We all love spaghetti, and being as snacky as they are, our little furry friends are sure to as well. But can dogs eat spaghetti?
Because of Disney’s The Lady and The Tramp and its infamous romantic scene with the dogs sharing a plate of spaghetti, the question may have popped up in your head at some point.
Spaghetti is not toxic to dogs, so they can eat it as long as the spaghetti itself has been cooked plainly with no salt or additives. You should avoid feeding your dog spaghetti that you have cooked for yourself.
It is tempting to let your dog have a portion of the food from your plate, especially when they are begging, but we should be aware of what foods are safe for dogs and which aren’t. In the worst case, your dog could get really ill.
In our research, we asked around for other dog owner’s opinions as well as what experts would say on the matter before we compiled all of these together in one place.
Is Spaghetti Safe For Dogs?
Spaghetti is a pasta, so any rules that apply to pasta about dog diets would automatically apply to spaghetti.
Pasta on its own is not toxic to dogs, but isn’t particularly useful to them either. In fact, you may even liken it to junk food for dogs, as long as it is prepared a certain way.
Spaghetti and other pastas are made of ingredients like flour, water and eggs, each of which are perfectly safe for dogs to consume. You could liken it to a bag of chips for humans – we do enjoy eating them, and the ingredients in them are safe on their own. But as chips, we get little to no benefit from them.
Spaghetti for dogs is very similar, except that it can step over the line and cross into dangerous territory – something that is not as likely to happen with a bag of chips.
Most spaghettis and pastas are prepared by adding salt and seasoning. Whether that’s to boiled spaghetti, or while boiling it, to let the flavor seep in. Many of these seasoning powders and spices are very dangerous for dogs.
When Can Spaghetti Be Unsafe For Dogs?
As humans, we would find pasta cooked without any seasoning or salt very bland, and would not enjoy it at all. For us, adding seasoning or sauce becomes necessary to like it. For dogs, though, this can become a problem.
Garlic and onions, for example, which are common across a very large number of dishes, including pasta, contain toxins that can have very severe effects on dogs. If your dog ingests either of these ingredients above a certain threshold, their red blood cells can get damaged, which can result in anemia.
This applies to both, fresh and powder forms of these ingredients. While raw garlic or onion is definitely a big no, the powder form will also bring with it some added concerns regarding its salt composition.
Humans cannot imagine their food without a fair amount of salt. Have you ever tried spaghetti without salt? It tastes like pretty much nothing.
But the amount of salt that works for us is very different from what works for our pets. Too much salt for your pets can cause problems like sodium poisoning which can actually cause neurological problems. Most times, if you don’t go overboard with the salt, this could be limited to mild symptoms like dizziness or headaches. Sometimes it can get serious enough to result in seizures.
Other herbs and spices like oregano can also be toxic for dogs. Basil and black pepper, which are also commonly used spices, are fine when they’re used in very small amounts, but these have to be controlled very strictly when being added to your dog’s diet. Unfortunately, we don’t prepare spaghetti with our dogs in mind, so these can also get dangerous.
Another very popular ingredient for spaghetti is cheese. Cheese is not harmful for dogs, since it is a dairy product, and can even be a great treat for your pet when they behave well. But cheese is not healthy when ingested in large amounts – whether that’s for you or your dog.
Too much cheese can result in weight gain, gastrointestinal problems and in some cases, even cardio problems.
Is Spaghetti Sauce Safe For Dogs?
Spaghetti sauce is usually made of tomatoes, and ripe tomatoes are fine for dogs. However, greener parts of tomatoes contain a substance called solanine which is poisonous for dogs. In small amounts, this would be barely noticeable, but if your dog eats a large amount of it, they would likely display signs of toxicity. This includes symptoms like slowed heart rate, digestive troubles, drooling and lethargy.
You never know how much of the sauce consists of green tomato, so the best option would be to avoid it entirely.
Besides just the tomatoes, spaghetti sauce will also have all the above mentioned spices and seasonings included to add flavor. Onions, garlic, oregano, salt and many others are used to make the sauce good for us, but that also makes them very toxic to dogs. Many spaghetti sauces also contain xylitol as a sweetener, which is extremely toxic for dogs, even in the smallest of quantities.
So, while the sauce itself – the tomato part – is not as much of a threat, the other ingredients added to it make it a big no.
What If My Dog Is Allergic To Spaghetti?
Sometimes, even if you take extra care to make sure your dog’s spaghetti portion doesn’t include any harmful ingredients, they can still end up getting sick.
This is likely because of allergies. In fact, many dogs are allergic to a number of human foods, with spaghetti being no exception. This is likely to be an allergy to ingredients like eggs or flour.
Some common symptoms of wheat allergies include diarrhea, vomiting, ear infections or constant itching.
If you see any of these signs in your dog, you should rush them to a vet as soon as possible.
How Much Spaghetti Is Okay?
Assuming your dog is not allergic to pasta, you can feed them spaghetti if it has been cooked without any salt or spices, with absolutely no sauce. A noodle or two dropped on the floor while cooking is not a cause for concern, and you can even feed some to them yourself with no risk involved.
However, you should remember that spaghetti is only okay in small quantities – vets recommend that you shouldn’t feed more than a few plain, boiled noodles per week.
All kinds of pasta contain a large number of carbohydrates, which can cause weight gain. This could lead to further problems, like heart disease, joint pain, high blood pressure, and even trouble with breathing.
If you really must feed your dog spaghetti, you should make sure the spaghetti itself is plain. You can also make special sauce for your dog with no toxic ingredients added, but as a whole, it is best to avoid feeding your dog spaghetti anyway.
In most cases though, you don’t have to worry about any serious side effects. All of these toxic ingredients – with the exception of xylitol – will only have a noticeable effect if consumed in large quantities. For the sake of your dog’s health though, it is best to avoid spaghetti entirely, and go for healthy dog food instead.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright