We love to share our favorite treats with our furry friends, but this isn’t always a good idea. Some human foods are safe or even healthy for dogs, but others can be harmful.
Where do sugar cookies fall on the spectrum?
Technically, dogs can eat sugar cookies. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for them to eat them.
Sugar cookies are a fun treat for humans, but they aren’t ideal for dogs. They aren’t toxic, but there are some health concerns. At best, sugar cookies are empty calories for dogs. At worst, they can trigger pancreatitis and other issues.
What’s in Sugar Cookies?
Sugar cookies don’t contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, but they do contain ingredients that aren’t good for them.
Sugar cookies contain sugar, flour, butter or oil, eggs, and baking powder. Eggs and baking powder aren’t harmful to your pooch. However, high amounts of sugar and butter or oil are not good for them.
Dangers of High Sugar for Dogs
Dogs do need some sugar or carbohydrates in their diet, just as humans do. However, just like us, too much sugar isn’t good for them. It can lead to a range of health problems.
If your pooch has a serving of sugar cookies, the biggest concerns are pancreatitis and stomach upset.
If they consume too much sugar on a regular basis, they may become obese, develop diabetes, and get cavities.
Is Raw Cookie Dough Dangerous to Dogs?
Some types of dough are very dangerous for your dog, but sugar cookie dough doesn’t present the same concerns.
If your dog eats a yeast dough, like bread, it can lead to serious illness or death. The dough can swell up in your dog’s stomach, causing a condition known as bloat.
Bloat occurs when gas builds up in the system and can’t be released. It causes stomach upset and severe abdominal pain. A dog with bloat can’t pee, poop, or vomit.
Bloat can cause the stomach to twist, which can be fatal.
The other concern with yeast dough is fermentation. Fermentation produces small amounts of alcohol. This is negligible to us, but dogs aren’t able to process alcohol the way humans do.
The fermentation process can lead them to have alcohol poisoning.
Again, cookie dough doesn’t contain yeast, so it’s not a danger to your dog.
Other Types of Cookies
Sugar cookies don’t contain any ingredients that are toxic, but some other types of cookies can. You may be aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs.
How toxic varies greatly depending on the type of chocolate, with baking or unsweetened cocoa powder being the most dangerous, and milk chocolate being the least dangerous.
Chocolate chip cookies are unlikely to contain enough chocolate to be harmful, but its best not to risk it.
Raisin cookies and cookies with nuts can be even more toxic than chocolate chip cookies, and should always be kept away from dogs.
Most dogs will be fine after eating sugar cookies. However, there can be both short and long term effects for dogs who consume sugar cookies.
Sugar cookies can cause your pooch to have an upset stomach. This isn’t because it’s toxic. Instead, it upsets the balance of bacteria in your dog’s gut.
Both humans and dogs have bacteria in their gut to help break down food. When your dog eats a high amount of sugar, like what’s contained in sugar cookies, it feeds the bad bacteria in the gut.
The most common effect is diarrhea, which can even be bloody. Vomitting can also occur.
The fat content of sugar cookies can also contribute to these stomach issues. Too much fat can cause diarrhea and vomiting as well.
Pancreatitis is another concern if your pooch eats sugar cookies. As mentioned previously, pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas is inflamed.
It can be difficult to distinguish it from simple stomach upset due to the sugar and fat content of cookies, but the symptoms of pancreatitis can be more serious than those of stomach upset.
Pancreatitis can be triggered by too much sugar, fat, or both. This makes sugar cookies a prime candidate for causing the condition.
The symptoms of pancreatitis include stomach upset. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are the most common signs. Fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite can also occur.
Many dogs will get into a praying position during an attack. This means they lower the front half of their body to the floor, and raise their butt.
Pancreatitis can range from mild to severe. Mild cases may only cause stomach upset. However, severe cases of pancreatitis are life threatening. It can lead to shock, depression, and death.
