If your dog ate donuts, this is not surprising. Just as you enjoy the taste of donuts and frequently use them as breakfast or snack, chances are you dog likes them too and you may you have considered sharing the taste with your best friend.
However, as any responsible dog parent, you may not be sure whether donuts are a dog-friendly food choice.
In this article we will discuss what donuts are, what they are typically made of, and why they are generally considered as unsafe for dogs.
We will also talk about the different types of donuts and the various ingredients that make this sweet delicacy a no-go for our canine friends.
Are Donuts Safe For Dogs?
Donuts are a specific type of leavened, deep-fried dough. Donuts can feature various flavors and toppings and are considered to be a popular and readily available sweet snack.
The basic donut recipe includes several rather innocent sounding ingredients like milk, flour, butter, eggs, sugar, yeast, and baking powder. However, donuts can pose several dangers to dogs.
The Dangers of Donuts to Dogs
Usually, when talking about certain human foods and their suitability to dogs, we divide the facts in two groups – health benefits and health risks.
In the case of donuts, there is no health benefits category, as this food is simply no good for dogs.
The truth is donuts are not the healthiest food for humans either. However, when it comes to dogs, there are various reasons why donuts can be hazardous. Here is a list of what makes donuts unsafe for dogs.
1: Donuts are Not a Natural Food Choice For Dogs
Ever seen a wild dog or wolf eating donuts? The answer is obviously no. However, modern dogs are opportunistic eaters willing to eat whatever they can and as much as they can.
And since donuts are quite tasty, the opportunity is more than welcome.
Anyway, just because a dog is willing or even eager to eat donuts, does not mean it is capable of digesting it.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs have sensitive tummies and eating unusual foods can easily cause digestive upset manifested with diarrhea, vomiting, gassiness, abdominal pain, and appetite loss.
2: Donuts are Loaded with Sugars
Sugar is not a dog-friendly nutrient. There are several health issues associated with frequent and excess sugar consumption.
For example, a high-sugar diet increases the risk of developing diabetes, weight gain and obesity, or even cavities and bad dental health.
Plus, just like in children, too many sugars can make dogs hyperactive and agitated.
It also increases the likelihood of developing urinary tract infections and kidney infections. While urinary infections are manageable, kidney infections can be life-threatening.
3: Donuts are High in Unhealthy Fats
Any deep-fried food is going to be rich in fats. In the case of donuts the situation is even worse, as the dough acts like a sponge and absorbs oils.
While dogs need certain amounts of fats and oils for energy and other body functions, too much of these nutrients cause issues.
The most common and dangerous consequence of eating high-fat foods is pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is the scientific term for inflammation of the pancreas.
The condition can occur in two forms – acute and chronic. In both cases, pancreatitis in dogs is an extremely painful health problem and potentially fatal if left untreated.
4: Donuts Often Contain Harmful Ingredients
As already explained, donuts contain ingredients like milk, flour, eggs, butter, yeast, baking powder, and sugar.
While some of these basic donut ingredients are safe, others are potentially harmful. For example, some dogs are sensitive to milk and others are allergic to eggs.
To make things worse, many donuts are additionally enriched with ingredients like chocolate, raisins, or nuts. These foods are straightforwardly toxic to dogs and if consumed in larger amounts have life-threatening potential.
5 Types of Unsafe Donuts to Dogs
The previous section explains why donuts are not a dog-friendly food in general. With that part being covered, it is time we explain in detail the donuts forms and ingredients that are harmful or even toxic to dogs.
1: Raw Donut Dough
Unbaked raw dough is extremely toxic to dogs because of its yeast content. Namely, yeasts rise and expand especially in warm and moist conditions and the dog’s stomach offers exactly that.
The dough expansion causes stomach distension and puts pressure on the surrounding organs. In a nutshell, the immediate danger related to eating raw donut dough is the obvious bloat.
Plus, as the yeast starts fermenting it releases ethanol (alcohol). When the alcohol levels in the blood reach certain levels the dog becomes intoxicated and subjected to alcohol poisoning.
