Most of our dogs really enjoy crunchy treats, and croutons are no exception. These pieces of dried-out bread is incredibly satisfying for your dog to snack on, but are they safe for your dog to eat?
First, why do dogs love them so much?
Crunchy treats are really good for your dog’s teeth, and the bits that come off as your dog chews can help to remove bacteria and residue from your dog’s teeth.
Some dogs may not like crunchy foods, or their fondness of them may fade as they age, as dogs can lose teeth in their older years like humans do. For dogs that have loose teeth, they will likely prefer soft foods over the harder ones.
Overall, most dogs just love the crunch and love to chew.
Are crunchy foods good for your dog?
In some cases, dogs who have had more crunchy foods in their life have shown to have less plaque build up on their teeth as they age but there isn’t anything to specifically say it’s a must for your dog.
It is healthy to give them crunchy and hard things to chew so they can clean their teeth, but dogs who don’t eat as much will not necessarily be at a disadvantage either.
Here’s what you need to know about croutons.
Store Bought Croutons
Sometimes the ones you buy from the store can have extra ingredients added to them, which can cause digestive issues for your dog. Additionally, your dog may have a unique sensitivity to certain ingredients that you don’t know are in them and could make them sick.
What kinds of ingredients are typically found in store bought croutons that are bad for your dog
Most of us love to cook with garlic: it adds so much flavour to our food and that wonderful fragrance when you cook with garlic is mouthwatering. Unfortunately, though, garlic isn’t good for your dog to ingest. If your dog eats a little bit of it, it’s not going to be toxic however you should limit the amount your dog eats on a regular basis.
Garlic is an ingredient commonly found in store-bought croutons as it adds a lot of flavour so when we add them into our salads we don’t have to put in other ingredients too.
Like garlic, onions are commonly used in our cooking to enhance the taste of our food. Onions are dangerous for dogs to consume, though, so if the onions are mixed in with the croutons then it could be harmful for your dog to eat.
If your dog really loves these crunchy treats, there is a way you can make them at home so you know the exact ingredients that go into them. Here is a great recipe for dog croutons that you can share with your four-legged best friend knowing there aren’t any dangerous ingredients in them.
These croutons are a great way to use up stale bread and only take a couple minutes to put together.
Here’s what you’ll need
- 6 slices of your favourite bread
- ½ cup of bacon fat (you can use olive oil or melted butter instead)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic power (optional)
Instructions for making your own dog croutons
- Preheat your over to 250 degrees F.
- Cut your bread into one-inch squares
- In a bowl, put in the parmesan cheese and then toss the bread squares in the bowl to coat them
- Drizzle the fat (or oil or butter) over the bread squares while still tossing the bread in the parmesan cheese so all the pieces are evenly coated
- Spread out the bread squares on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, turning them half way through
- Remove from oven and allow them to cool before serving or refrigerating
Recipe courtesy of https://www.dogtipper.com/recipes/2020/04/crouton-recipe-dogs.html
If you want to, you can use cookie cutters to make the croutons into fun shapes for your dog. Either way, we’re betting your dog will really love these treats. You’ll want to keep these treats in a sealed container, and they’ll last about 10 – 14 days in the fridge – although we’re pretty sure that they won’t last nearly that long in your house.
Additionally, you can bake these treats for less time to keep the center of them soft. A soft center can help for dogs that are older and are having troubles with their teeth, or the soft center ones can be used as a pill pocket if you need to sneak some medication to your dog in a treat they’ll really enjoy.
You might also like to read about: Can Dogs Eat Lunchmeat?
A few notes about the croutons . . .
As much as your pup loves crunchy treats, croutons may not be the one you always want to give them. Croutons are made out of stale bread, but it’s still bread. As we know, a dog’s diet doesn’t naturally have a lot of carbohydrates in it. If your dog eats too many carbohydrates on a regular basis it can lead to unwanted weight gain, and potentially other health issues related to their weight.
Most dogs really love chewing crunchy treats, and if you’re looking for some alternatives to give your dog that may be healthier than croutons here are a number of suggestions.
Most dogs love chewing on raw carrots – they’re super crunchy and have a taste most dogs enjoy. What you’ll want to make sure of is that you cut them up into bite size pieces so that your dog doesn’t choke on the carrots.
Cut up apple slices are a healthy treat for your dog that is also quite crunchy so your dog will enjoy chewing on it. As an added bonus, apple slices can actually help clean residue off of your dog’s teeth and freshen their breath. You’ll want to make sure you don’t give your dog too many apples as there is sugar in fruit and you’ll want to limit the amount of sugar your dog eats.
Sometimes it’s hard to get your kids to eat their vegetables, but if the dog is eating it your kids just might want to as well. The good news is that raw broccoli is actually good for your dog and the crunch is good for your dog’s teeth, so win-win.
As in humans, too much raw broccoli can be hard for your dog to digest so you may want to limit the intake just to help avoid tummy upset in your dog.
Raw, fresh green beans are usually pretty crunchy so your dog will enjoy chewing on them. They are also full of iron and other vitamins so they are a nutritious alternative to some other snacks if your dog really loves crunchy treats.
There are a number of healthy dog treats available at your local pet store, and they even – at times – have fruits and vegetables in them so that your dog is getting nutritious foods and not junk.
You could also consider making your own chews for your dog out of regular human foods like peanut butter, sweet potato and pumpkin. Most treat recipes to make at home will become hard when baked so great for those dogs that love the crunch.
Chewing on a bone
Some dog owners are reluctant to give their dog a bone, but it isn’t that bad for your dog really. Dogs naturally chew on bones so they aren’t going to ruin their teeth by continuing to do so. It is important to watch your dog carefully with a bone so they don’t choke or swallow small fragments that break off.
Some bones are better than others for your dogs teeth, and with any really hard bone-like toys (antlers, for example) you should always make the best choice for your dog based on their own chewing preferences. Most dogs really enjoy chewing on bones, though, and it can be helpful for keeping their teeth healthy and breath fresher.
Overall, croutons aren’t necessarily bad for your dog to eat as long as they don’t have any onions or excessive garlic in them. You can make your own so that you know exactly what’s in them and know what you’re feeding your dog.
You will want to limit the amount your dog eats due to the high amounts of carbohydrates in them, though. A dog’s diet is not naturally high in carbohydrates so limiting the amount they ingest will help keep them at a healthier weight.
To keep your dog occupied with treats that they really enjoy, you can substitute other crunchy treats that are healthier for your dog while not taking away the crunch. This is also a great opportunity to try your hand at baking and making your own treats at home.
Now you don’t have to worry about giving your dog some of the food from your plate when you know that croutons are completely ok for your dog to eat. Go ahead and share your meal with your best friend – they’ll love you even more for it!
You might also like to read about: Can Dogs Eat Fruit Loops?