Waffles are delicious at any time of day, who can resist a hot and tasty breakfast waffle? Not dogs that’s for sure! As soon as the dough hits the waffle iron even the laziest dog will appear by your side. But can dogs eat waffles safely? What about the toppings? Let’s take a look at whether dogs can eat waffles without getting sick.
Can Dogs Eat Waffles Safely?
Can dogs eat waffles? Yes. Should they? Probably not.
Plain waffles aren’t toxic and unless your dog has a wheat or gluten intolerance they won’t hurt them, but waffles are far from ideal on a regular basis because they contain lots of calories and very few nutrients.
But before you get out your shopping list, there’s the added hazard of dog toxic ingredients.
Store-bought waffles often contain sugar or xylitol to sweeten them up and xylitol is a real problem for dogs. It’s a toxic substance because it creates a large blood sugar drop that can lead to hypoglycemia and even death. At the very least, it’ll upset your dog’s stomach.
No one wants to be a killjoy, but it’s best that you eat the waffles and give your dog a healthy snack such as a small bit of cottage cheese or fresh apple slices instead.
If you must feed your dog waffles, cook them at home so it’s certain they’re free of toxic ingredients and not too much oil, fat, or sugar. More on how to make dog-friendly waffles later!
What are Waffles?
Waffles are made from leavened dough. Leavened dough contains a rising ingredient like yeast whereas unleavened dough doesn’t and stays flat when it’s baked.
Flour, eggs, and milk are mixed to make a dough that’s cooked between two griddled hot plates called a waffle iron. These plates give waffles their grid pattern.
The name waffle is taken from the French walfre or the Frankish wafla which meant a cake or honeycomb. Waffles have been around for thousands of years right back to the ancient Greeks who cooked something very similar called an obelios. Obelios spread through medieval Europe changing names as they went to wafer or wafla. Waffles are not a new dish by any means!
These days, waffles are usually eaten with a sweet accompaniment like ice cream, syrup, or honey.
Health Benefits of Waffles for Dogs
Waffles have very few health benefits. Plain waffles are not toxic, but they are a high-fat low-nutrition treat. However, there are a few good points especially if waffles are homemade using wholegrain flour.
Flour is used widely in dog food and treats as a binding agent. It contains some nutrients including fiber for healthy bowels, vitamin B which helps convert food into energy, niacin that supports the nervous system, and manganese which is essential in the formation of connective tissues and blood clotting
Eggs are good for dogs in moderation because they contain lots of protein to help build strong muscles, linoleic acid that’s great for healthy coats, and fat-soluble vitamin A for good eyesight.
Milk contains calcium for strong bones, teeth, and nails but too much can lead to gastric upsets and it’s common for dogs to have an intolerance to lactose.
Overall, waffles do contain some supportive nutrients, fiber and energy-giving carbs for dogs, but there are other treats that have much more to give such as carrots, apples, and bell peppers.
The Risks of Waffles
Plain waffles are fine for dogs in moderation but there are some risks if they eat a lot. Sweetened waffles are a problem too. Let’s take a closer look.
We’ve already talked about xylitol but it’s worth mentioning again because it’s such a problem for dogs. This artificial sweetener is often used instead of sugar in lower-fat options. It can cause hypoglycemia and collapse, even death depending on how much is consumed.
Waffles with xylitol should 100% be avoided, check the ingredient label for artificial sweeteners. Xylitol is also found in Jell-o, cakes, biscuits, juice, peanut butter, and ice-cream.
High Calorie Count
Waffles contain carbohydrates and not a lot of nutrients, so unfortunately the calorie count is high and they give little in return.
Waffles that contain oil, butter, or sugar are going to pack even more pounds on your pooch. Obesity in dogs is a real problem in the States. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention 56% of pet dogs are overweight or obese.
Because dogs are smaller than us, it’s very easy to overfeed them, but overweight dogs miss out on life. It affects their joints and can lead to big problems like cancer or diabetes.
