Tortillas are some of the most delicious treats out there, and they come with a cocktail of nutritional benefits too.
Due to their inviting aroma and delectable taste, it comes as no surprise that dogs usually demonstrate a curiosity towards tortillas.
Most dog owners already understand the potential side effects of flour and corn-based foods for their canine friends.
The primary drawback of corn-based foods for dogs is that most of these foods happen to be processed. While they’re generally safe in their plain and whole-grain form, processed corn or flour tends to be harmful to dogs. That’s because there might be some toxic ingredients introduced to the food during the processing stage.
Now, based on this information alone, you could be wondering, can dogs eat tortillas?
The perfect answer to that question is “not recommended.” Tortillas are not immediately toxic to dogs, and your pooch will probably not get ill after snacking on small amounts of plain tortilla. However, the equation suddenly changes if the dog eats large amounts of the food, and much worse if it’s processed tortilla.
Being a carnivore, the digestive system of dogs is not designed to process corn-based foods. Plus, processed tortilla usually comes with a couple of ingredients that might wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system.
Continue reading for an in-depth analysis of tortillas and dogs. The post will examine, among other things, what tortillas are and what makes them toxic to dogs.
More About Tortillas
Are tortillas okay for dogs? Tortillas are not toxic to dogs, but they are not recommended either.
Before we delve deeper into the possible risks of tortillas for dogs, let’s highlight exactly what tortillas are.
Basically, a tortilla is a type of thin flatbread that’s usually made from wheat or corn. Tortillas originated in Spain and regions with Spanish influence, such as Mexico. However, the dish has spread to various countries around the world, thanks to its finger-licking taste and spellbinding aroma.
Tortillas are typically made using corn (maize) and often contain salt, fat, and a host of other ingredients. The other ingredients vary slightly, depending on the method of preparation and the region where the tortilla is prepared.
Now, you may be wondering, can dogs eat corn tortilla?
Corn tortilla is not recommended for dogs for the simple reason that the digestive system of dogs is less efficient at processing corn-based foods. If you factor in the other potentially harmful additives that may have been used in preparing the tortilla, then it becomes an even less attractive food to feed your pooch.
In addition to corn-based tortilla, the other common tortilla variety is wheat-based tortillas. Though they’re not as popular as their corn-based counterparts, wheat-based tortillas are just as dangerous for dogs.
Wheat tortillas are usually made of wheat flour, salt, fat, leavening agents like baking powder, and other ingredients. Just like corn, dogs cannot digest wheat well. Wheat poses an even greater risk to dogs with gluten intolerance. Plus, the other ingredients mentioned aren’t safe for dogs either.
So, are tortillas bad for dogs?
Based on the information above, you might now be wondering, is it safe for dogs to eat tortillas?
The following section shall expound further on what could go wrong if you feed tortillas to your pooch with careless abandon.
Possible Health Risks of Tortilla for Dogs
1. Gastrointestinal distress
The first obvious risk of tortilla for dogs is gastrointestinal distress. As we already pointed out, dogs are carnivores and typically thrive on a diet of animal protein. Therefore, their digestive systems are not very efficient at processing plant-based foods like tortilla.
Some of the common symptoms of gastrointestinal distress associated with tortilla in dogs include;
- Vomiting and loss of appetite,
- Diarrhea and dehydration,
- Changes in thirst sensation, and
- Abdominal pains.
Also remember that being carnivores, your dog may not benefit from the nutritional value of tortilla the same way humans would.
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2. Allergic reactions
This also ties back to the fact that your dog’s system flags off tortilla as a foreign substance. As a result, the dog’s immune system comes up with a raft of responses aimed at getting rid of the food from its body.
Examples of allergy symptoms that your dog may exhibit as a result of eating tortillas include;
- Hives or swelling,
- Elevated blood pressure and/or heart rate,
- Difficulty breathing,
- Runny eyes and/or nose,
- Changes in bowel and bladder movements,
- Tremors or seizures, and
- Various forms of irritable behavior, such as pacing and relentless itching
3. Choking hazards
Choking risks are more common with corn-based tortilla. Choking usually results from the fact that dogs tend to gulp down their food whole instead of chewing it. Signs to watch out for include coughing, dilated pupils, and irritable behavior.
