In a word, yes. But this doesn’t mean eating pop tarts regularly is a safe practice for our four-legged friends. Simply because they can doesn’t mean they should. After all, dogs eat various things that aren’t good for them including garbage, shoes, and most notoriously, homework. That said, pop tarts are far from a safe recommendation as a treat for dogs.
What Ingredients in Pop Tarts Are Hazardous for Canines?
Not all of what goes into a pop tart is toxic to dogs, and some are worse than others. For example, if a dog were to eat a strawberry-flavored pop tart it would have much less detriment to the dog’s health compared to its chocolate-flavored counterpart. This is because chocolate in particular is very toxic to canines, and can lead to a condition of chocolate poisoning. Some of the side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive urination, and elevated heart rate.
What’s universal across all pop tarts, however, is their high content of sugar, salt, carbohydrates, and fat. While these ingredients alone aren’t fatal to dogs, they can promote adverse and unhealthy effects if consumed regularly. Other ingredients in pop tarts such as bleached wheat flour, wheat starch, high fructose corn syrup, palm oil, and xanthan gum aren’t exactly toxic to dogs, but they provide no positive nutritional value. Overconsumption of these ingredients can lead to health risks such as skin rashes, upset stomach, weight gain, and diabetes.
Similar to chocolate, xylitol is an ingredient in some pop tarts that is extremely toxic to dogs. Xylitol poisoning can rapidly cause hypoglycemia (decreased level of blood sugar), which can be life-threatening to dogs if not treated quickly. It is recommended to immediately seek a veterinary hospital or emergency animal center if your dog has ingested xylitol.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate a Pop Tart?
If your dog ate a pop tart, chances are he/she will likely be fine, so long as it wasn’t an excessive amount and didn’t contain chocolate or xylitol. It’s best to monitor them for any unpleasant effects of poisoning. If you notice any vomiting, excessive panting, agitation, twitching, and so on, seek veterinary advice immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberry Pop Tarts?
Blueberry pop tarts are an extra sneaky no-no for your dog. Though their name suggests they’d be mostly flavored with blueberries, they also contain grape juice. Granted, it’s not a major amount of grape juice; however, grapes, like chocolate, can be deadly when consumed by dogs.
Such toxic ingredients are hardly ideal for an afternoon snack. If your dog has gotten into the blueberry pop tarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate a Chocolate Pop Tart?
While many pop tarts aren’t exactly toxic to dogs, the chocolate-flavored varieties are. The chocolate itself is not what’s dangerous for your dog, but rather an ingredient within it called theobromine. This particular chemical has varying levels in different types of chocolate. The dark chocolate varieties, such as unsweetened baking chocolate, contain the highest levels of theobromine and should be kept well out of reach of your dog.
Not unlike alcohol consumption in humans, the effects of theobromine in your dog will vary on the dog’s weight. Therefore, smaller breeds are more susceptible to poisoning. Any dose over 45mg/kg of theobromine is considered toxic. In terms of chocolate pop tarts, a large dog would likely suffer small side effects, if any. A small dog, however, would be more of a cause for concern. If your dog has eaten a chocolate pop tart, regardless of size or breed, it’s encouraged to consult your vet and monitor their behavior.
Safe Alternatives to Pop Tarts
There are still ways to spoil our beloved furry friends with sweets that won’t adversely affect their health. Alternative treats include peanut butter, sweet potatoes, yogurt, and carob.
Peanut butter has become a household treat for dogs. Whether baked into a snack or filled in a hollow toy, dogs love it. It’s packed with healthy fats, protein, and vitamins B and E.
Sweet potatoes and other veggies such as carrots are also healthy treats loaded with fiber, manganese, and vitamins A and C.
Plain yogurt (free from added sugars and artificial sweeteners such as xylitol) is a treat containing calcium and active bacteria to promote healthy digestion in dogs.
Carob, the fruit of a carob tree, is a chocolate substitute dogs can safely eat because it doesn’t contain toxins such as theobromine and caffeine. It has a natural chocolate taste and is chock full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. It can be enjoyed fresh, dry, or baked into a variety of treats and desserts.
Whether you want to buy these ingredients in pre-packaged treats from the store or prepare them yourself at home, your dog will love you for it!
Treats to Avoid
Like pop tarts, any treats high in sugar, chocolate, or artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Always be wary of the ingredients in a treat you’re thinking of feeding your dog. If you notice any abnormal behaviors after consumption such as excessive panting, vomiting, or diarrhea, seek a veterinary consult.
Certain fruits, particularly grapes and raisins, must be avoided at all costs. Unbeknownst to common pet owners, grapes can be extremely fatal to canines. Ingestion can lead to a rapid onset of kidney failure. Should your dog consume even one grape or raisin, contact your vet immediately.
So, Can Dogs Eat Pop Tarts?
They can, but they shouldn’t. Aside from the fact that certain flavors like chocolate and blueberry have particularly toxic ingredients for dogs, the other flavors provide no nutritional benefit and only serve to risk the dog’s health. There are plenty of safer options if you want to spoil your dog with a sweet treat!