Wheat Thins are a popular cracker brand often advertised as a healthy snack. They’re a baked whole wheat crisp relatively low in calories and often paired with other food items like dips or sliced meat. While Wheat Thins are a tasty addition to any charcuterie board, curious dog owners might like to know if these crackers are safe for dogs.
The short answer is that dogs can eat Wheat Thins as they’re not toxic, but is this a healthy snack to offer your pup? Keep reading to find out.
Is It Okay to Offer My Dog Wheat Thins?
Just because your pup can eat Wheat Thins as they’re not toxic doesn’t mean it should. Your pet can eat a few crackers with no health repercussions, provided it doesn’t have a grain allergy. However, most vets wouldn’t recommend making it a habit to offer these tasty crackers to your dog.
Not only do Wheat Thins have a high sat, fat, and sugar content, but some of the flavored varieties contain garlic and onion powders, which are poisonous for our canine and feline family members.
Nutritional Information for Wheat Thins
Before delving deeper into the unhealthiness of this food for dogs, let’s take a look at the nutritional information.
|31 grams (about 16 crackers)
Wheat Thins aren’t a significant source of any vitamins or minerals. Though they have a reputation in the human food world as being healthy because of clever marketing, these crackers aren’t even that beneficial for humans to eat.
Downsides of Wheat Thins
The biggest downsides of offering your pup Wheat Thins are that they’re high in salt, sugar, carbohydrates, and artificial preservatives.
While dogs do need salt in their diet, too much can be harmful. Sodium levels in a dog’s body are typically balanced. Still, when the sodium amount in the blood becomes too high, water will get drawn from the cells and into the bloodstream as your dog’s body tries to restore the delicate balance. This can ultimately harm the body cells while affecting the brain and nervous tissue. In addition, too much salt can make your dog thirsty and lead to sodium ion poisoning1.
Sugar is not natural for dogs to eat, and as such, their digestive systems aren’t designed to digest it. It’s not toxic but very unhealthy when consumed in large quantities. While there isn’t as much sugar in Wheat Thins as other foods in your home, these tasty crackers don’t offer much nutrition, so there’s really no benefit to giving them to your dog as a snack.
In addition, dogs naturally get the sugar they need in their diets from the carbohydrates in their food. Any additional sugar consumption outside of this would equate to an excessive sugar intake. Too much sugar for dogs can lead to many of the same health issues sweets-loving humans can face.
Of all three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates, and fat—Wheat Thins are mostly carbs. The most important function of this macro for dogs is that it provides energy. If too few carbohydrates are provided as a source of energy, your dog’s body will start making energy from other sources, like protein. A diet that’s composed of just the right amount of carbs will allow protein to be spared for producing and maintaining body tissues.
The key is finding the right balance of carbohydrates. Your dog is probably getting all the carbs it needs from its dog food, and adding excess amounts via snacks like Wheat Thins can cause imbalances in your pup’s body. As a result, they may lead to obesity and depleted vitality.
Wheat Thins are actually banned in the United Kingdom and some other European nations due to a controversial chemical found in the packaging of the crackers. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a lab-made preservative that prevents vegetable oils from going bad. It’s banned in Europe due to its potentially carcinogenic properties. While the crackers do not contain BHT, the bags used to contain them do.
BHT is sometimes used as a dog food additive, but because it could be a carcinogen, we recommend reducing your dog’s exposure as much as possible.
Better Human Foods for Dogs
If your dog’s puppy eyes are begging for a taste of a snack from your plate, you can offer plenty of healthier and safer human foods instead.
While one or two Wheat Thins here and there won’t do any damage to your dog (provided it doesn’t have any allergies to the ingredients), the tasty little crackers don’t add any nutritional value to your dog’s diet. If those sweet puppy dog eyes have you caving in and giving your pet a bite of food from your plate, there are plenty of other better-suited human foods you can offer your dog instead.