You can never go wrong with a few saltine crackers and a cup of tea or a glass of juice for mid-morning or afternoon snack. Saltine crackers are known for their tastiness.
They are prepared using yeast, baking soda, and sprinkled with coarse salt on top. They have a distinctive texture that is dry and crisp, and their perforations on the surface.
From the sound of it, these crackers are tasty. That is why most people love them. But if you have a dog, you might be wondering whether it is safe for your dog to consume saltine crackers.
Do they offer any nutritional value to dogs? Is it okay for dogs to eat saltine crackers? What will happen when a dog eats saltine crackers?
Yes, dogs can eat saltine crackers in moderation, occasionally.
Saltine crackers have high amounts of sodium and should be limited to once in a while. If you puppy sneeks a cracker I would monitor for any signs of sickness. Most likely you puppy will have an upset stomach at most.
Saltine crackers and nutrition
Saltine crackers are a light snack and can be taken with other accompaniments like cheese, peanut butter or other spreads.
They can also go well with soup, stew, or crumbled into salads. When combined with other foods or spreads, it is nutritious to take them.
However, independently they contain fats, sodium, carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, magnesium, iron, and Cobalamin.
The nutrition supply is excellent for humans, and thus, it is natural for someone to want to share their saltine crackers with their furry friends for them also to enjoy these nutritional benefits.
This is a justified reason to want to share your favorite snacks with your dog.
However, you need to know the benefits and consequences that come with feeding saltine crackers to dogs. This way, you will be more informed to make the right choice.
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Here, we explore the benefits of feeding saltine crackers to your canine and also the consequences or dangers. We hope to give you a better understanding of how to go about it.
Are saltine crackers good for dogs?
As highlighted, these crackers are great for humans when taken as light snacks. Even so, they still need to be consumed with moderation.
Consuming too much of these crackers can cause more harm than good.While humans can enjoy the health benefits saltine crackers bring, that is not the case for dogs.
You should keep saltine crackers far away from your furry friend regardless of how tempting they look when they stare at you with their innocent eyes as you much these snacks.
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Denying dogs saltine crackers are for a good reason. Generally, crackers are made using ingredients that are high in calories, fat, salt, and dangerous preservatives.
To be more precise, saltine crackers have 941 mg of sodium in every 100 grams. This is above ten times the sodium amount recommended for an average-sized dog daily.
The salt can be toxic to your dog and often result in them having salt poisoning. Saltine crackers are also high on calories.
The U.S Department of Agriculture’ Food Data Central Database indicates that for every 100g of saltine crackers, there are 418 calories contained therein.
The amount of protein in the 100g is 9.46g, 8.64g of fats, and 74.05g of carbs.
Saltine crackers do not offer your dog nutritional benefits. They only make their health get worse.
What of feeding small quantities of saltine crackers to your dog?
Now that we know saltine crackers are not suitable for a dog, you might be wondering whether your dog may be harmed if they have already consumed small quantities of these crackers.
The truth is, if your day has had small quantities of saltine crackers, you do not need to panic. The little amount is not likely to cause any harmful effects to the health of your dog.
This does not mean that you can feed your furry friend small quantities of the crackers intentionally. Instead, you should endeavor to keep them away from your dog completely.
If not, their health will gradually deteriorate as the calories build up in the body.
You should, however, be very concerned about your dog’s health if it has consumed a lot of crackers.
The leading cause of concern should be salt. While for humans, salt is precious and crucial for improving the taste of foods, they are more harmful to dogs.
The problem with dogs and sodium
Salt is rich in sodium. The recommended salt intake is much lower for dogs compared to the amount recommended for humans.
That is why dogs should stick to dog foods, which have enough supply of sodium in them.
When dogs consume saltine crackers, they are consuming more sodium than they require, and that brings other consequences.
Some of the consequences include:
- Dehydration: The excess salt in the dog’s system will result in them being thirstier. They also may experience an increase in the frequency of peeing. Other signs of dehydration include increased heart rate, panting, confusion, fainting, and breathing difficulties.
- Salt/Sodium poisoning: This may be fatal to the life of your dog.
Symptoms for salt poisoning
Salt poisoning happens when there is too much salt in the blood. This condition is also called hypernatremia.
Salt naturally absorbs water, and thus, if it is found to be in excess in the dog’s system, it leads to its muscles losing moisture, withering, and stiffening.
This is when your dog will start exhibiting signs like jerking and shaking.
However, the most severe symptoms of salt poisoning happen to be neurological.
The salt may result in brain cells drying out from the loss of water resulting in the dog having convulsions, going into a coma, or, at worst, dying.
Other signs associated with salt poisoning include:
- Fluid buildup
- Loss of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle spasms
- Stomach pains
- Tongue swelling
- Watery diarrhea
What you should do in case your dog has sodium poisoning
If you think your dog has had too many saltine crackers and is at risk of salt poisoning, you need to act fast.
To avoid putting the life of your furry friend at risk, treat this as an emergency and rush them to the vet as quickly as possible for immediate medical attention.
If possible, Carry with you their medical records if available. It would also be helpful if you knew the number of crackers consumed and the amount of time that has passed since the saltine crackers were consumed.
This will help the vet know the best way to administer treatment much faster.
Treating salt poisoning
The vet will do various diagnosis tests like checking the reflexes, pulse rate, height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, and vision and hearing tests.
If the condition is dire, additional tests like blood count, urinalysis, cardiac diagnosis, ultrasound MRI and CT scan will be done to examine the extent of damage to the lungs, heart, and the brain of your canine.
Treatment often involves IV fluid therapy and administering of electrolytes to help with the dehydration.
The salt level in the blood will be reduced gradually to avoid causing drastic shifts in the sodium levels in the blood, which might lead to brain swelling or a heart attack.
The gradual reduction in salt level in the blood can take up to three days, depending on how high the sodium levels are in the dog’s blood system.
If your dog already had brain swelling, also known as cerebral edema, the inflammation will be reduced using a corticosteroid like mannitol or dexamethasone.
Treating salt poisoning may require your dog to be admitted for at least a day for observation and proper treatment to be done.
To supplement the treatment, you will be advised on the foods your dog can take and will be required to make several follow-up visits for further monitoring.
For the wellbeing of your canine, be sure to follow the instructions given by your vet strictly, including going for the follow-up checks promptly.
Great alternatives for saltine crackers for your dog
The good news is that your dog doesn’t have to starve as they watch you munch on your saltine crackers.
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There are other alternative dog treats you can get for them that are prepared to suit the health and nutrition needs of dogs.
Baked Classic Wafers
These have been prepared using natural ingredients and feel and taste like crackers. They have a sizeable nutritional supply with low carbs and sufficient proteins. They are also suitable for dogs that have sensitive stomachs.
Wellness Natural Grain Free Dog Treats
They are made by Wellness Natural Pet Food and come in the form of biscuits. They provide dogs with a good supply of proteins and amino acids. All the ingredients and natural making these treat safe even for those dogs with very sensitive stomachs.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Biscuits Dog Treats
These treats are enriched with omega-3 and six other fatty acids, ALA, EPA, DHA, and proteins. They don’t have allergenic grains and are made using all-natural ingredients.
There are many more alternatives for saltine crackers.
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While saltine crackers are a great snack, it is not suitable for dogs.
Knowing that if your furry friend consumes these crackers in small quantities without experiencing any harm to their health can tempt you to throw on or two crackers at them to munch.
But this is not the best idea. If you want to snack with your dog, get them their dog treats that offer nutritional value and not putting their health at risk.