There are two things in this world that are impossible to resist: freshly-baked donuts and puppy dog eyes. Unfortunately, the two don’t mix that well. You may be tempted to share with your dog every time you enjoy one of your favorite treats, but this is one time when you need to be strong enough to tell your dog no.
Are Donuts Safe for Dogs?
Here’s the thing: All donuts are bad for dogs but some donuts can kill them. The difference depends on what’s inside. Some donuts include ingredients like caffeine and chocolate, which can be fatal in large enough doses. It’s highly unlikely that your dog will get enough of either ingredient to kill them (unless you turn them loose in a bakery), but it’s still better not to take the chance.
Other potentially deadly ingredients include grapes, xylitol, and certain toppings like macadamia nuts. Unless you’re absolutely certain that you know what’s in the donut, you should skip giving your pooch a taste.
Even if it’s just a plain glazed donut, there’s enough sugar and fat in there to cause problems. If your dog consumes too much of either ingredient, pancreatitis — a potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas — can result.
Again, your dog would have to eat a ton of donuts for pancreatitis to occur, but it’s best not to tempt fate.
My Dog Already Ate a Donut. What Should I Do?
The correct course of action will depend on a few factors, like your dog’s size, the number of donuts they ate, and what was in them. If you have a Great Dane who licked up a few plain crumbs, there’s nothing to worry about. If, however, your Chihuahua took down three chocolate glazed all by themselves, you might have a problem on your hands.
If the missing donuts had potentially toxic ingredients like grapes or macadamia nuts in them, you should call poison control and/or rush your dog to the emergency room.
If you’re worried, give your vet a call and see what they tell you to do. Chances are that everything will be fine — just give your dog plenty of water and wait for the mess that will occur when the donuts come out the other end.
What Are the Biggest Warning Signs That I Should Watch Out For?
Again, your biggest concern is the presence of toxic ingredients, so check to see which donuts were eaten. If there’s nothing problematic in them, your two biggest concerns are pancreatitis and bloat.
They have many signs in common. The most concerning behaviors are:
Another thing to watch for is the “prayer position.” This is when your dog has their butt in the air and their head on the ground.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, rush your dog to a vet immediately.
I Don’t Think My Dog Is Seriously Ill, but They Still Seem Sick. What Should I Do?
It’s natural for your dog to feel a bit under the weather after chowing down on donuts. All that fat and sugar can wreak havoc on their digestive systems for a few days.
The best thing to do is put them on a fast for 24 hours or so, then switch them to a bland diet until the junk food has run its course. Foods like boiled chicken, rice, cottage cheese, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and bananas are all good for dogs with upset stomachs.
Your dog may regurgitate the donut, especially if they gorged themselves. If so, be careful not to let them eat it again.
We’ll be honest: You’re probably going to have to deal with diarrhea. Pay extra attention to any cues that your dog needs to go outside because they might not be able to give you much warning before a mess happens. After a few days, your dog should be good as new.
Are There Any Healthy Alternatives to Donuts I Can Offer My Dog?
You don’t need to offer your dog an alternative. Simply tell them “no” and go on about your business.
If your guilt is getting the best of you, give them a dog treat or healthier human food like fruit or lean meat. Your dog doesn’t know what they’re missing, so there’s no reason to feel bad about depriving them.
If you absolutely must give your dog a donut, consider making them one of their own. There are plenty of dog-appropriate donut recipes out there; for the most part, they’re made with foods like yogurt, oats, bacon bits, and peanut butter.
So, What’s the Verdict?
Most donuts aren’t toxic to dogs but they’re all unhealthy. You’re better off not giving them to your dog, no matter how much they beg.
However, some donuts can be fatal. If the pastry has ingredients like grapes, macadamia nuts, caffeine, or chocolate in it, your dog can be seriously harmed by eating it. Some of those ingredients aren’t commonly found in donuts, and the others need to be consumed in large quantities, so even then, you may be fine.
Still, there’s no reason to give your dog a donut. They have no nutritional value, and they can cause digestive issues or contribute to other diseases like obesity.