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Can Dogs Eat Pasta? Nutrition Facts & Safety Guide

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

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Practically everyone knows about the iconic Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene. But is it safe to recreate this romantic moment over a plate of pasta with your pup? While it’s guaranteed to spark dozens of Instagram likes, is pasta actually safe for dogs to eat? As it turns out, the answer isn’t that straight forward.

While some vets say it’s perfectly safe to feed your pooch moderate amount of this carb-stuffed meal, others disagree.

But before you go feeding Fido a heaping plate of lasagna, it’s important to understand the benefits and risks involved.

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Is Pasta Safe for Dogs?

Plain cooked pasta is fine for dogs to ingest. The core ingredients in most pasta dishes are flour and eggs, which is safe for canines to eat.

If you’ve prepared your pasta with garlic and onions, steer clear of giving your dog leftovers. These ingredients have been shown to have negative health effects on your fluffy friend. Onions and garlic belong to the Allium family and when eaten in large amounts, may cause pets to become anemic. If your dog has gotten into the marinara sauce – often used in spaghetti, warning signs to watch out for include lethargy, weakness, and pale mucous membranes.

Additionally, dogs can have trouble when they eat other herbs and spices typically found in pasta and noodle dishes. Salt, for example, can lead to neurological issues such as seizures and dizziness. Oregano is another pasta ingredient that is toxic to dogs. Large doses can lead to kidney or liver problems.

Cheese is another delicious addition to any pasta or noodle dish. While a small cheese treat makes for a mouthwatering morsel for any well-behaved dog, pet parents should avoid feeding cheese to their dogs in large amounts as this can result in heart conditions, weight gain, and gastrointestinal problems.

Pasta on Dog Bowl_shutterstock_GIOVANNI RAUCCI
Image Credit: GIOVANNI RAUCCI, shutterstock

Is Pasta Bad for Dogs?

While we know that pasta by itself is not bad for dogs, can it become a staple of their doggie diet?

The simple answer is no. Since your pet’s diet is mainly composed of fat and protein, increasing their carb consumption can have a negative impact. One study concluded that dogs that are fed a diet high in carbohydrates actually extracted less nutrients from their food than dogs that ate low-carb, high-protein meals.

High-carb diets can also make your dog fat. Overweight pets can develop additional health conditions including cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. 

Are Pasta and Noodles Good for Dogs?

Pasta and noodles should not be a staple in your dog’s diet. However, dogs can eat starch-rich diets since being domesticated by humans.

But this doesn’t mean that carbs should take up a large chunk of their dinner. As mentioned earlier, a diet high in carbohydrates can lead to obesity, and more serious health complications.

The small amount of nutrients that dogs could derive from pasta is better supplied through their normal dog food. There are no perks to sharing pasta with your pet (unless it’s a cute photo).

Bottom line: pasta isn’t that great for your pup.

labrador licking metal bowl
Image Credit: Olya Maximenko, Shutterstock

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How to Feed Your Dog Pasta

If you want to feed pasta to your pet, ensure that it’s plain and sauce-free. It should also be cooked for easy consumption.

Your Pup and Pasta

The big takeaway here is that while dogs can safely eat plain pasta or noodles in small quantities, they should never be given pasta sauce.

While plain pasta isn’t a natural food for your dog, a couple of noodles won’t harm them. However, high-carb diets don’t provide much nutrition for your dog. Their bodies prefer high-fat, high-protein, low-carb meals. Too many carbs can lead to obesity and other health concerns.

So, go ahead and have a Lady and the Tramp moment with your fur baby. Just don’t feed them a large helping of leftovers.

See also:

Featured Image: Pixabay, Pexels

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is the proud mom of Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway, and Baby, a Burmese cat. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals and has experience caring for all types of dogs, from Yorkies to Great Danes. Nicole even worked as a dog sitter during her travels through South America and cared for stray pups — something she ...Read more

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