Can Dogs Eat Cake? See The Definitive Answer

Written by Jennifer Magid
Published: November 17, 2023
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Picture this: you’re celebrating a birthday with family and friends when your dog looks up at you, begging for a little bit of that yummy cake you’re all enjoying. Do you let him have a few bites? Before you give in, here’s the answer to the question, can dogs eat cake?

Dogs Can Eat Some Cakes … but Not All

Australian cattle dog or blue heeler watching at birthday cake isolated on white. Copy space

Before giving your dog a piece of cake, check the ingredient list to make sure nothing is toxic.

©Irina Nedikova/iStock via Getty Images

Whether it’s for a birthday or holiday, cakes usually contain sugar and fat at the bare minimum, both of which aren’t great for dogs. Even the most basic cake could cause some gastrointestinal problems. 

However, you have to be careful with the type of cake to make sure it doesn’t have ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Chocolate cake is a no-no, thanks to the caffeine and theobromine in it. “Chocolate affects the heart, nervous system, and kidneys,” says Danielle Harris, a French Bulldog breeder. Dogs cannot metabolize the theobromine in chocolate, making it extremely toxic.

Different types of chocolate

The theobromine and caffeine in chocolate make it dangerous for dogs to consume.

©ivan_kislitsin/Shutterstock.com

One thing to note: carob is just fine for dogs. It may taste similar to chocolate, but it has no added sugar, fat, or theobromine. It’s actually high in nutrients that are good for dogs and humans alike!

These are some other ingredients that are sometimes in human cakes, all of which are extremely toxic for dogs and should never be allowed:

Raisins: They are tiny, but even a small amount can cause kidney failure for a dog.

Nuts: Macadamia nuts in particular should never be given to a dog, as their high amount of fat can lead to pancreatitis. Generally, peanuts, which are a legume, are a safe “nut” for a dog to have.

Nutmeg: Cinnamon is okay for dogs, but not if there’s any nutmeg thrown in along with it. Nutmeg contains myristicin, a toxin that will poison a dog even in small amounts. 

Xylitol: This sugar substitute is sometimes added to cakes so they are lower in fat or reduced in sugar. But it’s extremely toxic for dogs. It can lower a dog’s blood sugar, leading to seizures, liver failure, and death. 

Always check a cake for any of these ingredients before slipping your dog even a taste.

What Cakes Can Dogs Eat?

A dog has a birthday party

The best way to make sure your dog is eating cake that’s good for them? Bake your own!

©iStock.com/Ljupco

If you’re making a cake that you want to share with your dog, these are some great ingredients to add: oats, carrots, peanut butter, pumpkin, yogurt, applesauce, and eggs. All are dog-friendly, human-friendly, and safe. Finally, if you choose to buy a store-bought cake, always check the ingredient list first to ensure it doesn’t contain any of the toxic ingredients listed. Even if it doesn’t, it’s never a good idea to overfeed your pup treats. Even if they can digest the ingredients in the cake, too much of a good thing leads to empty calories and can cause weight gain and upset stomach. Just like with humans, eat everything in moderation!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images

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About the Author

Jennifer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on dogs, travel, and gardening. She holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from New York University. A resident of Connecticut who has lived all over the country, Jennifer enjoys working on trick training with her standard poodle, and spending time with her family outdoors.

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