2: Chocolate-Glazed Donuts
Sadly, chocolate is toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains two toxic compounds – theobromine and caffeine. Interestingly, these compounds have the same effects in humans as they do in dogs, but humans tend to be more resistant.
Chocolate poisoning is rarely fatal, but it will result in an urgent vet visit and a hefty vet bill.
A dog experiencing chocolate poisoning shows signs like vomiting, diarrhea, panting, pacing, elevated heart rate, increased thirst and urination frequency.
3: Raisin-Enriched donuts
Another tasty, but sadly toxic ingredient for dogs is raisins. The truth is raisins are not always toxic to dogs. It is hard to explain why the same food is toxic for some and safe for other dogs. It is believed that some dogs genetically lack the enzymes necessary for digesting raisins.
If a dog sensitive to raisins consumes this ingredient, it will develop a poisoning episode manifesting with signs and symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, increased water intake, and urination.
In more severe cases, raisins can cause fatal kidney failure.
4: Nuts-Enriched Donuts
Some donuts are covered or filled with chunks of nuts. In addition to being high in fats, some types of nuts are also toxic to dogs.
Common examples of toxic nuts include walnuts (black, English, and Japanese), macadamia nuts, almonds, and pecans.
Some of these nuts, like pecans, contain a specific toxin, in this case called juglone. Other nuts, like walnuts are prone to molding, and once molded, develop thermogenic mycotoxins responsible for causing vomiting, tremors, and in more severe cases, even seizures in dogs.
5: Artificially Sweetened Donuts
Instead or in addition to regular sugar, some donut recipes include artificial sweeteners. The most frequently used artificial sweetener, xylitol, is extremely toxic to dogs. In dogs, xylitol can exert its toxic effects in as little as 10 minutes.
Xylitol works by affecting the pancreas and stimulating a sudden insulin release.
As a response, the blood sugar levels drop to a dangerous level triggering issues like lack of coordination, tremors, seizures, and collapse.
Help! My Dog Ate Donuts – Now What?
Seeing your dog eating something harmful can be a distressing situation. When faced with such danger it is important to think quickly and act appropriately. To help your donut-eating dog, just follow these steps.
1: Stay Calm
The first thing you need to do is remain calm. This is usually easier said than done, but the calmer you are the more rationally you will think.
Plus, dogs are emotional sponges and your pup will quickly pick up your distress feelings making the bad situation even worse.
2: Remove the Donuts
If there are still uneaten donuts, pick them up quickly or take your dog and confine him to another room.
Usually, when caught in the middle of the crime, or in this case in the middle of stealing donuts, dogs start eating even faster. Therefore, it is important to remove any donut leftovers.
3: Assess the Situation
Once your dog and the remaining donuts are separated, it is time to evaluate the damage. Try to determine how many donuts your dog ate and pay attention to their type and the ingredients they contain.
This information will prepare you for the next step.
4: Call your Veterinarian
Call your vet and explain the situation in a calm manner. Provide the vet with as much information as possible. The more your vet knows about the incident the easier it will be to give advice and further instructions. Do not expect a full diagnosis over the phone – just directions on what to do next.
5: Follow Your Vet's Instructions
Depending on your dog’s size and the type and amount of eaten donuts, the vet can recommend to wait and see how the situation develops or to have your dog brought to the office as soon as possible.
In both cases, it is imperative to follow the instructions.
6: Do Not Self-Treat
Deciding to disobey the vet and self-treat your dog is a recipe for disaster. Never give your dog human medications as many of them are toxic and can do more harm than good.
Also, do not attempt to induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.
Summing UP: Can Dogs Eat Donuts?
The general rule of thumb is that dogs should not eat donuts – they are loaded with sugars, they are deep-fried, and they often contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
Simply put, donuts are a health hazard on various levels.
If your dog steals a donut or you offer one, the consequences of the indiscretion depend on the donut type and consumed amount. While eating a bite or two from a plain and fully cooked donut is often harmless, eating chocolate-glazed or raisins-filled donuts is a good reason to make a trip to the vet’s office.