Most dogs recover from pancreatitis with no lasting problems. However, some dogs will experience lasting effects. Some dogs will also continue to suffer attacks of pancreatitis, which is known as chronic pancreatitis.
These dogs require a specialized diet to manage or prevent reoccurrence.
Another concern if your dog eats sugar cookies is weight gain. Of course, one helping of sugar cookies won’t make your dog obese. However, if your pooch frequently consumes sugar, fat, and empty calories, they will gain excess weight.
Over half of the dogs in America are overweight or obese. It’s the number one preventable pet health condition today, so it’s important to monitor your dog’s diet to keep them at a healthy weight.
Diabetes is a serious concern for dogs. The process is the same as it is for humans. The pancreas stops functioning normally, and producing the insulin the body needs.
This causes the amount of sugar in the blood to increase, because the body can’t process the sugar. While the sugar builds up in the blood, the muscles can’t access the sugar for energy.
The body begins to break down protein and fat, which causes muscle loss, fatigue, and nerve damage.
The high sugar in the blood damages organs, including the kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels, and nerves.
If your dog eats sugar cookies, the action you should take depends on a few factors. These include how much they ate and any symptoms they are experiencing.
Should I Be Worried if My Dog Seems Ok?
If your dog eats sugar cookies and has no signs of stomach upset or other issues, you’ll need to monitor them for symptoms.
If they’ve eaten a large amount of sugar cookies, you should consider inducing vomiting to prevent serious stomach upset or pancreatitis concerns.
Inducing vomiting allows your dog to bring the contents of their stomach back up. This can remove harmful or unhealthy ingredients from their system before it enters their system.
If your pooch ate a large amount of sugar cookies, or the sugar cookies have icing, it’s a good idea to induce vomitting.
Do not induce vomiting if your dog is already nauseous or vomiting. If they consumed the cookies more than two hours ago, there’s no benefit to inducing vomiting. The cookies have already been absorbed by their system.
To induce vomiting, you’ll need 3% hydrogen peroxide, which is likely already in your medicine cabinet. Give your dog 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.
They should begin vomiting within 15 to 30 minutes. Walking them can speed the process.
If they haven’t vomited within 45 minutes, you can repeat the dosage once.
Your dog may vomit for up to 45 minutes, so you’ll need to be prepared before administering peroxide.
Treating Stomach Upset
You can treat simple stomach upset at home. Of course, if you’ve induced vomiting, you’ll want to let it run its course before providing any treatment.
If your pooch is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, there are a few ways to help them. One way is to give them famotide. This is an antacid that is designed for humans, but it’s also safe and effective for dogs.
You can give your pooch .5 mg per pound of body weight. You can repeat the dosage in 12 hours.
Pepto is another popular human medicine that is safe for dogs. You can give your pooch 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight, up to 4 teaspoons for dogs 40 pounds or over.
You can repeat the dose in 6 to 8 hours if needed.
Vets recommend withholding food for 12 to 24 hours after stomach upset occurs to give their digestive system a rest, and then feeding a bland diet.
If sugar cookies have wreaked havoc on your dog’s stomach, a bland diet is one of the best things you can do. Boiled chicken and rice are very easily digested, and will provide plenty of nutrition for your pooch.
Just feed them approximately the same amount you would feed them of their standard food. You’ll give them a 2 to 1 ratio of rice to chicken. If you give them one cup of food, you’ll give them 2/3 cup of rice and 1/3 cup chicken.
After 48 hours, you can begin to transition them back to their standard food. Begin feeding them 1/4 standard food and 3/4 a cup bland food. Increase the standard food by 1/4 every 1 to 2 days.
If your pooch has stomach upset, go back a step for a day or two.
If your pooch develops pancreatitis, you’ll need to get them to the vet. Severe pancreatitis must be treated immediately. It is an emergency, and can be life threatening. The faster treatment is received, the greater the chances of a full recovery.
Less severe cases of pancreatitis still need veterinary care. Your vet will likely perform some tests and recommend a special diet.