We love our dogs — they sleep with us, we take them with us in the car, and, at times, we spoil them as if they are our own children. We know a good diet, exercise, and discipline are what they need, but sometimes we break the rules and do things like sharing our treats with them. Sometimes we even give them donuts, but can dogs have donuts?
Dogs should not have donuts because many of the ingredients commonly found in donuts are not suited to canine metabolism. Some of the toppings could exacerbate the negative effects, and donuts have no nutritional value for a dog. However, dogs can have specially made donuts that are suited to their dietary requirements.
Read on to discover more about dogs and donuts and what it is in donuts that makes them good or bad for a dog.
What Foods Can Dogs Eat?
As omnivores, a dog’s balanced diet should include meat, grains, vegetables, and fruits. Commercial kibble or wet food found in shops is strictly regulated and designed to suit the dietary requirements of dogs (source).
Diet varies according to a dog’s age, with puppies’ requirements differing significantly from adult dogs.
Yet even within these nutritional parameters, some overly processed grains and fruits, like grapes, are harmful to dogs. Let’s examine what goes into the delicious donuts we find in delicatessens and supermarkets to determine their suitability for your pet.
What Goes into Donuts?
Store-bought donuts are made up largely of white processed flour, and then sugar, eggs, and yeast are added, along with some dairy products, before the donut is fried in oil.
While this flour may originate from grain, it is highly processed and of little nutritional value. Dairy is not advised as part of a dog’s diet, and sugar in high quantities can also be problematic, as we will discuss later.
Additionally, commercially produced donuts are likely to use oils that don’t offer any Omega 3 components that would benefit your dog.
Lastly, it’s the toppings on donuts that you must really look out for. Coatings like chocolate and trimmings like macadamia nuts are harmful to dogs.
What will happen if your dog eats your favorite donuts? It’s unlikely to be fatal, but excessive consumption of donuts will cause problems. The ingestion of ill-suited ingredients will affect the pancreas causing digestive problems.
As we know, donuts are sweet, and dogs are known to have a fancy for sweet things, just like us, so let’s talk about sugar and dogs.
Can Dogs Have Sweets?
Sweets contain sucrose, or what is commonly called sugar. The two components of sucrose — glucose and fructose — are easily digested by dogs. However, processed sugar, such as that found in sweets, is bad for a dog.
Processed sugar could cause diarrhea or even diabetes, so feeding your dog sweets continually is not advisable, but the occasional one will do no harm.
By the same token, on a hot day, dog owners may be tempted to share their Coke with their dog. It will help hydrate the dog on that occasion, but continually giving a dog a Coke is ill-advised. For further information on the subject, read “Can Dogs Drink Coke?”
Chocolate is also bad for dogs, mainly because of a harmful substance called theobromine (source). Theobromine could upset the stomach of your dog, while large amounts of the substance could result in seizures and should be avoided. For more on the topic, read “Can Dogs Have Oreos?”
Using a sugar substitute like xylitol, though naturally occurring in some fruits and vegetables, can even be lethal and should be avoided at all costs.
While it is commonly believed that sugar will make your dog fat, a balanced portion of refined sugar in their diet has been shown to make a dog more energetic (source).
Further, it was found that lactating and pregnant bitches that consumed sugar did perfectly well, and their puppies similarly showed good growth with sucrose in their diet.
This indicates that dog foods like kibble with added sugar are not necessarily a problem, provided the balance is right according to the dog’s metabolism and size. The relative amount of acceptable refined sugar is less than 10% of the composition of the meal.
What Donuts Can Dogs Have?
Dogs can have donuts that are designed for their nutritional needs. Firstly, the flour used can make a big difference, and it would be advisable to use whole grain flour with a higher nutritional value. A good choice is whole wheat flour, which gives a nice brown color.
One small warning is that wheat flours contain gluten, to which some dogs are intolerant. If your dog is intolerant to gluten, it could develop a skin allergy. There are flours that are gluten-free that you can use, like almond, brown rice, coconut, oat, or chickpea flour, if gluten intolerance is a problem.
Most recipes for dog-friendly donuts contain nutrient-rich ingredients like peanut butter and oats that are healthy for dogs. They also contain oils that are rich in Omega 3 and don’t include yeast, which isn’t good for them.
A good substitute for chocolate is carob, a legume that does not contain caffeine or theobromine and tastes like chocolate. Your dog won’t even know the difference!
Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? You may even end up sharing your dog’s donut with him — that’s if he will let you!
Sometimes, dog owners inadvertently think that they are giving their dog a treat, while, in fact, the item they give them may have a bad effect on the dog. Such treats as sweets, cold drinks, and foods high in sugar can be bad for dogs if fed in significant quantities.
Donuts that contain processed flour and extra trimmings are delicious for humans but bad news for dogs. We hope that we have helped dog owners understand that their precious pets deserve the best diet available and that if you are going to give them donuts, they should be diet-suitable.