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Can Dogs Eat Donuts?

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Dog Health By Ben Team 5 min read September 23, 2020 6 Comments

Donuts for Dogs
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We all give our dogs people treats from time to time.

I’m sure that even the most disciplined trainers and health-conscious vets let their pup have the occasional French fry or pretzel. How could you love your pet and not let her enjoy a tiny sliver of edible nirvana from time to time?

But some people foods are safer and healthier for our pups than others. And although it pains me to say it, donuts are probably one of those treats you should avoid giving your dog at all.

Is a single bite of a donut going to kill your pup? Probably not, but there are a few potentially lethal ingredients in some donuts. So, unless you asked the baker for a copy of the ingredient list, save the donuts for you and your coworkers.

We’ll tell you about the dangers donuts may present below, and we’ll also explain what you should do if your little rascal steals one when you’re not looking.

Key Takeaways: Can Dogs Eat Donuts?

  • If they’re made without any potentially toxic ingredients, such as chocolate, grapes, or Macadamia nuts, plain donuts are “safe” for dogs.
  • Nevertheless, you should avoid feeding your dog donuts. Even “safe” donuts are full of sugar and fat that may upset your dog’s stomach.
  • If your dog steals a donut or gobbles up some crumbs from the floor, it’s a good idea to give your vet a call.

Donut Ingredients: No, This Isn’t a Recipe

In the simplest of terms, donuts are hunks of cake that have been deep fried and slathered with some kind of delicious frosting. This means they’re primarily comprised of things like wheat, milk, eggs, butter, and sugar.

So far, none of those things are especially dangerous for your dog.

Wheat can be dangerous when raw, but it’s safe for dogs once it’s fully cooked. Sugar isn’t exactly a great food for dogs, but it probably shouldn’t be considered dangerous. Similarly, while milk may upset your pup’s stomach, it’s rarely “dangerous.”

On the other hand, most dogs love eggs, and they’re a pretty nutritious source of protein. As for butter, you shouldn’t let your dog slurp down a whole stick, but it isn’t dangerous either.

“So,” you’re probably thinking, “if these ingredients are all more-or-less safe, what’s the problem? My puppy wants a bite of my donut, she’s giving me the eyes, and I want to give her some. Why are some donuts dangerous?”

I’m glad you asked.

Dangerous Ingredients For Dogs in Donuts

While the basic ingredients of a donut may be relatively safe for dogs, many donuts contain other things which may very well put your dog’s health and well-being in danger.

We’ll discuss a few of the most noteworthy below.

  • ChocolateChocolate can be very dangerous to dogs, and it doesn’t take very much to represent a lethal threat for tiny pups. Milk chocolate – the kind of chocolate typically used for donut frostings – isn’t the biggest threat to dogs, but baking chocolate and dark chocolate, which often show up in the actual donut, are much more dangerous.
  • Artificial Sweeteners – Some artificial sweeteners – including, most notably, xylitol – are deadly to dogs. Xylitol probably doesn’t show up in the recipes of many donuts, but it is becoming increasingly common, as humans are always keen to enjoy guilt-free or reduced-guilt treats.
  • Fillings – The fillings used for donuts may not only contain artificial sweeteners, but they may also contain other ingredients that are dangerous to dogs. There’s no end to the list of ingredients modern bakers use when making donut fillings, but grape-based preserves are pretty common and unsafe for dogs.
  • Toppings – A handful of sprinkles probably won’t make your dog sick, but plenty of other toppings may. While peanuts are safe for dogs, many other nuts – including walnuts and macadamia nuts – should not be fed to your pooch. Similarly, raisins (and I’m setting aside my distrust of anyone who’d want raisins on a donut for a moment) are also dangerous for dogs.  

Note that these aren’t the only things in some donuts that may be dangerous for your dog.

There are a number of things lurking in a baker’s kitchen that are not safe for your dog to eat. But the ones listed above are probably the most common ingredients of note.

Donut-Stealing Dogs: What Do You Do If Your Dog Eats a Donut?

By now, I’ve hopefully convinced you that sharing your donut with your dog is a bad idea. It may not always be dangerous, but the risk-reward algebra strongly argues against doing so.

But what do you do if your dog steals a donut or gobbles up the crumbs you dropped on the floor?

First of all, try to figure out about how much donut we’re talking about.

If your 150-pound Newfie slurps up a few crumbs, she’ll probably be completely fine. On the other hand, a 5-pound Chihuahua who polishes off a chocolate donut may be in immediate, life-threatening danger.

Generally speaking, you’ll probably want to give your vet a call. He or she can then give you a rough idea of the relative danger your dog is in and advise you as to whether you need to drop everything and get in the car or simply take a wait-and-see approach.

If your vet tells you to just watch your pet, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the symptoms listed below. These may indicate that your dog is experiencing a health problem and requires help.

  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of coordination
  • Hyperactivity

And, as always, remember that you know your dog better than anybody else on the planet. Listen to your instincts – if you think something is wrong, something is probably wrong.

***

There’s nothing inherently dangerous about donuts, but many are made with ingredients that aren’t safe to share with your pet. So, keep the donuts for the two-legged members of your family, and go grab your dog a treat that better suits your pet.

Has your dog ever become sick from eating a donut? Tell us all about it! What kind of donut did she steal? Did she need to go to the vet? Let us know in the comments below.

Curious about what else your canine can chow down on? Check out our articles on:

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Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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6 Comments

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Laney

thank you for this article! my border collie just ate one of those pink Krispy Kremes out of the bin :/

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Ben Team

No problemo, Laney! Glad you found it helpful.

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Shari Jackson

Hi my pit bull ate 7 doughnut holes that he stole off my table…I’m afraid something will happen to him..ls something seriously going to happen to him? I dont know what to do at the moment please help.

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Ben Team

Hey, Shari.

It primarily depends on what was in the doughnut holes. Chocolate, grapes, xylitol (artificial sweetener), and walnuts are a few of the most dangerous things that may be in some sweets.
If you suspect that any of those ingredients were in the treats, we’d recommend contacting your vet immediately.

If you’re sure that none of those things were included in the doughnut holes, you can probably just watch him closely for the next day or two. They may upset his stomach, but that’s not a huge problem if it resolves quickly. Just be sure to seek immediate veterinary attention if he displays any troubling symptoms (uncoordinated movements, repeated vomiting/diarrhea, lethargy, etc.).

Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.

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Amanda

Will a donut kill a dog?

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Ben Team

Hey, Amanda. As mentioned in the article, it really depends on what is in the donut. If it’s a relatively plain donut (i.e. no chocolate, raisins, walnuts, xylitol, etc.) it probably won’t cause any serious health problems. That said, you don’t want to make a habit of giving donuts to your dog.

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