Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard
Giving dogs human food is often a clearly bad idea but other times it can seem a bit on the line. With that in mind, can dogs have Graham crackers of any kind? Or are these classic human treats a No-No for canines? And, if it’s the former, are all types of Graham crackers acceptable, or are some worse than others? Let’s go over all the details below.
Table of Contents
What is a Graham Crackers – What is Its Composition
We all know of Graham crackers. Graham crackers are a type of cookie made from “Graham flour” which is very similar to whole wheat flour. Packaged graham crackers often have a rectangular shape. Graham flour and whole wheat flour are both made from whole wheat grains, the difference being that “Graham” is not strained in the process and is produced more grainy than whole wheat flour.
Unleavened, made from ground flour, wheat bran, and sprouted grains. This is exactly what the first diet cracker in history was. Its creator, the American preacher, vegetarian Sylvester Graham, was called a dietary reformer by his contemporaries and followers.
What’s surprising is that modern cookies don’t even closely resemble the unleavened something Graham once offered to those wishing to lose weight. Today Graham crackers are made from minimally processed products: whole wheat flour, molasses. It also contains baking flour, refined sugar, cocoa, cinnamon. Graham cracker rectangle turn out low-calorie, crunchy, delicious.
These whole wheat snacks have been used for baking in the US for nearly two centuries and can be eaten in various ways. They also come in several different varieties such as honey maid graham crackers, sugar free graham crackers, cinnamon graham crackers, and even chocolate ones. There are also plain honey-free Graham crackers, usually marketed as vegan.
So, Can Dogs Have The Basic and Plain Type Of Graham Crackers?
The big question is: can dogs eat graham crackers? They can, but only in moderation, as a dog treats for a little encouragement. While the lack of honey and other added sugar in non-honey Graham crackers makes them less harmful to a dog, they still have little to no nutritional value for canines. Graham crackers good for a person watching their weight, but for a dog they have no value, essentially you are giving them empty calories. So, throwing your pet the occasional cracker treat won’t be the end of the world but making it a habit can lead to quite a bit of unfortunate weight gain.
Can Dogs Eat Graham Crackers With Honey?
By far the most popular type of Graham crackers are the ones with honey. While more delicious to humans, they do present an extra danger for dogs – even more sugar. A standard honey Graham cracker has 8 grams of sugar in it.
Now, honey isn’t technically toxic for dogs in any particular way. So, giving your dog a single honey Graham cracker should still be ok. But, again, if you start giving your dog more and more of those treats can lead to some serious sugar-related problems.
Dogs just aren’t built to handle sugar as well as humans. Instead, dogs make their own sugar (or glucose) internally by breaking down the carbohydrates they consume. So, giving your dog extra sugar can have some disastrous consequences that we’ll delve into in more detail below.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Graham Crackers?
Like honey, cinnamon isn’t toxic for dogs. However, like honey Graham crackers, the ones with cinnamon also contain about 8 grams of sugar per cracker. So, there really is no difference in the effect these crackers can have on your dog – one or two crackers every once in a while shouldn’t be an issue for a healthy dog, however, if you start going beyond that, you can get your pooch in trouble.
The Effects of Sweet Treats on Dogs
First, you must realize that a dog’s digestive system can only hold a minimal amount of sugar compared to humans. If your dog consumes more than they can, they may experience vomiting or diarrhea. This is why sweet treats are not recommended for dogs.
Also, large amounts of sugar cause dogs to gain weight, leading to obesity. Be careful, especially if you have a very young or old dog. Disorders such as obesity cause conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, and breathing difficulties. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to death.
Just as sugar is bad for your teeth, it is also bad for dogs. Remember, dogs already consume sugar from dog food, so sugar from Graham crackers is too much. Sugar can cause your dog’s teeth to rot or decay.
How About Chocolate Graham Crackers?
Chocolate Graham crackers are a whole different can of worms. Not only do they still have honey which still makes them too sweet for a dog, but the chocolate itself is very toxic for dogs. While not often lethal, especially when there’s just a bit of chocolate on a cracker, this dark-brown delight can still cause your dog a lot of problems.
Chocolate has theobromine and caffeine in it and both of these chemicals are quite toxic for dogs. Even if the quantity on the cracker is too small to kill your canine, it will more often than not be enough to get your dog seriously ill.
The first and most common signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, panting, and urination. The more advanced and unfortunate symptoms go as far as muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure.
If your dog has gotten its paws on some of your chocolate Graham crackers and you notice even the slightest panting, we’d advise going to the vet immediately. The most likely initial treatments will include induced vomiting and then giving your dog activated charcoal to neutralize the theobromine.
Although Dogs eat Graham crackers immensely with pleasure, do not give your dog even one Graham chocolate cracker.
Learn more about: Can Dogs Have Raspberries Or Are They Toxic To Them?
Why the Сarbs in Graham Сrackers are Not Good for Your Dog
Many people think that dogs don’t need carbohydrates, but the truth is that they do. Commercial dog foods do contain carbohydrates, but in a healthy form. You see, dogs need healthy carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and oats. Unfortunately, that’s not the kind found in Graham crackers.
Most human snacks contain carbohydrates in white flour and sugar, which are forms of unhealthy carbohydrates. These types can cause disorders such as obesity and diabetes in dogs if taken in large amounts.
Hence, you should monitor how much Graham crackers your pet consumes or replace it with more of a healthy snack.
So, Why Are Graham Crackers Bad For Dogs?
