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.
Can Dogs Have Graham Crackers?
We all know of Graham crackers. 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 crackers, cinnamon 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?
They can, but only in moderation. 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. In essence, you’ll be giving your dog 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.
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.
Simply put – don’t give your dog even a single chocolate Graham cracker.
Learn more about: Can Dogs Have Raspberries Or Are They Toxic To Them?
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.
- 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 crackers.
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.
In Conclusion, Can Dogs Have Graham Crackers?
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. So, it’s best to just avoid crackers altogether.