4. Excess calories
Both corn-based and wheat-based tortillas are usually high in calories. Consuming high levels of calories exposes your pooch to conditions like obesity, diabetes, pancreatitis, as well as heart and cardiovascular diseases.
Most of the additives used in preparing tortillas also happen to be toxic to dogs. Examples of such additives include salt, sugar, fat, baking powder, garlic, onion etc.
Excessive consumption of salt is linked to sodium ion poisoning, a fatal canine condition that manifests in gastrointestinal distress, seizures, and prolonged fatigue.
Sugar is the most popular sweetener that you can find in tortillas. Sadly, it also comes with its own risks for dogs, some of which include dental caries and periodontal diseases, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Fat increases your dog’s susceptibility to weight-related conditions like obesity and diabetes.
Garlic and onions are ranked among the most toxic spices for dogs. Just a tiny amount of garlic can cause garlic poisoning, another fatal condition that mostly manifests in anemia-like symptoms.
Last but not least, baking powder is mainly discouraged for dogs due to its poor nutritional profile.
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Other Frequently Asked Questions on Tortillas and Dogs
Can dogs eat whole-grain tortillas?
No, they can’t. The greatest concern with whole-grain tortillas is choking hazards.
Can dogs eat black tortillas?
Black tortillas are preferred for the fact that they contain fewer additives and in most cases, are made of only black beans, water, and salt.
The fact that black tortillas are also generally grain-free, oil-free, and vegan makes them a healthier treat for dogs compared to conventional tortillas.
Can dogs eat green tortillas?
Green tortillas are mostly made of spinach wraps and refined grains. Green tortillas also feature no calorie, no added fibers, and no carb savings, making them another healthier choice for dogs. However, note that these tortillas usually contain only trace amounts of greens.
Can dogs eat tortilla wraps?
Tortilla wraps are mostly made with flour, fat, salt, and water. If the wraps are commercially-prepared, they might also feature chemical leavening agents like baking powder. All of these ingredients are detrimental to your dog’s health.
Can dogs eat rice tortillas?
Rice is perfectly safe for dogs. So, if all the other ingredients are safe too, then you can comfortably feed rice tortilla to your pooch.
Can dogs eat honey tortillas?
While natural honey is safe and beneficial to dogs, the overall safety of honey-based tortilla comes down to the other ingredients used.
Can dogs eat butter tortillas?
No, butter is usually high in fat and calories, which can lead to weight gain as well as heart and cardiovascular diseases.
Can small dogs eat tortillas?
Small dogs have more sensitive stomachs compared to their larger counterparts. So, tortilla may not be the right treat for them.
Can Shih Tzu dogs eat tortillas?
Considered as some of the pickiest eaters in the canine family, it may take weeks of persuasion to get your Shih Tzu dog to eat tortillas.
However, even if your Shih Tzu finally develops an interest in tortillas, it still doesn’t make the food right for them.
Can dogs eat tortilla chips?
Tortilla chips are as dangerous to dogs as regular tortillas are. What makes tortilla chips even less desirable for dogs is the fact that they’re high in salt, fat, as well as spices like onions and garlic. All of these nutrients are discouraged for dogs.
So, if you discover that your dog ate a bag of tortilla chips, the best thing to do is seek urgent medical attention. What of unsalted tortilla chips, can dogs eat unsalted tortilla chips?
Well, the apparent lack of salt in tortilla chips doesn’t necessarily make them safe for dogs.
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Tortillas are unsafe for dogs and you should keep them as far away from your pooch as possible.
If you must feed tortilla to your canine friend, ensure that it’s plain and doesn’t contain any salt, condiments, leavening agents, spices, or artificial sweeteners. And the best way to make sure of that is to prepare the tortilla at home. Preparing tortillas at home ensures that you have more control of the ingredient.
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