An English muffin topped with butter and jam is the quintessential breakfast for many people. Or perhaps you’re more of an Egg McMuffin fan. Whatever you fancy, we certainly understand your fondness for this yeast-leavened bread. It’s comfort food. But can you give them to your dog?
The short answer is a conditional yes. Those conditions being that we are talking about a small amount of a plain English muffin. Through the process of domestication, canines have evolved from a mostly carnivorous diet to one which is approaching that of an omnivore, and as such, they are better able to digest starches than their ancestors. This means that they technically can eat a muffin, but it’s not something we would advise letting them do often.
About English Muffins
The English muffin originated in Wales around the 10th century. The people called this stone-baked bread Bara Maen. Its popularity spread throughout Europe, although the roots of the word we’ve given it are unclear. Some experts believe it comes from the Old French word “moflet,” which means soft. Others claim it’s from the Low German word “muffin,” meaning small cake. Both seem fitting.
Working out if our dogs can safely eat English muffins starts with the recipe.
Most pet allergies are triggered by animal-based proteins. Reactions to grains, like wheat, are rare, so you needn’t worry about the flour necessarily. None of the ingredients are particularly problematic; the milk will be in small volume and cooked, and there is nothing toxic to be concerned about. What we can also see, however, is that there’s not a lot on that list that a dog really needs in its diet. So the question of offering a bit of English muffin to your dog becomes less about safety, and more about calories and value.
Nutritional Value of English Muffins
One muffin contains just under 5 g of protein, 1.14 g of fat, and 25.5 g of carbohydrates. The first two are okay, but the high level of carbs is less than ideal. Although the recommended daily intakes for carbohydrates aren’t defined for dogs or cats, we know that they shouldn’t be eating foods that are too carb-heavy. It also helps explain the 127 calories. Nevertheless, value exists in its calcium, magnesium, potassium, and B complex vitamins, which contribute to its nutritional merit.
Calorie Intake and Obesity
A plain English muffin has the aforementioned 127 calories and is about 42% water. It may not sound like a lot until we put it in context. A 20-pound dog should get about 400 calories daily, so one muffin makes up about a third of their recommended intake, while offering less-than-optimal nutrition.
The calories can add up quickly when fed these types of foods. Adding to the issue is the carbohydrate content. The dog won’t feel full for long and will likely eat more, compounding the problem. We’ve discussed plain English muffins. Adding something as simple as a tablespoon of butter or cream cheese can add 120 or 50 calories, respectively.
Obesity is problematic for dogs and people alike. It can increase the risk of joint problems and heart disease, and can affect your pet’s quality of life.
Generally, it’s not a good idea to feed foods designed for humans to our pets. There is always a risk of toxic ingredients and high fat, sugar, and calories. Plus, it can set up a vicious cycle. Giving your pup English muffins or any other “human” food teaches the animal that they can beg for a treat and get it! Undoubtedly, it’s not something you want to happen.
As we mentioned earlier, English muffins can come in different varieties,including fruit, or cinnamon raisin. As you are probably aware, grapes and raisins are highly toxic for dogs, even in small amounts. If your dog has managed to munch on a raisin tainted muffin, you need to call your vet immediately.
As much as you may enjoy English muffins, it’s not wise to give them to your dog. It’s not that they are toxic or poisonous, but it teaches your pup to beg for food that isn’t nutritionally complete. It can also contribute to weight gain and its harmful effects. We strongly urge you to avoid giving your pooch anything but foods and treats formulated for your pet’s weight and life stage.