Chocolate aside, what makes standard honey or cinnamon Graham crackers so bad for dogs? As we mentioned, the main issue is the excess sugar, followed by the lack of any significant nutritional value. What makes this excess sugar so unfortunate is that it will often lead to any of the following:
- Upset stomach is the first and mildest problem you’ll encounter if your dog has had too much sugar. While not inherently life-threatening, this does mean quite a bit of vomiting and diarrhea and nobody wants that. It is also possible that your dog may have allergic reactions to feeding graham crackers.
- Inflammations are a common consequence of the overabundance of sugar in the body. This applies to people too but is significantly easier to get to this point in dogs.
- Obesity and general weight gain are very sneaky and quick consequences of giving your dog crackers as treats. Even when they are low on sugar, they are so low on any nutritional value that all they do is “go to the dog’s hips”.
- Cavities are also a common problem in dogs, especially given that most dog owners don’t bother brushing their teeth.
- Diabetes and general metabolic changes are also common if you regularly give your dog sugar. If you don’t want to have to give your dog insulin shots, stay off the sweet cracker.
Can Dogs Have Graham Crackers In Moderation and How Much Is Ok?
In general, one or two Graham crackers once or twice a week should be fine for most large and healthy dogs. However, if you want to do this a daily habit and/or if your dog is smaller and in a less-than-ideal health, even a couple of crackers can be a bad idea. Keep in mind that just because you haven’t been giving your dog crackers up until this point, doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t already have some incipient health issues.
As an additional side note – don’t try to switch from honey Graham crackers to sugar-free crackers either. Almost all “sugar-free” crackers contain xylitol which is disastrously toxic to dogs. Interestingly enough, what makes xylitol is the chemical theobromine – the same chemical that makes chocolate toxic.
And so, for a dog Graham crackers are not the healthiest treat for your dog as they do not provide any benefit to your pet and in large quantities can even harm your dog. Therefore, I recommend using alternative dog treats that will appeal to your pet just as much.
The best option for a dog is homemade dog treats, the expert said. They can be made from meat by-products, meat, vegetables or fruits. The chosen products should preferably be baked, dried in the oven or dried. Vegetables and fruits can also be offered without heat treatment.
Homemade Dog Treats – a Healthy and Wholesome Alternative
Treats prepared for the pet with your own hands are considered to be healthy snacks than pet store food, because in such food you are sure: carefully selected components will not contain harmful chemical components. The owner, as a rule, knowing the preferences of his dog, will select safe products that he likes the most. In addition, you will prepare the treat according to all the individual needs and features of the pet, selecting the right calorie content depending on the age and weight of the dog.
Making such a treat at home is quite simple. To do this, you need to choose the right component. This can be fruits and vegetables, meat, offal. Each product can be used both separately and in combination with others. To give shape, sometimes add an egg, hercules or bran. Most of these ingredients will help to improve the condition of the dog’s digestive system and saturate the body with useful microelements.
Some delicious and healthy recipes:
Chicken liver cookies. What dog doesn’t love cookies? And if it is prepared by you – it is doubly useful and desirable. As a rule, for the preparation of cookies choose several ingredients: meat or vegetable component, for denseness add oat flour or oat flakes. For example, to cook cookies from chicken liver, you need to mix chicken liver (500 g) with oat flour or oat flakes (3-4 tbsp. l). In the resulting mass, add an egg and pulverize it with a blender until homogeneous. Then distribute the dough on a baking tray in a single layer and send it to the oven for one hour. Ready layer cool down, cut into small pieces and treat your favorite dog with them. This are a wonderful healthy snacks for your pet.
Dried treats. Not only liver can be dried. Any meat fillet, pig ears, chicken feet are also suitable for this purpose. Subproducts or meat are cooked in the oven, the cooking time depends on the selected ingredient and varies from an hour to four. Such treats will be especially useful for dental health. They can also be given to puppies when they are teething. These treats will help you when you need to distract your dog.
Pumpkin breadcrumbs. Pumpkin is cut into small cubes, which will be convenient for the pet to eat. Then they are thrown into boiling unsalted water for 10-15 minutes. They are then taken out and dried slightly in the microwave or oven.
Dried apples. You can dry apple slices or chunks in the oven at a low temperature. If you have a special fruit dryer, you can use it. Sweet potatoes can be made in the same way. Such a sweet treat and tasty and healthy for your dog.
Rice balls. Boil rice, mix it with pieces of grated apple or carrot and form small balls out of the resulting mass. Note that rice balls, as well as cottage cheese treats, can be given no more than once a week.
Homemade treats are a sure way to please your dog without harming his health. Plus, sometimes it’s much cheaper to make these treats than to buy them at the store. Choose your pet’s favorite foods, alternate, mix and match. Plus, these treats are a great training incentive for your dog.
Remember, however, that even healthy treats are no substitute for a balanced diet. Any treats should be given after the main meal and in limited quantities, otherwise even healthy treats can cause stomach problems.
In Conclusion, Can Dogs Eat Graham Crackers?
And so in this article, I’ve answered the question of whether dogs can eat graham crackers as much as possible. And I will make a short conclusion on this topic: technically, yes, as long as they don’t have any chocolate or xylitol, as long as your dog is healthy, and as long as you don’t go beyond the occasional one or two crackers per week. And if those sound like too many conditions, that’s because they are. Feeding Graham crackers as such has no place! As it will cause even more harm to your dog, only occasionally as an occasional dog treats.