Your pooch, Chance, tends to eat everything, but for some reason, he hates pretzels. It’s almost as if his instincts kick in, and he knows this salty snack is dangerous. Or he accidentally ate a few pretzels in the past and learned that they cause some major issues for dogs the hard way. Whatever the reason, you are glad he stays away from you as you devour this tasty treat coated in mustard because you’ve heard that pretzels are incredibly dangerous for your furry friend. But how many pretzels are dangerous, why are they dangerous, and what will too many pretzels do to a dog?
The Root of the Behavior
One reason some dogs hate pretzels is that salt is not a flavor enhancer for dogs like it is for humans. Some dogs avoid salty snacks because they taste bland to them, and this is a good thing. But some dogs enjoy any human food and will devour that mini pretzel that you dropped after your mid-afternoon snack. Don't worry, if your dog eats one pretzel, he should be okay, but too many pretzels are dangerous and could cause salt poisoning. Salt poisoning leads to many complications such as lethargy, diarrhea, depression, excessive thirst and urination, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death. Some salt in a dog’s diet is necessary, and many canines already have salt in their diets due to the natural sodium found in meat. Realize that some salt is good for your dog.
The Association of American Feed states that dog food should have 0.3% of sodium. But to give you some perspective, a hard-salted pretzel has around 16 percent of sodium! Offsetting a dog’s diet with too much salt can have the dire consequences listed above. For example, if your pooch eats too many pretzels, his.muscles may become stiff due to a lack of moisture, and this could result in jerking tremors, which is terrifying for an owner to see. And the amount of salt found in a bunch of pretzels does not only negatively affect dogs, it can be downright deadly. Salt is also poisonous to cats, horses, birds, and cows. A high intake of salt can cause hypernatremia in all of these animals, which is the medical term for an elevated amount of salt in the blood. In addition to the symptoms listed above, hypernatremia can also lead to kidney dysfunction. A dog can only consume and survive roughly 1.5 grams of sodium per pound of body weight. For the sake of your dog’s health, it’s important that you monitor and do your best to avoid feeding Chance those salty snacks.
Encouraging the Behavior
Believe it or not, it used to be the standard to give salt to both cats and dogs to induce vomiting; this is no longer recommended. Owners should be aware not to leave that bag of pretzels laying within their dog’s reach. Owners should also be aware of other sources of salt in their homes. According to the Pet Poison Hotline, owners should be aware of these sneaky salt sources in their homes: paintballs, homemade play dough, and rock salt. As an owner, you want to stick to dog food instead of human food for your furry pal. A quality dog food with meat as the first ingredient is key. It sounds like Chance already avoids pretzels, but to make sure your dog continues to do so, provide positive reinforcement when Chance avoids a salty snack. This will ensure that Chance continues to stay away from your dinner table scraps. On the other hand, if your pooch has the bad habit of snagging any human food in sight, it might be wise to put your dog in a separate area while you eat, or at the very least be especially cautious and careful when eating salty foods around your pet.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Again, if your dog eats one small pretzel, chip, or french fry, do not be alarmed, but take quick action and offer your dog electrolytes and water. However, if your pooch takes out an entire bag of pretzels, then call your vet and the Pet Poison Helpline immediately. In addition to giving your dog electrolytes, your vet will administer fluids. Depending on the severity, your vet may also monitor for brain swelling and kidney issues. So if your dog is one of those dogs that loves pretzels, feed him an unsalted one and be cautious when there are salty foods around him.
So maybe you lucked out with Chance, a dog that hates pretzels, but you realize it is the salt that is to blame for the posing danger. You now also make an effort to not leave your fries or potato chips unattended on the kitchen table. You praise Chance when he avoids human food on the counter or floor and make sure you are feeding him the recommended amount of high-quality dog food he deserves. Because of this, Chance knows that pretzels don't belong in his stomach; they belong in a doggy bag.
By a Retriever lover Amanda Clark
Published: 04/01/2018, edited: 01/30/2020