Waffles cooked with lots of oil on the iron or drenched in butter risks pancreatitis. This is a painful condition that is likely to reoccur. An inflamed pancreas produces enzymes when no food is present and the enzymes attacks the pancreas. Your dog can get really sick from this.
The symptoms of pancreatitis are pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, pacing, and panting. They will need to see a vet for pain relief and treatment.
Avoid Waffle Toppings
Plain waffles are safe for dogs but the toppings can lead to all kinds of problems.
High sugar and fat toppings like syrup and honey cause weight gain on a regular basis, and butter can cause pancreatitis, but there’s also ice-cream and chocolate to consider.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains two stimulants dogs can’t digest. These are caffeine and theobromine and they’re a problem because they can cause organ failure.
The early signs of chocolate poisoning are panting, drooling, tremors, and collapse. Chocolate can also contain xylitol which we know is toxic. This creates a double whammy of dog-dangerous topping in one waffle.
Ice cream may also contain xylitol and if it doesn’t there’s the fat content to consider. Ice cream may trigger pancreatitis and if eaten regularly it leads to weight gain. Sprinkles are also a no due to xylitol and sugar content.
Just like humans, some dogs have wheat allergies or gluten intolerance. The main symptoms are bloating, flatulence, poor coat, diarrhea, and lethargy. Always monitor your dog after introducing new foods to make sure they don’t have a reaction.
But its not all doom and gloom. Your dog can have occasional waffles if they’re homemade or very thoroughly checked plain store-bought versions.
How To Make Dog Waffles
Making waffles at home is the best option because you can control the ingredients. Here’s how to make dog-friendly waffles.
Add a cup of wholemeal flour and a pinch of dog-safe baking powder to a bowl. Mix in an egg, a splash of milk and stir them up. Don’t add sugar or salt. A wholesome plain waffle is best for your dog.
When you have a thick doughy mixture, spray the waffle iron with a small amount of olive or coconut oil to stop it from sticking, and spoon 1/3 cup in.
When it’s ready, let it cool down before feeding your dog. Burn wounds are not only painful but they can get infected which is distressing for the dog and expensive for the owner.
Never Give Dogs Waffle Dough
Uncooked dough can be fatal for dogs. It’s because yeast rising in the heat of their belly causes bloating and produces toxic levels of ethanol.
How Many Waffles Can a Dog Eat?
As we’ve seen, too many waffles will lead to weight gain and your dog will fill up on nutrient-poor food. The ASPCA recommends treat foods make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily diet and the remaining 90% should be complete dog food.
My Dog Ate Waffles What Can I Do?
If they ate a few plain waffles chances are they will be just fine. A gastric upset is possible though, so monitor them over the next few days and call a vet if the upset doesn’t stop.
If the waffles were covered in toxic toppings, or they ate a lot, it’s best to call a vet for advice. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, and collapse. Read labels and tell the vet what your dog has eaten and how much so they can offer the right advice.
What About Potato Waffles?
Potato waffles are popular in Europe. They are the same grid shape and pattern as standard waffles, but they’re made from shredded potato and baked in the oven or grilled as an accompaniment to eggs.
Potato waffles aren’t toxic to dogs, but they aren’t a healthy treat either, so the same caution should be applied. Look out for high salt and sugar content and remember potatoes are only safe for dogs if they are thoroughly cooked.
Dogs Can Eat Waffles, But With Care
The take-home advice is that dogs can eat plain waffles unless they have a wheat intolerance, but they aren’t good for them. Their high fat and carb content means waffles tend to pack weight on dogs and offer few vitamins or minerals in return.
And toppings? They’re usually off the menu, but a small dab of plain cottage cheese or xylitol-free peanut butter on occasion is OK for dogs in good health.
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- Taylor & Francis Online, Available here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408390591001117
- ASPCA, Available here: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/dog-nutrition-tips
- Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, Available here: https://www.vetsmall.theclinics.com/article/S0195-5616(11)00219-1/fulltext