Can My Puppy Eat Pretzels?

Finding nutritious snacks your puppy likes is one of the challenges of being a puppy parent. It’s even more important when you start training them, as treats and puppy training go together like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, and baseball and beer.

The thing is, puppies will eat all sorts of stuff whether it’s good for them or not (much like a child). That’s why, if you want to be the best puppy parent you can be, putting some time and effort into finding treats they like is essential. Maybe more essential is not to give them certain snacks, especially human snacks, even if they love them more than life itself. 

Many folks who adopt a puppy for the first time have no idea what they can, can’t, and shouldn’t give their puppy. (That’s not a judgment, just a fact.) If you’re one of them, you might be frustrated by the myriad snack and treat options available for your pupper. You might also think that, sure, human snacks are good for your pup. (Hint: many are not.)

I was thinking about what snacks are good and bad for puppies recently after a reader like yourself asked me about them. They weren’t sure what treats were OK to give their pup and which ones should be avoided. More specifically, they wanted to know the answer to one question, namely, can my puppy eat pretzels?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, puppies can eat a small amount of unflavored, unsalted pretzels with little or no risk of harm to their little doggy digestive system. Conversely, you shouldn’t give your puppy pretzels with salt or toppings like garlic, onion, nutmeg, chocolate, or other sweet or salty flavorings or toppings. 

Puppies shouldn’t eat anything but unflavored, unsalted pretzels because anything else typically found on pretzels is bad for their health. Garlic and onion coatings are both toxic, for example, and can seriously hurt your pup. Sugary coatings like chocolate and yogurt are almost as bad and should be avoided.

Now that you know the answer to “can my puppy eat pretzels,” you might have more about this fave human snack that puppies also seem to love. How many pretzels can your puppy eat, for example, and can they eat hard or soft pretzels? 

If you’d like to know the answers to those questions, and several more, read on. I’ve got them for you below, plus more information and advice about feeding pretzels to puppies.

How Many Pretzels Can my Dog Eat?

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you might have noted the 90/10 Rule, a rule created to help puppy parents determine how many snacks to give their puppy during any given day. The 90/10 rule states that 90% of your puppy’s food should come from their regular kibble, while the remaining 10% comes from snacks.

So, for example, if you feed your puppy ½ a pound of food a day, you should feed them .05 pounds (0.8 ounces) of snacks per day, which isn’t a lot. In fact, veterinarians recommend only giving your puppy one or two small unsalted, plain pretzels per day, and that’s it. (So far fewer than the typical human would eat.) 

Are All Pretzels the Same for Dogs?

As I mentioned earlier, you can give your puppy plain, unsalted pretzels in moderation. That’s because all pretzels are not the same for dogs and puppies. 

Frankly, pretzels aren’t all that nutritious or healthy for dogs, even if they are plain and unsalted. However, you should avoid any other type of pretzel due to the risks of toxicity, obesity, and other health problems they can cause for a dog or puppy.

Can my Dog Eat Hard Pretzels?

Yes, plain, unsalted hard pretzels are okay for your puppy or dog. Like regular pretzels, though, they should be given in extreme moderation. Also, keep in mind that your puppy’s teeth are still growing and getting stronger. I, personally, wouldn’t give a puppy under 12 weeks old a hard pretzel simply due to the risk of damaging their teeth. 

However, an older, stronger, and larger puppy should have no problem munching a hard pretzel occasionally. Also, do remember the 90/10 rule and only give your puppy a small part of a hard pretzel. Most hard pretzels are quite large and far too much to give your pup all at once.

Can my Dog Eat Soft Pretzels?

As long as they’re plain and unsalted, soft pretzels are a safe treat for your puppy on occasion. They’re easy to chew, relatively easy to digest, and won’t pose any risks for your puppy’s relatively fragile teeth. 

Can my Dog Eat Peanut Butter Pretzels?

While it’s true that peanut butter is, in moderation, an OK snack for puppies and dogs, peanut butter pretzels are not. The reason is that peanut butter pretzels typically have a huge amount of salt and sodium, which are especially harmful to your puppy’s health. 

For example, there’s enough sodium in 10 small peanut butter pretzels to meet your pup’s entire weekly sodium requirement! However, if they accidentally eat one or two pieces, don’t freak out. Frankly, as long as you aren’t giving them peanut butter pretzels on purpose, an accidental peanut butter pretzel once in a blue moon won’t cause any problems for the average puppy.

Can my Dog Eat Yogurt or Chocolate-Covered Pretzels?

Chocolate is highly toxic for puppies and dogs and should never be given to them on purpose. That’s why you should never give your puppy chocolate-covered pretzels for any reason. Not only is the chocolate toxic, but chocolate-covered pretzels contain an immense amount of sugar. The same goes for yogurt-covered pretzels, which typically have enough sugar to cause great risk to your pupper’s health and welfare. 

What are the Risks of Giving your Puppy Pretzels?

I mentioned several times in today’s blog that you can safely give your puppy a very moderate amount of unsalted, plain pretzels. Veterinarians recommend no more than one or two per day (if that).

The reasons why pretzels aren’t a great snack choice for your puppy are several. First, most regular pretzels are loaded with salt and fat, two ingredients that aren’t healthy at all for a growing puppy. 

Indeed, salt tolerance in puppies is very hard to judge and can change drastically from one to another. A smaller breed puppy given one or two small, hard-baked pretzels can, in some cases, end up with an intense thirst for the entire day.

Ironically, this excessive thirst can also cause your puppy to urinate excessively to rebalance their sodium content. If you give puppies salty pretzels regularly, they will face an increased risk of heart disease and kidney failure. Those health problems, as you might imagine, are not good. 

Another reason to limit your puppy’s consumption of pretzels is that they’re very high in carbohydrates which inevitably turn into fat. If you feed your puppy too many pretzels, you might be surprised at how quickly they start gaining weight. 

This weight gain can then develop into other, more serious medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and all of the other health problems associated with obesity.

Final Thoughts 

“Can my puppy eat pretzels?” is a question I hear all the time, probably since pretzels are an immensely popular human snack. Because of this popularity, many puppy parents love to share pretzels with their precious pup. 

While you can give your puppy the occasional pretzel, it should be plain and unsalted. This type of pretzel will reduce the risk of health problems that salted, chocolate-covered, yogurt-covered, onion, and garlic flavored pretzels can cause, which can sometimes be severe.

I hope that today’s blog on whether or not puppies can eat pretzels has been helpful and answered all of your questions. If you have more or would like to learn more about how to be an amazing puppy parent, please see my other blogs on the subject. I try to pack all of them with useable, real-world information and advice. Until next time, best of luck raising your precious new puppy!