat, pasta is not a recommended food for dogs. Aside from the noodles themselves, you also need to be mindful of the other ingredients in the pasta bowl. Most pasta sauces will contain ingredients that are not safe for canines. Read on to find out what you can do with your pasta leftovers without harming your four-legged companion.
Can Dogs Eat Plain Pasta Noodles?
Most dogs are able to eat plain white pasta noodles. Plain white pasta noodles without any sauce or other added ingredients does not contain any ingredients that are toxic for dogs.
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The ingredients used to make pasta are essentially safe for a dog to consumer. Regular white pasta is made of a type of flour, eggs and water. Wheat flour is most commonly used but it can also be made of a variety of different types of flour like corn, brown rice and spelt. All these types of pasta are safe carbohydrates for your pooch.
There are also vegetable enriched pastas. These are the coloured pasta that you see in the shop. The juices of beets, spinach, carrots and tomatoes are common ingredients for colouring pasta. Beets, spinach and carrots are all safe ingredients for dogs. Tomatoes, on the other hand, are only safe for canine consumption if it is the ripe red tomato fruit. This is because tomatoes are part of the nightshade family which can be toxic for dogs. Even the ripe red fruit of a tomato contains certain levels of tomatine, the toxic chemical, so it is best not to let your dog eat anything with tomatoes.
What About Pasta Sauces?
It is best to avoid feeding your dog any pasta sauces, especially shop-bought pasta sauces. This is because there are several common ingredients in pasta sauces that are not safe for dogs to consume.
As mentioned, tomatoes are a food you should avoid feeding your dog. Since tomatoes are the base for many pasta sauces, this already rules out most options. Other common pasta sauce ingredients are unsafe for canine consumption, too. Onions and garlic, for example, are a standard ingredient in pasta dishes and sauces. Both onions and garlic are toxic for dogs and even trace amounts can cause health issues.
Another reason why pasta sauces, especially read-made sauces, are not suitable for dogs is the salt content. Salty foods encourages excessive water drinking. Drinking excessive water might not sound that harmful but it is a preliminary sign of salt poisoning. Dogs that consume large amounts of salt can fall ill. Symptoms of salt poisoning are diarrhoea, nausea, dehydration and vomiting.
Doggie taste buds are different to ours. They do not have refined palette like humans and do not need seasoning in their food. Do not add salt to your dogs meals and don’t offer any salty food.
There are simply too many harmful ingredients in most pasta sauces so it best not to feed them to your dog. If you dog does manage to steal a nibble from the pasta leftovers, do not panic. Closely monitor your dog for any adverse effects but your pooch should be resilient enough to process the ingredients if he only got a bite.
Can Dogs Eat Foods Rich in Carbohydrates?
Although most types of pasta noodles are safe for canine consumption, pasta is not a recommended source of dietary nutrients for dogs. Pasta is rich in carbohydrates which should only be a small component of your dogs diet. A balanced dog diet consists mainly of protein followed by smaller amounts of fats and carbohydrates.
There are several reasons why carbohydrates should not be the main component of your dog’s diet. The first reason being that most carbohydrates, including pasta, is a high calorie food. Too much pasta, or any carbohydrate for that matter, can cause your dog to gain weight. Over a prolonged period of time this can lead to obesity or even diabetes.
So, if you want to share a few pasta noodles with your dog, keep it to a very small amount. Consider the pasta an occasional treat instead of part of Fido’s regular meals.
Another reason why pasta is not a recommendable food for dogs is wheat allergies. Most white pasta is made with a wheat flour. Although it is rare, some dogs do have a wheat allergy. Symptoms of a wheat allergy are inflamed skin, rashes or flaky skin, hair loss, obsessive licking of paws, frequent ear infections and gastrointestinal upset. If your dog presents with these symptoms after having eaten pasta or other sources of wheat, then your dog might be allergic. Discontinue feeding your dog the food and take Rover to the vet. Your vet will be able to determine if your pooch has a food allergy.
If a handful of macaroni elbows falls on the kitchen floor and Rover gobbles it up before you can stop him, it is still okay. Plain pasta noodles are non-toxic for dogs. Small amounts of pasta will not have a big impact on your dog’s health. Be more careful with pasta sauce though. There are several toxic ingredients in most pasta sauces such as onions and garlic. The high salt content is also harmful to your dog.
So what can you do when Oscar has been staring at your bowl of spaghetti and meatballs all night? Try to avoid his big puppy eyes and finish the pasta on your own. Pasta is a delicious meal for us humans but even we eat it in moderation. When it comes to the meals of your four-legged bud, you need to be even more careful.